I went to a parents thing at Henry’s school, and I shook a lot of hands. Here is what I noticed:

1. A lot of people, men-people and women-people, shake hands the way I do: you keep sliding your hand forward until your thumb-pits engage, and then you shake and/or squeeze.

2. A lot of people, men-people and women-people, DO NOT do this.

Here is what everyone who didn’t do the first option did: they stopped as soon as they were holding my fingers in their fingers, and then they pressed lightly. Like a duck bill, lightly clamping my fingers. I did not know what to do at that point. They were duck-billing my fingers and I could not complete the shake. It’s like if you go for a hug, and someone grips your upper arms and stops you before you get into the hug-space, and your arms are left dangling alone.

I tried this out with Paul just now. “I need to shake your hand for a blog post,” I said, and we shook hands the way I think of as Shaking Hands: slide hands forward until you can slide them forward no more. Shake. Then I said, “Okay, I need to see where it is that it stops when people do it the other way,” and we tried that a few times but it was hard for two untrained novices to figure out where to stop if not at the thumb-pit, and then Paul got all squirmy and uncomfortable about it and we stopped trying.

But Paul does say he has encountered that handshake before. “ONLY with women, right?,” I asked, but he refused to commit. But…I can’t picture two men shaking hands that way, can you? Delicately pressing each other’s fingers? I think it must be that that is the way some women offer their hands for a handshake: stopping before the thumbs can get acquainted. And how some men have been trained to shake hands with women: like, be CAREFUL with women.

So here is my four-point theory:

1. Some women are taught to shake hands without engaging the thumb-pit, no matter who they’re shaking hands with.

2. Some women are taught to shake hands with full thumb-pit engagement, no matter who they’re shaking hands with.

3. Some men are taught to avoid the thumb-pit with women, but to engage the thumb-pit with men. (Maybe some women are also taught this?)

4. Men are never taught to avoid the thumb-pit with other men.


So then I, as a woman, encounter these options:

1. Men who have been taught to grab a woman’s fingers without engaging her thumb-pit (but would shake a man’s hand with thumb-pit engaged).

2. Men who have been taught to shake anyone’s hand, man-hands or woman-hands, with thumb-pit engaged.

3. Women who have been taught to grab anyone’s fingers, man-fingers or woman-fingers, without engaging the thumb pit.

4. Women who have been taught to grab anyone’s fingers, man-fingers or woman-fingers, with the thumb-pit engaged.


And I, as a woman, NEVER encounter:

1. Women who have been taught to shake women’s hands with thumb-pits engaged, but men’s hands with only-fingers. (Or maybe I DO encounter this, but don’t realize it.)

2. Men who have been taught to shake women’s hands with thumb-pits engaged, but men’s hands with only-fingers.


And my theory further theorizes that Paul, as a man, encounters these options:

1. Men who shake with thumb-pit engaged.

2. Women who have been taught to grab anyone’s fingers, men-fingers or women-fingers, without engaging the thumb pit.

3. Women who have been taught to shake everyone’s hands with the thumb-pit engaged.


And that Paul, as a man, would never encounter:

1. Women who have been taught to shake women’s hands with thumb-pits, but men’s hands with only-fingers.

2. Men who have been taught to shake women’s hands with thumb-pits, but men’s hands with only-fingers.

3. Any man who would shake his hand with only-fingers.


Here is what I need: data points.

Were you raised as a girl-person or as a boy-person? And how were you trained to shake hands? Were you trained to do it the same way no matter who you were shaking hands with? or were you trained to shake boy-hands differently than girl-hands? Or if you don’t remember being specifically trained one way or another, how did you grow up doing it? I don’t remember being trained; I think I picked it up from examples and social cues (i.e., seeing others do it, and participating in handshakes with others), and also I remember reading a lot of references to “good firm handshakes” and “limp/cool/fishlike handshakes,” which further developed the concept.

