Is there An Echo In Here?

 

Well, Friday was a big day at the cardio unit. I live in Boston, so we have many top hospitals from which to choose. We are fortunate in that regard. I am not.

It was my day for the echocardiogram, in preparation for the visit with the cardiologist and the surgeon. It was to be a standard one, not the kind where they put a tube down your throat. Not yet, anyway. It didn’t sound like a really big deal. They spread gel on your chest and then press a device called a transducer against your skin, aiming an ultrasound beam through your chest to your heart. The transducer records the sound wave echoes from your heart. A computer converts the echoes into moving images on a monitor. Fine.

First, there was a short meeting with both the doctor and the sonographer, who were to explain the procedure. Fine. Except that the doctor had such bad laryngitis, that he could barely speak, so had the sonographer do the talking. Not fine. Because I have no idea of what country this woman was from, but the ONLY thing I could understand (and I thought this was important) was that it shouldn’t hurt. I swear, the only words I semi-clearly got out of her were “slight discomfort.” I didn’t want to be rude and ask her definition of “slight”, especially because I wasn’t totally positive of even that.

But, I dutifully donned the stylish johnnie which could have fit all three of us, as well as a couple of portly orderlies and lay on my left side. Then, the sonographer (let’s call her Lisa because I couldn’t even read her name tag) got the gel, I swear to God, out of the freezer. A friend told me that sometimes they need to press quite hard – be sure to tell them if it’s painful.

“Press quite hard” is not the term, and as far as telling them it’s painful, I think it is to my credit that I didn’t say,  “Jesus! Shouldn’t Dr. Hoarse be looking at a screen or something and not standing on your hand?” It hurt like hell, and just so you know I’m not being a big baby about this, I actually had a black and blue mark.

When I complained, Lisa just kept smiling and said something like “need pressure to see right.” I think. I wanted to say, “Yeah, and I’ll need pressure to wring your fucking neck when I get up – if my left side isn’t paralyzed.” When it was over, I was so annoyed, I told her I’d wipe my own damned gel off.

Anyway, it’s over. I’ll be seeing Doctor McBeautiful this week, and I assume some sort of valve surgeon because as much as we’ve been hoping to avoid surgical intervention, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’ll keep you posted, but keep a good thought for me, ok?

Also, that they have smaller johnnies – and drugs.

A Hearty Soul

 

Well, I was hoping to put this off for a while, but it looks like my aortic valve needs replacing. Damn those calcium deposits! My cardiologist (who, by the way, makes Jon Hamm look like Mortimer Snerd so it’s hard to follow everything he says). He thinks I have some sort of learning disability because he has to write everything down for me.

Anyway, I have to get to the real skinny on this whole surgery thing, but before I do, could I ask you, my wonderful readers, not to write in to me and tell me what a big deal is ISN’T? Really. I was telling my shrink the other day how it pisses me off when people say, “Oh, these days, that’s no big deal. People do it all the time and two hours later, they’re ziplining across the Grand Canyon.”

I don’t care. It’s heart surgery. On MY heart, and it concerns me.

So, what does my shrink go on to say, “I have a 92-year-old patient who didn’t even stay overnight in the hospital.” I told her, “Did you hear what I just said?” I don’t care if she’s putting out oil rig fires off the coast of Mexico as we speak, I don’t want you to minimize this to me.”

At this point, Dr. Stunning and I are down to cases and he is sent me toddling off to the surgeon to talk valves. I thought the surgeon just picked out of his black bag, stuck it in there, and I was off to ziplining class, but no! It turns out that there are choices and selections. I can’t even pick out curtains.

These stories are a load of crap, because I am reading that “After aortic valve replacement, the patient will frequently stay in an intensive care unit for 12–36 hours. The patient is often able to go home after this, in about four days, unless complications arise. Common complications include heart block, which typically requires the permanent insertion of a cardiac pacemaker.

Recovery from aortic valve replacement will take about three months, if the patient is in good health. Patients are advised not to do any heavy lifting for 4–6 months after surgery, to avoid damage to the sternum (the breast bone).

I’m kind of hoping for the minimally invasive option

A bit of pre-research has put me in the know to some degree, as I would like to meet with this man, armed with some semblance of knowledge. The four key types of biological valve replacements are:

  • Pig valves which are actual transplants from the heart of a pig.
  • Cow valves which are made from the pericardial tissue of a cow’s heart – a viable option as they last longer.
  • Homografts which are human donor valves. (read cadavers)
  • Autografts which are the patient’s own valve used in the Ross Procedure. (well, why would I want my own when it is obviously so flawed – duh, doc!)

