Monday, October 20, 2014

What's bigger than SUPER PLUS?

"Do tampons come in anything bigger than SUPER PLUS size?" asks Rissa.

"I didn't even know they came in a SUPER PLUS size..." I answer.

"They do."

I only pick up Rissa-sized things.  Having fully converted to the Diva Cup a while ago - I haven't purchased tampons for me in so long.  I do my best to recall the Shoppers Drug Mart Feminine Hygiene shelves: lite, regular and super... you know that box, with all three sizes all together - purple, yellow and green... IS there a SUPER PLUS?  What colour is it?  I'm thinking about how much cotton would comprise something bigger than a SUPER PLUS tampon and the logistics of said tampon's insertion for a woman who hasn't given birth yet.

"Really?  There's a SUPER PLUS?  You're not just making that up?"

"Nope.  They're orange."

"Huh...  Okay then.  SUPER SPECTACULAR PLUS size?" I suggest, with accompanying jazz hands.  I'm already envisioning a 30 foot high marquee celebrating them.  I feel it warrants song.


Rissa snorts.




(Now with added SPARKLE and PIZZAZZ!!!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Human Broiler

My Mom?  She used to make 8 grilled cheese sandwiches at the same time by putting them under the broiler.   The oven door would remain open, just a few inches, so that the sandwiches could be monitored - ensuring even browning.  My Granny used to do the same thing for breakfast, with open-faced hamburgers buns.  The broiler would toast bread to perfection.  The broiler was a secret toasting weapon.

I'm dreaming of grilled cheese.  At 5:45 a.m. there is a cookie sheet of buttered sandwiches in bed with me.  Dozens and dozens of sandwiches, evenly toasting at first, but then I remember that the oven door isn't open, I haven't been checking on their progress - they are turning to charcoal under the blankets.  I am turning to charcoal...


"What?!?  WHAT?!?"  David starts awake.

"Hot flash!  HOT FLASH!!"  I flap, flap, flap the blankets around me, desperate to stop the toasting.  "TOO HOT!!!"  My torso is seconds away from spontaneously combusting.  "THIS IS HOW IT ALL ENDS!!!"

Then, my human broiler shuts off.  "Oh thank God..."  I have 32 seconds of comfort before my skin chills and my teeth start to chatter.  The blankets back on - I now huddle next to David for warmth.

I thought I had it all figured.  I know my triggers... caffeine... alcohol... if avoid them, if I only have that one glass of scotch, I'm usually fine.  Wait a second!  I didn't even have scotch last night!  What the hell is going on?

I think I might just have to face it. I'm 46 years old, this could just be the next stage in Peri-Menopause. Yes, I've been 'flashing' since I was 36, but my Mom, now 69, still gets the occasional flash.   Upside, Heather.  There has got to be an upside...

It's autumn in Canada - won't need to wear that light jacket outside.

My hot flashes can augment our house's heat!!  Our gas bills won't be as high!

If I am my own 'sweat box,' I will be able to burn body fat with this process!

When I reach the combustion point, eggs can be cooked on my torso, which means that less electricity will be used in the home, PLUS I'll be able to hire myself out to side shows for some extra cash and we'll be able to pay off the mortgage just that little bit faster...

See?  All I needed was a perspective shift.  It's all good.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lick my Phlegm

There's a difference between mucus and phlegm.  I mean beyond the spelling.  Although, frankly, just spelling  'phlegm' gives me a sick philologist's thrill.  That 'g' - it is so tasty.

Basically, mucus is supposed to be there and phlegm isn't.  Mucus relates to actual mucoid tissue - like say in your nose or eyes or genital areas - where it's good to be that little bit moist.  Phlegm, on the other hand, is more related to disease.  It's like MUCUS PLUS ++.  It's thicker, coats the back of one's throat and makes you feel like you're going to choke to death in the middle of the night.  Gives you that chronic throat clearing that drives people nuts.