Favorite Outfits in High School

Has your brain, like mine, been treating you to a pretty steady flow of Your Personal History’s Greatest Hits since yesterday? Right now as I’m typing it’s an entry for the cheesy high school love song category, hairband ballad subcategory: Love of a Lifetime, by Firehouse. I am wondering how guys in that era felt about having so much hair. Like, were they suddenly so interested in conditioner and hot oil treatments and good brushes and spiral vs. traditional perms and whatnot, and was that kind of surprising to them? Did they cut it all off with relief when the trend was over, and go back to a bottle of Prell and not having to think about it? Okay, now I am onto the next song: More than Words Can Say, by Alias. For some reason I’d thought this was by Firehouse too, but it is not.

I am sugar-high-mind-blown at the moment by my rediscovery of chocolate brownies + vanilla ice cream. Henry wanted to bring brownies as his school birthday snack and there were some extras, and we had leftover ice cream from his birthday ice cream cake, and if you started reading here when I was pregnant with him, you should know that more than ten years of your life have slipped away. As I listen to Bad English singing When I See You Smile followed by Poco’s Call It Love, what I mourn for are all the days of those ten years that have NOT included brownies and ice cream. And why? WHY? Why this unnecessary torment? It’s not even hard to do! Warm up a brownie! Put vanilla ice cream on it! You don’t even have to warm up the brownie!

Have you recently enjoyed the treasure that is Linear’s Sending All My Love video? I WHEEZED with laughter. Or Pretty Poison’s Catch Me I’m Falling, which is less funny but makes up for it by involving snippets of a Jon Cryer film? I’m half “What a strange time that was to be alive” and half “Ooo, that reminds me of a cute shirt I had!” My top favorite clothing item in high school was a strange hybrid of overalls and miniskirt, constructed from stiff bleached denim. I also had a really long skirt, denim but a very thin comfy soft acid-washed denim so my hope was that the look was more “Let’s get our picture taken while laughing and spinning arms-wide-open in a meadow!” and less “I hope this doesn’t show more ankle than would please the Lord”; I wore it with a cute fitted boyish-cut white t-shirt, huge white hoop earrings, and high-top sneakers. High-top sneakers looked good then, I’m not making that up, right? I remember really wanting a pair, but they cost more than regular sneakers so I had to pay for the difference with my babysitting money. I’ve got the brand name on the tip of my brain. LA Gear! Mine were white and light pink, with light pink laces.

Another one for the dance category: Because of You, by The Cover Girls. I am certain that Teenage Swistle danced around the house to this song in the LA Gear high-tops. Also to I’m Hooked on You, by Sweet Sensation.

Do you remember when I said one thing I like about my cartilage piercings is that they make me feel like a little bit of a badass even though any time I presume to be even 1% badass my entire household quotes this scene from Steven Universe at me:

Steven: “I guess I’m just too tough to cry!”
Pearl: “Just today you were crying about snakes!”
Steven, immediately starting to cry: “They don’t have any arms!!”

Anyway, the outfit I am going to describe to you made me feel like a badass even when my ex-boyfriend was kissing his new girlfriend next to my locker: black denim miniskirt, textured black tights, lace-up black suede boots, loose black t-shirt, vintage army jacket, huge silver hoop earrings. I am a little surprised my parents let me wear it, but they both left for work before I left for school so that prevented a LOT of “What do you think you are WEARING??” discussions.

Speaking of badasses: Grace Slick. I love the yell at the beginning. Do you remember hearing that she named her daughter “god” (with a lowercase G)? She did not.

Speaking of scandals that went whipping through my Christian-school community when I was there: Faith, by George Michael and Like a Prayer, by Madonna.

Speaking of a Christian middle school, my first year at a public high school my favorite outfit was a pink skirt patterned with teddy bears. The teddy bears were wearing yellow bowties, so I wore the skirt with a yellow t-shirt, and I wore alternated stacked scrunch socks: yellow then pink on one foot, pink then yellow on the other foot. Pink earrings.

I would be very interested in hearing about your favorite high-school outfits. Also in hearing The Look, by Roxette.