Having considered my options, I’m leaning toward the pig thing, because:

Pig valve transplants have a few major advantages over mechanical valves. One, the patient is not required to use blood thinners (e.g. Coumadin therapy) to prevent blood clots. Two, pig valves do not make clicking sounds like many mechanical valves. One of my pet peeves in life is gum-snapping, so this is a major plus as far as I’m concerned. I’d hate to have to have that sound in my chest all day.

So, I’ll keep you posted as I may be taking a break from writing. I am missing doing my art and need to put some serious time in with my easel, especially now that it is Daylight Saving time, and I can see what the hell I am doing after 3PM.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s a Gal To Do?

 

 

Well, ladies, it seems that the Snark has some serious work to do after seeing the cover of her new ebook, so I am looking to do some not-so-common work on the old body. I’m thinking complete overhaul, but I’m going to have to work from the inside out.  As I do cannot afford he benefit of costly plastic surgery. As always, I do my research, and realize that it isn’t just what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that can make all the difference. Let’s look at some of the ways we can make improvements we never dreamed of and look forward to the amazing results that can be ours.

  1. Adore Your Floor – Pelvic, that is

If you’ve never had your pelvic floor released, consider hunting down an integrative structural specialist, because apparently this will bear a shocking revelation. While you might assume that this muscle web that acts as a “hammock” for your undercarriage would be stretched out (particularly if you’ve had kids), it’s generally the opposite. “The pelvic floor is one of the body’s primary stress containers,” explains Lauren Roxburgh, our go-to fascia and structural integrative specialist. “That pit in the base of your stomach is your pelvic floor in permanent clutch.”Getting reconnected is essential: “Adore your pelvic floor,” Roxburgh ads: “It’s the key to great sex, a flat tummy, and the key to never laying in a supply of Depends.”

I’m thinking that a little pelvic work could maked me look a bit less clenched.

2. The Nuts and Bolts of Colonics –  For the uninitiated, a colonic is essentially a way to hydrate and irrigate your colon—a section of your intestines that’s approximately five feet long—by filling it with warm water and then flushing it out repeatedly. Like cleanses, the efficacy (and safety) of colonics is often debated: Proponents argue that it’s crucial for moving things along, particularly because our systems are over-taxed by clearing the toxins of modern day life, while critics posit that the colon is perfectly capable of cleansing itself on its own.

Well, the Snark’s life is pretty full of every-day toxins, so I say we give it a go – no pun intended.

3. Learn To Yawn Properly – Michael Lear, Yogi

Yawn #1

  1. Gently tilt your head back to a comfortable position and allow your mouth to hang open widely while you gently extend into it.
  2. Contract the back of the throat as if to perform Ujjayi breathing—a whispery breath—which is typically done through your nose with your mouth closed. Breathe deeply through your mouth so you feel the air hit the back of your throat.
  3. Inhale and exhale completely while allowing your shoulders to relax as you exhale.
  4. When the yawn comes, reach and extend into it, riding the yawn to stretch the jaw muscles.
  5. Repeat 8-10 times until tearing starts. As your jaw muscles stretch and relax, and the yawn expands, the lacrimal glands around the eye are squeezed and tearing is induced

Note: Weeping with pain is not necessary for this exercise to be beneficial

4. Protect You Telomeres – In their new book The Telomere Effect, Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel outline that the key to understanding the aging puzzle is telomeres—tiny caps on the ends of our DNA strands that protect cells from premature aging. The good news? They can be manipulated through simple lifestyle and perceptual changes, with some mind-blowing results. Below, Epel explains their fascinating research in layman’s terms, with brilliant tips for living healthier, longer.

It’s important to maintain our telomeres, so we can replenish tissue when we are older. A special enzyme in our cells, called telomerase, protects telomeres and actually rebuilds, and lengthens them. A small handful of studies suggest that mind-body activities, done daily, may increase our telomerase

You know what, though. I think that after giving this a lot of thought, if there is another book, I’m just going to ask Christies Brinkley if I can use one of her old pictures She probably has millions of them, seems to be a very nice person, and I’ll bet she has one hell of a set of telomeres.