But then I've been driving people nuts since I was a child.  My running tally of chronic conditions makes me sound like an Edwardian Artist -  infections of the throat, ears and lungs, migraines, dizzy spells, hypoglycemia, back, chest, neck - and now - shoulder pain.  My father frequently threatened to take me out back and shoot me - you know, to put me out of our communal misery.

"Heather, you're very sensitive to your body."  This from my mother, usually as she shakes her head, wondering where the hell I came from.  My mother - healthy as a horse.  Me?  Not so much.

My present ailments thrust me deep into Catch 22 territory.  My right shoulder, hindered by pain, with a side of next-to-no-mobility, should be treated with anti-inflammatories for pain and... well... inflammation.  (Along with icing, and physio.)  As instructed, I've been throwing anti-inflammatories at the problem for the last couple of months.  Turns out, these same anti-inflammatories, can eat away at a gal's stomach and leave her with ulcers and GERD, which in turn, give her blinding nausea, phlegm and difficulty swallowing.


Last night, I found myself at the pharmacist's counter, begging for wisdom.

"Is there anything I can take, other than anti-inflammatories to help with inflammation?

"What's the issue?"

"I have inflammation in my shoulder."

"And you can't take anti-inflammatories?"

"I cannot."

"Why not?"

"Because they give me ulcers. Is there another way to deal with inflammation that doesn't involve a pill?"

"Topical Creams."

"Like Arnica?"


"Doing that."

"Is it helping?"

shoulder shrug

"Cortisone shot?"

I hold up my prescription bag - "Doing that."

"So you're doing the topical cream and you're having a cortisone shot?"


"That's as far as I can take you."



"You don't have a hush-hush Shaman-like herbal remedy that I could cook over my stove, leaving me with a stinky mess of unguent to apply to my bum shoulder?"

"I do not."

"What if I slip you a Sir Wilfrid Laurier?"

"Are you attempting to bribe me?"

"Not at all.  How do you feel about Sir. John A.???"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Life was so much less expensive before I had taste.

A slightly bigger cross-body bag.  In a fancy colour.  That's all I wanted.   Slightly larger than the bag already slung across my shoulders, my affordable purple Kipling bag, the physical representation of which gave me a template for the size the new bag needed to be bigger than.  'Cause unless you have a small tape measure with you at all times (another reason why I needed a bigger bag), you need to have the old purse with you, because you'll look at new purses and, on first glance, they will appear to be bigger than your old purse.  Zippers all over the place, secret compartments, places to put things, sections that are separated.  They look like they'll fit things.  They won't.  My Kipling purse, purchased to see if I could downsize,  resembles an overstuffed sausage when I carry everything I 'need' in it.

hand sanitizer
ballet slippers
a book or my e-reader
compact shopping bag
nail clippers/file
hand wipes
extra underwear

Sure, you can try to eliminate items.  Only my car and house keys. No slippers, no extra underwear, no compact shopping bag, one lipstick, no books, no tweezers or nail clippers/files, no hand wipes, no tampons.

For 2 days I managed.  Less strain in carrying.  I could totally manage this!  Until I got my period unexpectedly and had no tampons and no change of underwear.  I broke a heel on my work shoes and had no ballet slippers.  Was the only one to the office, with no office keys.  Had three hairs in my neck without tweezers and broke my thumbnail beyond the quick - reaching for nail clippers/file that no longer travelled with me.

I was done.  I needed a bigger bag.  I didn't want black.  Everyone has a black bag.  I wanted something sassy, something bright - something that I wouldn't mistake for anyone else's.  I wanted to have something reasonably priced.

For 55 minutes I wandered the Handbag Hall at the Bay, killing time before my train ride home.

Back and forth - wending my way from section to section.  I must have passed the same bags 7 times.  From Guess, to Kate Spade to Fossil to Calvin Klein.  There are probably 5000 sq feet of displays on the first floor that are devoted to moderately priced purses and bags.  Then there is this other side, say another 2500 square feet - adjacent to the jewellery section, perpendicular to the moderately priced purses and bags, a section that is brighter and shinier and much more like travelling to Oz.  I knew.  I knew as I stepped across the divide that my shoes couldn't afford to touch the carpet.