Song List

My sister-in-law is going on a trip with friends, and she had a really fun idea for car music: she asked each person to make a list of one song from each of these five categories:

1. A favorite song/a song you really like. It’s ok if it’s slow, or an obscure genre, or music that isn’t generally popular.
2. A cheesy love song you remember from middle school/high school.
3. A song that makes you feel like dancing.
4. A song from one of the first albums you owned.
5. A song you enjoy, in a language you do not speak.

She’s going to put them together in a big playlist. I liked this idea so much, I asked if we could do it for our next get-together (my sister-in-law and her sister and her brother and my brother and me, and we stay up too late and drink and talk and eat snacks and play games), and we’re going to! So now I need to find songs, and/or need to narrow down songs.

For #1, I need to think awhile. I might save that one for a song I think of while researching the others, something that doesn’t fit anywhere else. I might choose a song from childhood. Or maybe a country song. It’s a little tempting to use this category to torment others.

For #2 I have way too many candidates. Pretty much anything by Peter Cetera, just for starters. Boy-band songs. A ton of earnest hair-band ballads.

It will also be difficult to narrow down #3. I do not dance, per se, but I have been known to sway and/or waggle. Or, if I am driving, to bounce. Many, many songs lead to swaying/waggling/bouncing.

The first album I owned was Knee Deep in the Hoopla, by Starship. Soon after, I added Peter Cetera, Chicago, Paula Abdul, The Cars, Huey Lewis & The News, Heart, INXS, and MC Hammer. This is going to be a fun batch of songs to choose from.

The hardest one for me is #5; I don’t know a lot of songs that aren’t in English. Probably I will pick something from a Korean drama. Maybe Always (though maybe it’s cheating because some of it is English) or What Do I Do. If you know some non-English pop music, I hope you’ll tell me about it so I can look up the artists/songs on YouTube and see if I like them. I am particularly interested in French songs because I took French in high school and still feel sentimental about it even though I’ve forgotten most of it.


This song-list task seemed like the sort of thing that, if I saw it on someone else’s blog, I would immediately want to say what my list would be. So I thought you might feel the same, and I suggest we do that.

Something else we might feel the same about: I would feel as if I couldn’t leave a comment unless I had songs for ALL FIVE—but then one or two would be too difficult to think of or too difficult to narrow down, and I would think it wasn’t really worth it to do a lot of RESEARCH just to leave a blog comment, so then I wouldn’t do it. So let’s say this: do exactly as much as you want to do. You can leave a comment such as “For #4 I would do _____,” and that can be the whole thing. Or you can complete the whole list, with one song for each number. Or you can go the other way and say, “Hm, well, these are the twenty songs I’d have to narrow down for each number.” Or you can do what I did and pretty much just discuss the categories. OR WHATEVER. We are not strict around here.

Family Television Show Recommendations

Because I have twice vented my feelings about Paul Behavior in the last month or so, it seems only fair that I share something equally damning about myself. But I have thought long and hard, and if you don’t count getting cranky and sad for no reason, and being snappish and irritable, and not being a good or interested cook, and preferring the Friendly Squalor school of housekeeping, and being self-righteous and huffy about dishwasher-loading, and getting stressed and overwhelmed about anything new or unfamiliar, and trying to keep things from happening by worrying about them, and crying at the drop of a hat, and freaking out about raw meat, and only being comfortable within a four-degree temperature range, then I can’t think of a single blessed thing he has to complain about.

Oh, here’s one thing: it drives him crazy that I will stop an episode of a TV series at any point during an episode, rather than making it come out even by watching to the end. Like, if I want to watch TV for awhile, and I’m halfway through an episode when I decide I want to do something else, I’ll just pause it there rather than finishing the whole episode in one sitting. And if I finish an episode but I still have five minutes’ worth of lunch to eat, I will watch the first five minutes of the next episode and then stop it there.