 

 

We’re The Neighborhood Freaks!

Once in a while, a thought occurs to me. It’s not always a good one, but at least it is a thought.

I once saw an episode of “The King of Queens” where Carrie turns to Doug with the revelation, “WE’RE he neighborhood freaks!!” Of course, they were outside their house, having a shouting match regarding some outlandish predicament while the neighbors were hiding behind their curtains.

It hasn’t quite come to that, but I fear it’s only a matter of time. I mean, here you are going along in life thinking that you are a non-entity in your environment, you have no kids who TP the surrounding houses nor do you run a crystal meth lab in your basement, no predilection on your husband’s part to mow the lawn in Victoria’s Secret, no desire to visit next door to “spread the Word” and yet…..

Last summer’s Lawn Lady incident notwithstanding, I find myself doing things that my neighbors just do not do. First of all, I rescue and board dogs. I am out and about with myriad dogs every day. So, people refer to me as ” The Dog Woman” – like the bearded lady in the circus. One woman on the next block asked if I used then as research or stole them to sell. I swear to you, she asked me that. It was such an absurd thing to say that I asked her why on earth she would ask such a thing and she said, ‘Well, I watch you through my curtains, and you certainly seem to have a lot of different dogs.” Idiot. If memory serves, that was my explanation.

The woman next door once asked why I was showering at 2PM. First of all, why the hell is she up and looking in my bathroom window at 2 AM? I happen to be a bad sleeper and sometimes find a shower soothing. Furthermore, why do I have to defend this to anyone?

Even if someone finds your behavior strange, what gives them the right to come out and ask you? It’s no one’s damn business if I’m prying the supports off my garage, making it look like the wonky witch’s hovel at some sad little amusement park. I had my reasons. It lists terribly now. Turned out to have been a poor DIY decision on my part, but moving on……

One guy asked why we came home one night at 3 o’clock in the morning. Another neighbor told me that by feeding the squirrels, birds, and chipmunks in my yard, I an attracting coyotes and would call animal services on me. Another neighbor wants to know why my lawn looks like a chemical waste dump, regardless of the fact that National Grid has been trying to fix a gas leak in front of my house for two years. Apparently, I’m bringing down “the tone” on our street. Get a grip, dude, we don’t live in Beverly Hills. Again, if memory serves, that was my answer.

But, the real revelation came last year while I was climbing my front stairs with about 87 bags of groceries, missed my footing and fell over backward on the cement, right on to my head. I knocked myself out, and let me tell you, head-wounds bleed like nobody’s business. Only one guy (in his 20’s) approached me and asked if I wanted help into the house.

I believe I barely was able to whisper, “No” because I couldn’t move. He said, Ok” and went in his house, not to be seen again. No call to 911?

I was in a semi-conscious state, but I know damn well people actually drove by. Now I know people have their own problems, but you’ve got to be pretty far up your own ass not to notice a woman bleeding to death on the sidewalk. Fortunately for me, Tom came careening down the street a couple of minutes later, thinking I had been shot.

In the emergency room, while I was being patched up and waiting for a bed (the wound was so bad, I got admitted), Tom had calmed down some, and said, “Why wouldn’t anyone stop?” I thought about this and answered, “Because WE’RE the neighborhood freaks.”

 

The Snark and I Announcment!

Well, I finally pulled the trigger I have been threatening to pull, and published an ebook on Kindle. I have no idea of whether is will do anything on whether it will molder on the virtual shelves, but I did try and get it out there. It is full of my past posts and although the pictures have been taken out (don’t want to get in trouble with any owners), the text is the same.

I really hope that some of you will support me and buy a copy for the stuff you may have missed, not to mention that you will have what is sure to be a e-archive for the ages. Kindle says the lead time is a few days.

Anyway, wish me luck. It is a totally new endeavor for me and I would like to mention a massive thank you to my wonderful friend Pauline Anderson, the All-Knowing Cyber-Goddess of the Word Document, who did so, so much work on producing a beautiful and comprehensive manuscript. So, special thanks to you, CG – it never would have happened without you.

 

The Snark’s Science Corner

Ok, as promised, The Snark vowed to bring you some useful information soon, and here it is:

Junk Food Isn’t Just Making People Fat—It’s Making Them Stupid!

Well, if that isn’t a big honkin’ piece of the human condition clicking into place with a massive thunk, I don’t know what is.

