Tuesday, July 24, 2007

swimming with the masters

I swam in the Masters Meet this weekend: 25 breast and free, and 50 back and free in relays. Swimming fast is hard! The best I wanted to do was finish my races without sinking to the pool floor first, and I accomplished that. "Masters" is just code for "middle-age, doughy white people," which actually encompasses swimmers from about 20 to 85. The 85-year-old was a woman who did the 100 IM. God bless her; it took her about 10 minutes but she did it.

The women mostly wore figure-flaw-hiding black, which only works--and then only marginally--on the areas the suit actually covers, which, of course, doesn't include back fat rolls. With few exceptions, batwings and cottage cheese thighs were the norm. (Incidentally, nobody, but nobody, looks good in a swim cap and goggles, both of which stretch and contort your face into Phyllis Diller-like proportions).

Meanwhile, the men wore...well, it didn't really matter what the men wore. When they're in Speedos, there's no hiding anything, and as far as I could tell--and I researched this intently--most had nothing to brag about.

It was a fun day; we all cheered each other on and gave each other high fives, even if we lost our individual events miserably. Afterward, we enjoyed a BBQ and beer and fruity girly pineapple and coconut concoctions, and by the end of the day, we were vowing to embarrass ourselves, er, do it again next year.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

i'm all ears

I went to the dermatologist last week for my annual check-up. A couple of years ago it hit me that, hey, what the hell are all these freckles and spots and moles and what the hell is THIS thing? and that I ought to start seeing a dermatologist.

The dermatologist makes me nervous because it's really the only doctor that needs to see mostly all of your skin, which requires being mostly naked under harsh, unflattering fluorescent lighting. The paper cover-up thing they give you never seems to be big enough and I'm never quite sure how to wear it. Over my shoulders, like a cape? Over the front, but held together by a hand in the back? Around the back and open in the front, like a bath towel? It's all so confusing, and becomes moreso when it inevitably rips when you're trying to pull it just a little bit to cover that one exposed last inch of thigh skin.

This was a new Chinese doctor, so I had to listen carefully because of his accent. He looked around, checked out between my toes, commented on a birthmark on my back, and informed me I have mild rosacea on my face.

"The Irish tend to have rosacea. People think it's because they drink, but it's because they're Irish. Are you Irish?"


"Ah. Well, that's it, then." Eliminating the possibility that it's really from excessive drinking. Which it isn't. Really.

He starts examining my scalp. Then, a revelation:

"You have really big ears."

Now, nobody's ever told me this, and it has never before occurred to me that I have big ears.

"Yeah? Really? Gee, nobody's ever told me that before."

"Oh, yes." Then, sensing my concern that having big ears may be detrimental to my health--or at the very least, to my sense of self-esteem because now I think I look like fucking Dumbo--he adds, "People with big ears live longer." He smiles. He's making a joke. About my big ears! Ha! Ha!

"Ha! Well, you're pulling my leg now, doctor." At that time, he really was pulling my leg, looking for moles.

Now, some people might have been offended if their doctor made this observation. But because he was obviously amused by his discovery, I played along. I mean, so what? I have big ears. I can't change them. My hair covers them. But unfortunately, now that this has been brought to my attention, I'll forever notice the size of other people's ears, and compare them to my own. In fact, I looked at his. They seemed normal enough.

When I got home, I rushed to the mirror to look at my ears. He was right! They're huge! When the hell did THAT happen? Oh, NO! It's happening! My head is shrinking, and now my ears are getting bigger! Good grief, in 40 years, I'll look like this:

Saturday, July 07, 2007

where's the luck in laundry?

Today was supposed to be the luckiest day of the millennium.

But it was the unluckiest day in my laundry.

So I’m at the sink, picking off the shit that always seems to remain at the bottom of my glasses after they’ve run through the dishwasher, when I hear this horrible BANGBANGBANG in the basement. Not the jaunty BOOMBOOMBOOM the washer makes when it’s unbalanced; this was more sinister.

BANGBANGBANG. Really loud, like there’s an evil troll with a hammer, trying to get out.

I hustle downstairs, open the lid, and see that the machine has stopped spinning during the rinse cycle. That BANGBANGBANG is apparently the sound of the transmission whining that there are too many towels in there.

I fiddle with the knob, try different things, but it won’t spin. It’s done spinning. It’s spent.

Then I heave the soaking, sopping wet towels into the laundry basket to hang outside to dry. The damn thing’s heavy, so the handles break on my laundry basket. But I manage to get it outside, water dripping up and down steps and through the house.

I hang up a towel. The line creaks. I hang up another one at the other end. More creaking. I hang up a third. The line breaks and the towels fall to the ground.

But that’s ok. I have another, stronger one. I hang up all 6 towels. The line breaks. The towels fall to the ground.

Now the towels are dirty and I have to wash them again. I think if I were a neighbor and I watched all this, it’d be funny.


Because you demanded it, here are pictures of L's feet from the 4th. The top picture is from 2007; the bottom from 2006. She took a fashion risk by wearing different sandals. L often takes very colorful fashion risks, and you know how that tendency becomes exaggerated as women grow older, so we're really looking forward to what she'll be wearing in 20 years.

She has promised to stay away from pink cocktails, however.

Friday, July 06, 2007

with degenerates like these, who needs friends?

This 4th of July in Wenonah was pretty much like all the rest of them have been, except it wasn't the hottest day of the year like it usually is. A little morning rain kept the heat away, and the lingering cloud cover and low humidity helped me stay fresh and dry throughout the festivities.

Usually by the time the firehouse opens, people are sweating and glistening like pigs.

What struck me this year is that people looked old. Classmates. Friends. Of course we all look older, but I've been able to kinda gloss over that and see people as they looked 20, 30 years ago.

I couldn't do that this year. I noticed balding heads, wrinkled faces, yellowed teeth, tummy bulges, broken capillaries...and while some of us have aged better than others...we're our parents now. Our parents look the same as they used to, but now we look like them. We're the people the kids look at now and call "old."

And yet...we can stand there and trade stories about youthful adventures and drink beer (though not as much as we used to) and still not feel any older than when we drank Bud and Annie Green Springs and smoked pot and piled into Tom Hoover's beat-up van, speeding down Breakneck road, Zeppelin on the 8-track, not knowing or caring what curveballs we would be faced with the next day.

Yup. It was 4th of July in Wenonah. Same as it ever was.