Speaking of which, we are a family that watches TV while eating dinner, and we are pretty much out of shows to watch. Normally it is Paul’s job to find us things to watch, but we are on week two of We Bare Bears and it occurs to me that I don’t think people should complain about the food if they’re not going to do any cooking, so I’m doing a little research into shows that families can watch together when the youngest kid is 10 and the eldest is 18, and the mother doesn’t want anything too scary or sad, and we’re eating so it shouldn’t be gross.

Our favorite is if it’s a series, so that we can watch it for a long time without having to think of something new to watch. Best is if it’s a completed series, so we can watch the whole thing all the way through and not have to remember to come back to it later–but this is not at all a requirement. Some of the shows we’ve already watched:

Adventure Time
Avatar, The Last Airbender (none of us liked Legend of Korra)
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Good Eats
Gravity Falls
Great British Bake-Off
How It’s Made
Iron Chef
Kim Possible
Malcolm in the Middle
My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic
Over the Garden Wall
Phineas and Ferb
Regular Show
The Simpsons
Star vs. the Forces of Evil
Steven Universe
Teen Titans
Teen Titans Go!

And I think there are probably a lot more but I can’t think of them right now. If you mention one that we’ve tried, I’ll add it to the list (and I’ll note it in the comments section, so you don’t look to later readers as if you’ve suggested something that was already on the list).

We’ve watched some Doctor Who, but that is generally too icky for dinner or too scary/stressful/sad for me.

We’ve watched a ton of movies, but I’m leaving those off the list because series work better and because we still have plenty of movies to watch.

Adding Water to Soap/Lotion Bottles; Peeved About Curtains

I am about to make a suggestion that is in that awkward category of suggestions where, if you already know it, it will sound as if I’m asking if you tried turning the computer ON—and yet, at one point I did not know it, and now I do, and it has CHANGED MY LIFE: add water to the handsoap/shampoo/conditioner/bodywash/lotion when the supply gets low and is difficult to remove from the bottle. Just, add some water. Like, a tablespoon for something small like handsoap, two or three tablespoons for a larger shampoo/conditioner/bodywash bottle. Then shake vigorously. Then the next time you need some, REAP BENEFITS. Then, when it gets difficult again, add more water. It will be a matter of diminishing returns, yes. But it is really surprising how much more handsoap/shampoo/conditioner/bodywash/lotion is in there.

I am sad and mopey again today. Whenever I feel sad and mopey, I think I ought to chart it on a calendar or something so I can see if there are patterns: Mondays, foods, cycle-related, whatever. But it’s only when I’m feeling happy and energetic that I feel like shopping for multi-colored pens, working out a color/mood system, and writing things down—and that’s when I feel like I don’t really need to do any of that because I feel fine most of the time.

Here are some happy things:

1) I found the Jolly Joes I was looking for! The site has a surprisingly helpful product-finder: most product-finders basically say “Here are some stores that carry some stuff from our brands,” but then you have to go to each store to see if they carry the specific product; this one let me select Jolly Joes specifically, and then accurately told me where to find them. They were at a nearby grocery store that isn’t the one I usually go to; and the drug store in that same plaza had some of the other Mike & Ike blends, so I came home with riches.

That’s all I’ve got right now: one happy thing. I was going to say that my new green living room curtains were also a happy success, but that reminded me that I’m peeved with Paul. Remember I said the old curtains were floppy old tab-tops. That was MOSTLY true, but one window had much-newer light-blocking curtains, purchased because that window is over the TV, and the Wii remote couldn’t handle the light. I threw away the holey saggy curtains, but folded the light-blocking ones up and put them in a large labeled baggie: my thought was that we would want those for something else, like maybe a kid room window or a basement window.

This story is already getting longer than it’s worth, but I don’t have any other ideas for this post so I’m going to keep going. I put the baggie of curtains on the kitchen counter to remind me to bring it down to the basement the next time I went down. Paul moved the curtains off the counter and onto a shelf where we put things we want to take to the One Man’s Trash shack we have in town, where people can bring things they don’t want anymore but are too good to throw away, and other people can take those things for free. I said, “Wait, don’t put those there, I’m keeping them!,” and explained what I wanted them for. Paul totally agreed, and said he was only putting them there because he needed the counter, and that he wouldn’t take them.

