Down The Rabbit Hole

Last week I mentioned that in addition to my shoe breakdown, my deodorant had also failed. That got me thinking about sweat and its associated etiquette. (Sweatiquette?)

I lived most of my adult life in Calgary, where it’s so dry that your sweat glands have to work overtime just to keep you from shriveling into a desiccated mummy. Perspiration was never a problem there.

But it’s humid here on the West Coast, and now I get clammy clothes and a sticky sheen on my skin just from strolling down the sidewalk.  So here’s my dilemma:

When you a meet a friend you’d normally hug, is it more awkward to say, “Don’t hug me, I’m gross and sweaty”; or to go for the hug and subject them to full sweatitude with a bonus whiff of gamey armpits? (And why don’t I have friends anymore?)

When I consulted the internet (about sweatiquette, not my social problems), I was confronted by an ad demanding, “Are you a heavy sweater?”

I blinked away the mental image of a bulky cable-knit pullover.  Nope, last time checked I was still a regular-weight human.

And down the rabbit hole I went.

‘Sweater’. It’s kind of an icky word when you think about it. I mean, I guess it’s descriptive enough:  When you’re cold, you want something that might induce sweat; so you put on a ‘sweater’.  But, ew.

Our friends in the U.K. more politely call them ‘jumpers’; but even though there’s a lower ick-factor, the word makes no sense at all. What does jumping have to do with a garment you pull over your head?

Although I guess it makes as much sense as our North American ‘jumper’: A sleeveless, collarless dress worn over a T-shirt.  (As opposed to a ‘jumpsuit’, the one-piece coverall worn by skydivers who jump out of perfectly serviceable airplanes at high altitude. At least the terminology is logical even if the sanity is questionable.)

And that reminds me of a joke:  “Parachute for sale.  Used once.  Small stain.”

Which brings me full-circle to sweat and other bodily emissions:  If anybody ever forced me to skydive, I guarantee the stain would be a large one and the parachute wouldn’t be salable afterward.  The person who coerced me probably wouldn’t be in great shape, either.

And that’s the bottom of this week’s rabbit hole.  (Should I mention that a rabbit is also a ‘jumper’?)

Happy landings to all!

Book 15 update:  The first words are on the page, woohoo!  I’m thrilled to be writing again — I’ve missed Aydan and the gang. 🙂

Solving The Wrong Problem

I’m a problem-solver by nature — as soon as I’m confronted by an issue, my brain immediately rounds up the metaphorical troops and puts all available energy into finding a solution.  Often this leads to creative solutions or hare-brained inventions, but occasionally I zoom  right past the main issue and solve the wrong problem entirely.

Take this weekend, for example:

We had been invited out to a birthday party, where (as usual) I ate far too much and then topped off my excesses with a couple of delicious beers.

Showing superhuman restraint (if I do say so myself) I managed to behave like a polite adult the whole entire time we were in public.  (Mark a big star on the calendar for Saturday November 24, 2018:  “Diane acted like an adult ALL DAY today!”)

Well, okay, not all day; but most of the day…

Happy and relaxed in the car with Hubby on the way home, I let out a resounding belch and said, “’Scuse me.”

Hubby reacted not at all, neither to the original gross breach of etiquette nor to my subsequent lip service to politeness.

After a couple of beats of silence I turned to him and said, “I guess after belching loudly enough to register on the Richter scale, excusing myself is probably solving the wrong problem, isn’t it?”

He smiled and shrugged.

Thus encouraged, I finished,  “…so next time I won’t bother excusing myself.”

And Hubby just laughed.  (Have I mentioned lately how much I love him?)

And on another note:  Here are some photos that have made me happy lately.  They may not solve any problems, but maybe they’ll make you smile, too.  (Click the photos to see larger versions.)

It’s hard to believe, but one of our azaleas is still blooming! This is “Bloom-a-thon Lavender”, still putting out flowers at the end of November.

The heather is already in bloom, and the pansies haven’t stopped since I put them in last spring.

The last few leaves of the weigela perch like bright butterflies on the tips of the twigs.

We took a trip out to Ucluelet (on the west coast of Vancouver Island) a couple of weeks ago, on a gorgeous calm sunny day.

Even on a calm day, the ocean never rests. This is the Amphitrite lighthouse in Ucluelet. (The person in the middle isn’t actually close to the waves crashing on the rocks – it’s just that the waves are that big.)

It wouldn’t be the West Coast without some gorgeous greens!


May all your problems be easily solved!

Book 14 update:  Despite a busy week, I made it almost to the end of Chapter 34.  All the threads are coming together now!


Flying Food

Last week’s post reminded me that I’m no stranger to flying food.  In fact, it may have contributed to my lifelong antipathy toward dressing up and attending formal functions.

First, a bit of background:  I grew up on a farm ‘way out in the sticks.  We dressed up for church, weddings, and funerals, and the rest of the time I ran wild outside.  So dress-up occasions came with considerable tension and discomfort: “Don’t do anything to get your good clothes dirty” meant ignoring my most fundamental personality traits.

When I was a teenager, my cousin’s wedding reception was held in the Fort Garry Hotel, the grandest historic hotel in Winnipeg.  There was a buffet, and I was on my best behaviour in my best dress.  We were working our way through the buffet line and my dad was ahead of me, chatting to whoever was ahead of him.

Remember the restaurant scene in Pretty Woman where the snail shoots off her plate only to be fielded by a deadpan waiter?

Yep, you guessed it.  Not versed in buffet etiquette, I had just taken a piece of pineapple with my fingers.  As I moved the slippery morsel toward my plate, my dad gestured animatedly.  (Apparently it runs in the family.)  His hand smacked mine, and the pineapple sailed across the fancy ballroom to disappear under one of the white-skirted tables.

I envied it at that moment.  I felt like vanishing under one of the tables, too.

Fast-forward to my first year of living in residence at the University of Manitoba.

Thanks to Chris K., a mature student who took this wide-eyed country bumpkin under his (platonic) wing, I finally learned some basic table manners such as holding my fork between my fingers instead of clenched in my fist like a weapon.  My image makeover continued while I observed and copied the fashion choices of my oh-so-sophisticated interior design classmates.

By the time I went on my first date (!) to a fancy restaurant (The Keg – hey, it was a whole lot fancier than anywhere I’d ever been), I was prepared.  I wore fashionable clothes; I knew how to hold my fork; I even successfully identified the bread-and-butter plate.  It was winter, so I was wearing my best (okay, my only) full-length coat.

Dinner went without a hitch and the bill was uneventfully paid.  When we finally rose from the table I turned to leave, swinging my coat dramatically over my shoulders… and it caught a full pitcher of ice water on a nearby ledge.

I didn’t look back to see whether it had landed on the floor or the neighbouring diners.  Head high, I swept out of the restaurant in my dramatic coat, the clattering of ice cubes and cries of dismay fading behind me.

It was a long time before I felt even remotely comfortable in a nice restaurant.  And I’m still VERY careful when donning my outerwear near other diners.

Anybody else have food-flinging tendencies?  (Remember the snail scene from Pretty Woman?  It runs from 1:50 to 2:35 in the video).