Here’s how it works (in non-scientific terms that I can understand, sort of): New research suggests that gut bacteria might be the key to understanding the effect of sugar and fat on brain function. A study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University and published in the journal Neuroscience suggests that high-fat, high-sugar diets have a detrimental effect on what they refer to as “cognitive flexibility,” or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.

First, they tried these studies on mice (never cool to torture animals in a lab in my opinion, but that’s another post), then One of the first studies to link gut bacteria to brain function was performed by researchers at the Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology and Stress and appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology.

They took three groups of women and had one group consume yogurt loaded with supplemental probiotics daily for four weeks, had another group eat a substance that looked and tasted like yogurt but had no probiotics, and gave the third group nothing specific to eat. Not only did the sans-probiotic group suffer in cognitive tests, just as the mice in the recent Oregon State study did, but it also faltered in emotion-based tests, linking poor gut health to stress.

None of these finding sound very dramatic to me. The junk will make you fat, for sure – but stupid? I think that happens all on its own.

First of all, I cry foul on the third group. It isn’t like these women pumped up with Triple-Double Cheeseburgers with Secret Sauce, fries, and Shamrock Shakes and then were unable to spell their names correctly. For all we know, they were having their usual pomegranate smoothies and kale chips for lunch, so this proves nothing to me.

I think it would be awesome to conduct my own experiment and it sounds like fun. It goes like this:

  1. I consume nothing but probiotic yogurt, brown rice, steamed veggies, and liquefied antioxidant fruits for two week. At the end of that period, if I am able to complete a Sudoku puzzle without incident, I will be impressed.
  2. I will consume fake yogurt with no probiotics and if just continue bumbling through my days, living my usual clueless existence, it will prove nothing.
  3. For two weeks, I will consume the most disgusting Denny’s breakfast concoctions (you’ve seen them on TV),

  1. Cheetos/Bugle for morning snacks, along with several cans of Coke, have a Double Whopper, fries, and a fried pie or two for dessert. The, I’ll end my day polish off a bucket of KFC (with dipping sauce”, sipping a Mountain Dew during “The Adventures of Paddy the Pelican.”

If, at the end of that time, I am able to drive, write a check, and spell “dog” correctly, I figure I’m good to go and will write to the good folks at Oregon State, tell them they just wasted good money proving nothing, and to get on something that will really help us, like following my regimen in #3 without letting our thighs go condo.

That Doesn’t Make Me An Idiot!

I am not of the tech age. I have no desire to be of the tech age. Technology started just fine without me and seems to be hurtling toward new advances daily without my input or knowledge. I don’t know how to set a DVR, don’t want or need the latest Smartphone, and can’t figure out how to fix my own website.

This does not make me an idiot. Perversely, it is with some degree of pride that I say this – people tend to think I am an idiot because I don’t know or want to know how to do a lot of technological things that they just take for granted. and they just assume I’m a moron. And I suppose if that is your criterion for intelligence, I am. Sure, I’m getting older and my memory is shot to shit, but frankly, that can be a blessing.

No, not being tech-savvy does not make me an idiot. Hopelessly out of touch, perhaps, but I can live with that. And judging from the amount of ads out there for people who make their living helping people like me, there is a thriving industry for the hopelessly out of touch, so I am by no means alone.

When I am trapped in conversation at a social gathering, I find that I am able to talk about pretty much anything because I read a lot, I listen a lot, have many interests, and I like to laugh a lot. I also find that it is hard to find like-minded individuals, because people are busy looking at some hand-held device (even during a conversation!), have no interest in what you are saying, and can’t find anything interesting to talk about, unless it is themselves – endless fascination there, especially if they are techies and they can impress you with facts that they know damn well you don’t understand.

I find that while many of these techies can fix my computer, reconfigure data, or can understand holograms and their place in our world, they can neither speak our native language properly, think Emily Dickinson is an Oscar-winning actress, and think North Korea is in Europe.

People cannot get enough of the latest thing, but basic knowledge has ceased to be a priority. We’ve all seen the lines of people waiting to get the new Apple watches when they come out. For WHAT reason? What does this thing do that generates that sort of devotion of time and disposable income?

Why do we need a Fitbit to tell us that our hearts are beating fast or cars that drive themselves when you have to be in them anyway? For me “enabling cookies” means we are paying those little thieving bastard Girl Scouts $5 a box for an ever-decreasing amount of Thin Mints. And that has been the sum total of “enabling cookies” effect on my life.