A couple of days later, we were discussing the success of the new living room curtains, and Paul said now we needed something for the two narrow windows in the entryway, which are on the same side of the house and get the same overabundance of sunshine. I said, “Hey! I have an idea! I can put one of those light-blocking curtains on each side!” I went to get the curtains, but they were not on the shelf. I went back to Paul. He had TAKEN THEM TO THE ONE MAN’S TRASH SHACK. He said “Ug, I am an idiot!” like five times, but I am not done hearing it. They were good curtains! I told him why I wanted to save them! He said he would not take them! THEN HE TOOK THEM. THEN IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT MY URGE TO KEEP THEM WAS ABSOLUTELY JUSTIFIED. THIS MAKES ME CRAZY. DO NOT MOVE OR GET RID OF MY STUFF, PAUL. DO NOT.

I’m sorry to keep going with this, but just look at how right I am:

1. I said I didn’t want to get rid of them.
2. Paul said he would not get rid of them.
3. We discussed future uses for the curtains.
4. We agreed they should be kept.

When this happens again and again throughout the years, I don’t know how to reconcile it with all the “You can’t expect your partner to read your mind: make your needs clearly known!” school of thought. I don’t expect him to read my mind! I make my mind WELL-KNOWN! And I make sure he has a chance to tell ME about HIS mind: if he disagreed about keeping the curtains, that would have been an entirely different situation. If he had said, “But we’re trying to clear out some space in the basement; I’d rather have to buy new curtains later than keep these just in case,” I would have thought that was a valid point. Then I would have been kicking myself a few days later when I thought of a use for them, but AT LEAST I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN KICKING PAUL.

Intriguing Underarms; New Living Room Curtains

I dreamed I had a brand-new baby, a girl. I used to feel sad waking up from a dream like that; now I feel relieved. It was a cute baby, though, and I would have liked to have had a second girl.

The other day Target was having a buy-four-get-a-free-$5-gift-card sale on a deodorant I hadn’t tried, and that kind of marketing works on me so instead of sensibly buying just one to see if I even liked that kind, I bought four different scents of it. One of them is called Sexy Intrigue, which seems a little ambitious for underarms but I’m willing to give it a shot; no intrigue as of press time but I’ll let you know.

Today I made a batch of phone calls resulting in six appointments for various people and animals in my household. I seized on a moment of willingness combined with a moment of “OH CRAP I FORGOT TO MAKE THAT ONE APPOINTMENT.”

We moved into this house more than sixteen years ago, and this week I finally bought some living room curtains to replace the saggy, thin, large-hole-burned-in-one-panel-by-an-incident-with-a-lamp, dated-looking tab-top curtains we brought with us from our apartment. Those windows get a ton of sun in the summer and I don’t even want to think about how much we could have saved on air-conditioning bills if I could have been A LITTLE MORE DECISIVE. I got Eclipse Windsor light-blocking curtains in green:

(image from Target.com)

At first the green was a little lighter than I was expecting: somewhere in between the green in this screenshot and the green in the close-ups on the Target site. But then later they looked darker again, so I think they just change with the…..light in the room. That sounded smarter in my head.

They are a success except they could use ironing and I’m not going to do it. I’m going to hope that a warm humid summer will handle that problem—like hanging a shirt in the bathroom while taking a shower.

Commenting Problems (Personal Blog Edition)

Are you having trouble commenting, here and/or on the baby name blog? The good news is, it isn’t just you. The bad news is, this has been going on for quite some time, and although I am married to a guy who knows his way around the innards of a computer program, I’m in the role of the shoemaker’s wife who has no shoes. No, it’s the shoemaker’s children who have no shoes. Does no one give a thought to the shoemaker’s wife and her shoes? Maybe the expression involves the shoemaker’s whole family. I could look it up, but we’re having such a nice time.

Anyway, I would like to give the shoemaker a little poke in the ribs on the subject of the hole in my shoes, so I would like to do a poll. If you also can’t use the poll, email me: swistle at gmail dot com. Or you can tell me on Twitter.