Don't lift the tag, it will just make you cry.

The colours were stunning on that side of the aisle. Buttery leathers, crisp felts and elaborate fabrics calling out to me...

"Heather... Heather... just touch us.  Just feel us.  Look over here, Heather... Look over here..."

As in a dream, I lifted the price tag on a turqoise bag.  $525.00?!?  I could buy a new dishwasher for that!!!  I couldn't contain my bark of laughter.

Two young women, probably early 20s - but to my eyes, still in high school - said, "Beautiful bag, isn't it?"

"Yes.  Yes it is."

"Would you like us to show you any other bags in that line?"

I couldn't help but laugh again.  "No thanks.  I shouldn't be here.  Really, I shouldn't.  I feel like I owe you money just for lifting the price tag.  I'll just go back to other side of the aisle."  I gestured with my chin as I backed up.  "You know.  Over there, where I don't have to amortize a purchase to make it worthwhile."

I nonchalantly meandered back to the other section, trying not to yell out to the other shoppers as I passed them, "ARE YOU INSANE?!?  IT'S A FREAKING PURSE!  A PURSE!!!  YOU COULD MAKE AN EXTRA MORTGAGE PAYMENT INSTEAD!"

As I moved back, it occured to me that there were bags priced far beyond the $525 mark, I just hadn't lifted the tags on them yet.

In the moderately priced section I spied another turquoise bag - this one leather, with studs on one side. Not thrilled about the studs, but I could turn it around - kind of messengery in style and... $225.00.  Having just been to the other side, this was a bargain!  I should buy two and just hold the other one for 5 years until the first one wore out!

And that folks, is just what they want you to think.  They have their shiny designer side all well laid out with their perfectly dusted shelves with the make-you-gasp price tags... They know that the regular shopper isn't going to pay that much for a bag.  I don't spend $225 on anything - unless it's a winter coat.  Even then, I'd be balking and trying to figure out how many years I could get out of it.  $225.00  I was doing the math as I took my cheap-ass Kipling purse and measured it against the new bag.  The bag was almost the same freaking size!!! 

On my next pass through Handbag Hall I had my current purse out in front of me - sizing as I went.  Only when the prospective bag was bigger, did I turn over the price tag.  $295.00?!?

"Oh, COME ON!!"

$295 was considered moderately priced?!?  That just didn't compute.  I looked around at other shoppers - trying to make eye contact, trying to say without words, "Fight the power!  Together we can make a scene, let them know this is unacceptable, we won't take it any more!!"   I suspect I just came off as socially inept, suffering from a glandular disorder that made me wide-eyed.

I left without buying anything.  I showed them.  I showed them all.  And then the next week, I sourced another cheap-ass - slightly larger than my original - cross-body bag for a tenth of the price of the first bag I looked at.  Sure, it's not as pretty,  isn't exactly what I wanted and probably won't last many seasons, but it didn't cost me an extra mortgage payment and I can carry an entire box of tampons in it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Causing cardiac arrest in caterpillars

I don't do it on purpose.  It's just that in my capacity as impulsive animal saviour, I may, on the rare occasion, leave them with PTSD. 

There you are, a woolly bear caterpillar or a fat earth worm, trying to make your way across the asphalt bike path, when you suddenly find yourself rolled, pushed, nay verily, road-rashed to safety.

It's fall and it rains a lot. There are wee furry caterpillars and earth worms all over the freaking place. Were my finger nails long, I could use them as pincers to grasp the fur of the woolly bear caterpillar (or the full width of the earth worm) and lift it into my hand.  However, my finger nails are not long, which is why I generally make several failed attempts in my catch and release manoeuvre.   I end up having to roll them around a bit before I can gain purchase upon their carcasses and then I walk them over to the grass and set them back a good 4 feet from the bike path.  I worry that after I release the wee furry/slimy little bastards their compatriots have to rush over with wee defibrillators to stave off the cardiac arrest I've set them headlong into.