Who is so important that they need to be in touch with the world 24/7? Empires were built without cellphones. Do you think Hannibal called his generals and said, “How am I supposed to get these freakin’ elephants over these Alps?” Now, that was a problem he just figured out. These days, we stand at the dairy aisle and listen to some jerk on his phone, say, “Honey, do you want the yogurt with the fruit on the bottom or already mixed in?”, knowing his ass in in the blender if he gets the wrong thing.

One thing I saw that actually made me feel sad was about a month or two ago, while I Tom and I were out to dinner. A couple walked in with a little boy who was about three-years-old. Mother, father, and child all had a hand-held device, and besides deciding what to eat, had no verbal interaction throughout the meal. None.

Yes, technology has brought mankind to places thought impossible years ago, has cured horrific sickness, and has made everything from the appliances in our homes to space exploration possible. I’m not saying that I want to live in a world without it. I’m saying I don’t want my world ruled by it.

 

Spamalot

Readers,

I know I recently did a post on my spam, but since I’ve been back in action on the keyboard, such riches have been pouring into the old folder, I just had to share. I’ve also been posting a lot lately, so I may be giving the old laptop a rest and getting some quality time in with my easel. However, if that happens, I’ll leave you with this, my latest spam haul.

Boycott Bitches says: I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women? American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least. This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

Well, Boyd, I don’t know why you chose me to express your distain for American women, except that I am one. On that note, I think I can speak for most of my American female colleagues in breathing a sigh of relief at your boycott of us. Oh, and Boyd? You missed Chinese New Year, but the EU has an open door policy, so good luck at Oktoberfest! (Note to the German people: someone alert Angela Merkel immediately!)

Vanessa praises: Just want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness to your put up is simply spectacular and that i could suppose you are a professional in this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to clutch your feed to keep updated with approaching post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the rewarding work.

Vanessa – You do not have permission to clutch my feed. Even if I knew what that meant, I don’t like the sound of it. I’ll thank you 2,000,000 not to do it.

Candance (sic) wants to know: Do you have a youtube channel with your blog?

Hi Candace – No, I don’t. I had been entertaining the notion of a channel for beginner pastelists like me, but have never considered one for my blog, and don’t even know how I would do that. Writing and speaking are such different things. I would have to think about talking to you the way I write to you. Could be interesting – for me, anyway.

Boyd the Pedalgeek says: There are actually some fascinating points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion till I appear into it further. Very good article , thanks and we want additional!

Fingel has a burning query: IS YOUR PENIS TO SMALL? I BET IT IS! 

Well, Fingel, it must be because I have yet to find it.

The IRS! – ATTN: This is to inform you that we the fbi have a warrant to arrest you and hope youre understand how amany times this message has been sent. you arrested immediately and today if you fail to respond back to fbi  Bahwan Fulman, Direstor of the fbi

Dear Mr. Fulman,

As far as I know, James Comey is still the Direstor of the fbi, and if he came to my door, I may take a warrant to heart. Even though everyone in DC is playing fast and loose with emails, this is hard to take seriously. If you ring my bell, I promise you, I won’t go quietly.

Mr. Munny Sogheap (honest!) : I am a branch manager of a top bank in Cambodia. There is a unfinished business with a client with the same name as you. Please contact me as to when you can put this to rights.

Well, Munny – may I call you Munny? Is that a pun or is that just scam humor? Anyway, Mr. Sogheap just sounds too Charles Dickens for me, so Munny it is. So, wait for me at the airport at Phnom Penh. I just looked it up. Travelzoo has flights for $457, so I’m on my way. Just hold up a sign that says the same name as me and I’ll find you.

TED BARNES (name changed)A CITIZEN OF AMERICAN: I AM A SINGLE FATHER AND AM INTERESTED TO KNOW YOU MORE AFTER I ACME ACROSS YOUR POSTS. I DECIDED TO CONTACT YOU TO KNOW YOU BETTER AND GET INTO A GOOD FRIENDSHIP AND GET MARRIED. I NEED A PERSON LIKE YOU TO MARRY OR HAVE A BUSINESS PROPOSAL GET BACKTO ME IMEDIATELY SO WE CAN GET GOING ON SERIOUS TALKS.