…Wait. I can’t use the poll either. Because it wasn’t working so I guess I removed that whole plug-in. Either that or it vanished? Maybe “it vanished” is the problem I’m remembering with the polling plug-in. We will have to do freeform answers in the comments section. WAIT. We cannot do that! Because the comments section is what we are having trouble with.

*deep breath* Okay. Here is what we are going to do. If you are having trouble with the comments section sometimes but not always, leave a comment in the comments section if possible, telling me what’s going on. If you can’t use the comments section at all, email me or @ me on Twitter (whenever I say “at me on Twitter” I mentally add finger guns and a chk-chk sound, so add those to your mental picture of this exchange) and tell me what kind of problem it is. Is it timing out or resetting while you’re composing a comment? Is it acting as if it posted the comment, all except for the part where the comment gets posted? Does the comment appear not to post, but then it shows up later? Is the whole comment area is failing to load, so that there appear to be no comments and no way to leave a comment? Does it help to force-reload the page (on my Mac this is done by holding down shift and command and, while they’re still down, pressing R)? And tell me any other details that seem relevant—for example, is it happening on your phone but not on your desktop, or vice versa? It it happening every time or just sometimes? And so on.

Dreams of Cows; Feeling Down; Quest for Jolly Joes

I dreamed I was dozing while snuggled up with a medium-sized light-brown cow, in case you are wondering who is winning the competition for best dreams.

In spite of that, I am feeling a little down. I had a good weekend, but now it is over and the only things to look forward to are a nice thorough dental cleaning, eventual death, and the 6th grade band concert (*shudder*). Also, the weather is gloomy. Also, a friend of mine who is in a bit of a holding pattern with her husband emailed me that one of the depressing things is that if they DO split up, she is too old and fat to expect to find someone new. I found myself plunged into a mental argument: on one side I was thinking “THAT IS NOT TRUE. She is GREAT, and PLENTY of guys would want to date her!” On the other side my brain was helpfully flipping through the file-folder of situations where a couple in my age group has split up and the guy has started dating someone much younger and thinner—and then my brain paused in the helpful flipping to add helpfully “…and also you realize nobody would want someone with five kids.” Well! Thank you very much, brain! Happy Mother’s Day right back at you! You know what else? If you left my skull no one would want to date YOU, either!

Also I am out of Mike & Ikes. I’ve been mixing a box of the original kind (4 flavors) with a box of the Mega Mix (10 flavors) and then eating two or three at a time because I think that makes for nicer flavors. Don’t tell me I’m not a good cook.

UG. I think I will get out of the house before I start pacing and writing formulas on the walls. Perhaps run a couple of errands and get some more Mike and Ikes. (You have not seen Jolly Joes anywhere, have you? I haven’t seen those in quite awhile.) [Update: there is a product finder that let me specify Jolly Joes! I am going to go look at the suggested stores tomorrow.]

Broccoli; Puzzling Amazon-Order Situation

I don’t want to linger too long on this, because there is nothing quite like whining about less-preferred food while hoping for a solution to the world-hunger problem, but I accidentally bought frozen broccoli instead of frozen broccoli florets and I will say this: if you have wondered what they do with all the broccoli stems after they package up the broccoli florets, I have found them. I’m not an advocate of spending more just to spend more, or trying to shame people for saving money on food when “spending more to get better food” might be an option the way “going on a cruise to take your mind off your money problems” is an option, but this is one of those areas where spending 29 cents extra for the florets results in something like TEN TIMES the amount of good food. Unless you like/prefer the stems, and I do know of people who do. I myself enjoy a broccoli stem from time to time, chopped up and widely dispersed among the bountiful florets. But if what you like is the stems, I can report some good news about bags of frozen broccoli.