"I was just out for my Tuesday stroll... heading to the Country Style for coffee and a bagel...  From out of nowhere, a great, hulking shadow appeared above me.   I was squeezed and lifted a good centimeter off the ground before I was dropped - 4 times.  Then I'm rolled like some cheap carpet, over and over again before I find myself in its hideous grasp - travelling at MACH 10 to the grass."

Oh God.  I'm probably seeing the same caterpillar over and over.  A poor woolly bear caterpillar that struggles to make its way back onto the path after I've moved it.  It's probably trying to cross the freaking road.  And there I am, every morning, forcing it to re-enact its very own version of Groundhog Day.  I'm a monster!!

I just have to streamline my rescue process.  I could spray the animal with some sort of topical anasthetic - you know, to sedate it.  If I laminate some small pieces of very thin cardstock - I could use those as rescue boards for the transport, getting them underneath the body so that they don't have to be rolled so much.  I could play Holsts's Neptune the Mystic, not the ominous beginning part, but later, like 6 minutes in when the angelic chorus starts... I could shroud myself in an ethereal cloak - so that the beast believes it's having a religious encounter.  Then, and only then, may I transport it safely across the road...  To a caterpillar playground/spa...   I may have to leave the house earlier in the mornings. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Craving cutlery

I missed being the small spoon.  If I didn't really throw my arm over David's side, I could almost manage the big spoon. But small spoon?  Months had passed since I'd been able to lie on my right side and claim that privilege.

Heavy sighs.  Discomfort.  Near tears... a new nighttime ritual.

"What is it love?" asked David.

"I can't be the small spoon." I whispered.  Another protracted sigh.  Pain, less manageable at night, turned me into a whiny adolescent.  I hate being a whiny adolescent.

"Let's change sides," David said.

I drew in an epiphanic breath of air. Change sides?  WE COULD CHANGE SIDES?!?  "Quick!  Quick!  Help me up!"

"No, you just scootch over.  I'll run around."  And then he did, circling the mattress, as I used my good arm to drag myself across the sheets to his side of the bed.

The blankets lifted for a moment as David settled himself back into the bed.  He then pulled me into the curve of his body, the warmth of his chest upon my back, his right arm looping around my waist, one hand routinely cupping a breast, sending me headlong into Nirvana.

"Oh my God.  So good.  This is soooooooo good."

He murmured assent into the back of my neck.  His breath, on the back of my neck?  I thought I might expire from joy.

"This is better than sex."

He squeezed me closer.  "Yeah."

I snuggled back against him, attempting to glue our bodies together.  "I can't believe we didn't think of this before now."

"Your ask is my demand, my love."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Try to get this one past your filters...


The soft porn had been unexpected.  From what I knew of the books, I'd gleaned that there'd be kilts, horses, time travel, romance to be sure - but the soft porn?  A delightful bonus.

The opening allusion to sex in the  first episode of Outlander - was just that - allusory.  Squeaky bedsprings groaning - first from carefree, laughter-filled bouncing, and then from actual unseen lovemaking.  The scene was charming and let you do your own imaginative heavy petting.

Later on,  David and I sat up a little straighter as oral sex filled our screen.  We exchanged glances.

"I didn't know we got this along with the good acting," said David.  He shot me a grin and waggled his eyebrows.  I waggled mine back.  Not only was there oral sex on the tv, but it was man-on-his-knees-in-front-of-his-loving-wife oral sex - some might say the best kind.

"Who produces this?"


"...You're making that up."

"No seriously.  There, up in the corner, starz."

"For a company like that, I feel that instead of the well-scored sountrack we are hearing, it should be of the "bown-wown-chicka-wown-wown" variety.

"I'll bown-wown-choica-wown-wown you."

"I will take you at your word sir."