Ted, you silver-tongued devil, you – I am already married and have no money. I imagine that the last part of that sentence assures me that I will never hear from you again.

Well, those are the spam’s greatest hits from the past month or so readers – I’ll keep you updated!

On Being Alone – It Beats Bad Company

I lead a very isolated existence. While I do have friends, wonderful friends, most of the live out of state or work during the day. Tom and I only have one car, which he uses for work, so if I can’t walk to my destination or take the T (our form of public transportation), chances are I will have to wait for the weekend to get there when a car is at my disposal.

Someone recently looked at me sorrowfully and said, “But you sometimes don’t see people for days at a time. Doesn’t that make you sad?”

My reply was, “Are you kidding? That is my dream come true.”

Yes, retirement was tremendously hard on me. I had worked since the age of fourteen, and over the years, got very good at my job. It was a huge part of who I was and when I lost it, I lost a lot of self-esteem. I missed not working for a long time, but I never missed dealing with the lunatics and jerks with whom I had to communicate daily. It didn’t matter where. Every company has them. If you are lucky, one of them is not your boss.

I am not a people-person, much preferring the company of dogs, and few special people that I can count on the fingers of my hands. I’m older now, and don’t have time to waste on people who don’t give a flying hoo-hah about me.

When I was young, I loved going out, getting invitations to weddings and soirées , looked forward to the annual company Christmas party, and enjoyed clubs and concerts. When did it all go South? I don’t know exactly when. There was no defining moment. It all happened over the course of years, and it’s getting worse.

It was a gradual thing, this misanthropy. Back then, I think I was too innocent or youthfully stupid to realize that people (in general) just plain suck. However, I also don’t think it was as bad then as it is now.

Judging by the amount of venomous rhetoric we hear politically (from all sides), the constant spewing of hatred, the rise of unspeakable cruelty against defenseless animals, and the filth/bullying via the Internet show that human fury is ramping up at an alarming rate. We are not a happy society.

Look at the some of the marketing that we don’t even think of anymore – kids are into Angry Birds, Burger King has Angry Whoppers, ads show food slapping people in the face. Children are playing video games that feature slaughter in gruesome fashion, and think nothing of it. We are immune to it. Violence is commonplace and has become the norm.

Even if we don’t go as far as violence, what has happened to common decency and manners? No. I’m no Emily Post, but I do get up for the rare passenger on a bus who is older than I, hold doors for people, speak respectfully to store personnel and wait-staff, and automatically say please and thank you. It’s the way I was raised. It doesn’t make me special, it is just plain courtesy and should be automatic.

I say I dislike people because megalomania at best, and violence at worst lives in so many. I know it’s not in me. I know it’s not in those I love, but I don’t know it’s not in those I don’t know. My friend recently questioned my hesitation to give people the benefit of the doubt. I used to. My feeling now is why should I give my trust to someone I don’t know, opening myself to accept a stranger when I don’t know what is in their heart? It’s no longer a desire to make a good impression, sometimes it is a desire not to be hurt – psychically or emotionally.

We live in an increasingly dangerous world, a frightening world. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m nice. I am polite, and I am professional. I am a pleasant and cooperative co-worker. Until I get to know more about you, that’s all you’ll get.

On a personal level, if I meet someone who just wants to talk “at” me, with absolutely no interest in a dialogue and just wants to talk about themselves with no interest in me or having an exchange, I have no problem with cutting the conversation PDQ and walking away. What do I care if they are thinking, “What a rude bitch she is!” How much could they have cared about me in the first place? Life is too short to be a sounding board for some self-centered stranger who thinks you have any interest whatever in their family tree or their impacted molar.

Not everyone wants to shoot you, but there are people who like to mess with you, to make you feel small because it makes them feel good. As you get older, you can recognize the signs. Yes, there are some who enjoy a lovely, lively conversation. I enjoy a casual chat as much as the next person, but there needs to be some back and forth for it to be enjoyable to me.

Another trend that bothers me tremendously is this: where do people get the impression that they can say anything they want to you? What gives them the right to not even hesitate to make a disparaging comment on one’s appearance or condition? When you take umbrage, they act all innocent, like, “What’s your problem? What did I say? Man, she’s got a problem.