We had an odd thing happen and we are at a loss to explain it, and at times like these I turn to you. Here is what happened: Paul got an item in the mail from Amazon.com, and it was not something he’d ordered. We looked into it further, and spoke to Amazon, and here is what they said: It was not sent as a gift. It was ordered from Paul’s account, using Paul’s login and Paul’s email address. Amazon considers the matter closed: no fraud, no funny business: they can’t explain it, but Paul must have ordered it. They recommended changing his login just in case, but repeated that there was no evidence of fraudulent usage.

But! Here is the thing: when we order something from Amazon, we get an order-confirmation email and a shipping-confirmation email. Also, we are charged money for the item we ordered. Paul received neither an order confirmation nor a shipping confirmation, and we have not been charged. Also, it doesn’t show up in his order history. Also, you know how if you go to the item page of something you bought, it has a little thing like this?:

(image from Amazon.com)

It is not there on the item page when Paul goes to it. So all of these things say to me it could NOT have been ordered from Paul’s account using Paul’s email address. It MUST have been a gift or an error. (Paul wondered if maybe the item was sent instead of something he DID order, but he’s not missing anything he’s ordered.) He contacted Amazon again: no, they say, it was ordered from his account and his email address. It is baffling. I’ve been keeping an eye on our credit card just in case, but there have been no weird charges (including for this item).

Men’s Forearms; Swim Leggings, A Preliminary Report; Track Meet

SüßwasserLeah drew my attention to this excellent article about men’s forearms: Men, You Don’t Understand How Hot Your Forearms Are. This was one of those special Internet “I thought I was the only one!” moments for me. I once had a dream in which a guy was fervently pleading with me to run away with him, and I didn’t see his face but I gave serious consideration to the merits of his forearms: white dress shirt, rolled up sleeves—you know what I’m talking about. Or else you don’t, but now I know LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE DO. I don’t mean BUFF forearms or whatever: just FOREARMS. The rolled-up-flannel-sleeves of the mid 1990s was a pretty good time to be alive, but I’d say the rolled-up oxford sleeves of the late 1980s / early 1990s was even better. There was a preppy boy in my youth group who…well, there isn’t much to this story. He rolled up his sleeves, is what I’m telling you.

…Where was I? Oh! Do you remember the Lands’ End skirted swim leggings from this post? I haven’t been swimming in them yet so I can’t give a complete report, but I tried them on and I love them. I love them. They are comfy and I don’t feel like I’m walking around in my underwear. I’m right between two sizes so I ordered up (there are few things more discouraging than trying on TOO SMALL swimwear), and they feel like they fit without squeezing. If I see a really good coupon code or clearance, I’m going to order another pair in the smaller size. I also went on eBay (thanks for the tip, Danish!) and ordered a pair of ultra-high-waisted swim…what is it called when it looks like underpants? Anyway, a pair of those. Bikini bottoms, that’s what they’re called—except these go up to the ribs. Then if I want to I can wear those under the swim leggings so that I don’t need to think about the tankini top floofing up in the water. I realize this sounds like a lot of layers, but I ENJOY a lot of layers. It’s SECURE. I am longing for a return to this darling swim aesthetic:

(I TRIED to credit this image, but it was on Pinterest with no source, so I did a reverse image-search and got hits to Pinterest and to a spammy site that appeared to be trying to give me a virus. So let’s just enjoy it as it is.)

Speaking of a lot of layers, I attended my first track meet and nearly froze to death. The temperature was in the sixties when I left the house, and I was already wearing a thin zip-up hoodie, so I took along a heavy zip-up hoodie just in case. And by the end of the meet it was in the mid-50s, totally overcast with occasional droplets, and HIGH WINDS, and I was wearing both hoods with both zippers done up and holding hands with myself inside an overlapped-sleeve tube and I was still just about dead with cold. Also it sucked going to a track meet. It was boring as all hell and it went on for HOURS AND HOURS. But thank goodness Miss Grace told me that I MUST purchase a bleacher seat no matter how much it cost. I bought the Cascade Mountain Tech Wide Stadium Seat and it was worth every dollar—and I paid $7 more than the $34 it’s currently listed for. Not that I plan to ever attend another track meet if I can help it, but I can use it for high school graduations.