For example, one of my very few remaining vanities is being told I look old. Complete strangers have told me I look far older than I am. One cab driver and a bus driver both told me I would have no problem getting senior citizens passes although I was not old enough. One idiot at a party told me I looked like his grandmother – and he was 50!

Ok, rant is over. Tom will be up soon, and I will have to dial in on the day and get a read on how it’s going to go as I have to go into the city today to get some errands done. That means I’ll be riding the rails – both commuter and subway, so we’ll see how the day goes.

I hope yours is a great one.

Rockin’ Robin

That’s it. I’m done. Dr. Phil and I have come to a total parting of the ways. Why? What pushed me over the edge, so I don’t even tune in monthly to see if anyone has a crazier family than I do?

One word. Robin.

I’ve always found her to be annoying, with her bobble head-nodding and phony jaw-drop at the “shocking” revelations of the guests. Yes, the hand-holding, the little “I worship and adore my husband, the most brilliant therapist in the world” demeanor, and the clothes that belong on a woman thirty years her junior.

Yes, I like the idea of her foundation, “When Georgia Smiled”, and as self-serving and self-promoting as it may be, I think she has done a lot for abused and battered women. Her apps for women to get help sound innovative and truly useful, so props to her on that.

However, it seems that every show ends with 10 – 15 minutes of plugging her new, over-priced skin care line – like we needed another one. Dr. Phil has a net worth of $400 million, and an annual salary of $88 million. How are these people not embarrassed by this shameless promotion?

First of all, they tell us that Robin has not has plastic surgery. I guess she was born looking like she just walked into a surprise party 24/7, has never been able to fully close her eyes, and has lips the size of the Hindenburg.

The last time I watched, they had a lady named Shirley in the audience who was supposedly concerned with getting a date for Valentine’s Day. It was around Feb. 10, so Robin had to work fast. There is no way she would have time for the “60 Day Essential Kit Anti Aging Skin Care”, or even the “30 Day Kit”, but that she would get some kind of miracle serum.

Seriously, they told this woman that with Robin’s Jewel Drops would make her look so young and dewy, she would be awash in roses and Victoria’s Secret by the 14th. She was thrilled. I imagine that if the Jewel Drops didn’t do the trick, she may work something out in time for Memorial Day.

More than anything, it’s the cutesy names that irritate me. Let’s look at some of them. I’d be ashamed to display them in my bathroom, not to mention the PhD I would need in bio-chemistry to figure out the regimen as there are at least 40 different products, not including the fragrance line.

  1. Twinkle, Twinkle – You’re A Star! This is the “triple-action” brightening polish. It sounds like something I rub on my bowling balls.
  2. Starlight, Facebright! – Apparently, this works while you are sleeping and I just don’t need any more surprises in the morning. This is to be used in conjunction with Hydra-Qwench, Qwench?
  3. OMG – I Can’t Believe It’s Me – I say this every morning. And not in a good way.
  4. Let There Be Bright! – My motto is “The Dimmer, The Better”, but that probably wouldn’t sell.
  5. Face It, You Look Amazing! – After OMG, I can get by the name of it, but what in God’s name are “pluming results”.
  6. Up, Up & Away – Firming Neck & Décolleté – my neck would be the envy of turkeys everywhere, and as far as my décolleté, unless Up, Up & Away comes with the services of a structural engineer, it ain’t happenin’.
  7. The Eyes Have It – Power Peptide Eye Cream – this stuff claims to have a “blurring effect”. Well, unless it is blurring the vision of the person looking at me, I don’t see how this does me any good whatsoever.
  8. Kissy Permissy – The Answer Is Always YES! – This may be a mold of Robin’s actual lips.

I don’t make this shit up, people.

There’s more, much more. These products I mentioned were but a sample, but the problems I have with them are many – the shameless shilling of multi-zillionaires trying to make more money, the complexity of this regimen of so many products, the promises that are impossible to keep, the gullibility of people who are willing to shell out an absurd amount of money to these hucksters, and again, the cutesy-poo names that I would rather die than display on my bathroom vanity.

All I know is if I were Robin, I’d be reaping the benefits of throwing in my lot with this guy who was some bald-headed loser when she met him and I’d be off on the Amalfi coast with some cabana boy named Lorenzo who mixed me my morning Bellinis. That would be my idea of Up, Up & Away.

But if you find you want to exclaim, “OMG, I Can’t Believe It’s Me!, by all means, knock over a gas station and buy the complete line. It’s up to you.