Archive | September, 2014

What Happened to the Red Sweater?

28 Sep

red sweaterMy husband, Willy just read my Toilet Paper and the Empire State Building blog entry & sent a comment back to me via Word Press. Out of all that stuff I said in the entry, the one thing he said that stood out in his mind was what was I wearing underneath the cardigan sweater that got ripped off my shoulders & flung across the city of New York when I stepped off the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building so many years ago?

(Men … go figure). In his quest for the answer to that burning question he hit upon my fondness for my holey (holy) KISS t-shirt, although I’m still trying to understand his connection between the two. He noted how all the holes leave little to the imagination regarding what I’m wearing underneath when I’m wearing it (not at all like the flying red cardigan from NYC.)

That KISS t-shirt is important to me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s very comfortable & it’s cool that it still fits. It also is considered “vintage” by now (or is it an antique?) because it’s over 25 years old. And who could not enjoy the memory of KISS in the early years? But the reason I am so truly attached to that old shirt is because we had a cat in those days that was very special to me. She was a Tuxedo Cat with one blue eye & one green eye. That, & her personality made her unique in the universe & I loved her as only an ailurophile can love a special cat.

From the time Molly was a kitten & came home with me from a trip I made to the animal shelter, she would let me hold her like one might hold a baby on your shoulder. She would purr & nuzzle her head under my chin … UNTIL she decided she’d had enough. Then she would unexpectedly & rapidly climb my chest & do a power take-off from my shoulder, launching herself at a nearby chair or the floor, whichever came first. In true cat fashion, she always ended up on her feet.

Molly lived to be 14 years old & today I still own a number of what I classify as “Molly Clothes.” They all have holes in the front & there are several terrycloth robes that have monster picks & pulls from her power take-offs. That wonderful old KISS t-shirt is among them. Because I loved Molly so, wearing that shirt (& the robes) reminds me of her & the special relationship I had with her, the bond we shared & those often painful power take-offs that propelled her into the air. They were much the same as that wind atop the Empire State Building that propelled my red cardigan sweater to God only knows where.

Willy did briefly wonder where the flying red cardigan sweater landed after it so unexpectedly took flight that April afternoon from 1,454 feet atop NYC’s once tallest building. And that made me wonder, too.

I was wearing a sleeveless dress under the flying cardigan all those years ago & I DO hope it ended up on a homeless person who needed it (the sweater … not my dress). Since it was launched from that height & swished along by the force of the wind, it could possibly still be in flight or maybe be adorning a large bird as its unfortunate fate propels it towards an unsuspecting plane propeller (I hope not).  Maybe it was mistaken for a red UFO, which would be a wonderful story line for a bad science fiction novel, or at the very least, a short story or graphic novel. If nothing else, it could be in New Jersey by now.

I missed that red cardigan after it was gone, but not as much as Willy is going to miss those toilet paper tubes when he builds fires in the wood stove this winter …



Toilet Paper and the Empire State Building

24 Sep

I’m a huge advocate of conservation; meaning the environment & its resources should be used & managed in a responsible manner with a focus on replacing & replenishing, but I’m also an advocate for preservation; that our land & resources should be maintained & enjoyed. I guess I’m really more of a conservationist.

Whatever I am, my ears perked up recently when I saw a Scott Bathroom Tissue commercial on TV about toilet paper rolls.

Being fond of trees (I won’t let my husband cut down a diseased one in our woods as long as there’s one living leaf left or unless it’s threatening our house & then only reluctantly), I’ve always tried to find second or even third uses for paper products. I have been known to use my only vaguely soiled breakfast napkin for lunch, but that’s not common knowledge.

So when the Scott commercial came on, I watched & listened as empty toilet paper rolls around the world leapt from toilet paper holders, raced to freedom down the staircase, joined others in the streets & in the wild heading for the Empire State Building.  My attention was so “caught” that I couldn’t have pried myself away from the television had a full camera crew been at the front door with a monster-sized check telling me I’d won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.

It seems that we, the collective “we” who use toilet paper (& I really don’t want to think much about those who don’t – that’s another blog entry altogether), toss out annually enough empty toilet paper rolls to fill the Empire State Building not once, but twice. That’s staggering!

I would like to say that I’ve been doing my part & perhaps have helped reduce the number of toilet paper rolls by a small percentage that are advancing on one of New York City’s greatest tourist attractions. I’ve used those empty tubes after the holidays to store long Christmas decorations & once I went on a Mod Podge extravaganza with fabric, a knife & that famous glue & made everybody I knew napkin rings out of empty toilet paper tubes …AND I made them a matching fabric apron as holiday gifts. The only reason I finally stopped is that there wasn’t anyone left who didn’t have a set (& loved them, I might add).

My most recent attempts at toilet paper tube conversation have been saving them for my husband … bags full of them. He, in turn, uses them as fire starters in the winter when he builds a cozy fire in our family room wood stove. They ignite quickly & the hollow part allows free oxygen flow. Add several dry logs & there you go … instant fire. It’s a miracle!!!!

Even considering the miraculous, I decided to try the new tubeless Scott Toilet Paper; it’s called Scott Naturals. Unfortunately, it only comes in one ply … or maybe there’s two ply & I just missed it. I don’t generally like one ply but this is sturdy, so I can deal. And it does have a kind of striped design with embossed flowers that’s attractive to look at if you forget to take a magazine with you.

I remember my senior high school trip to New York City. We were Amherst County country kids who gawked at the greenness of the Statue of Liberty, got lost on a subway, ate at Mamma Leones, had terrible luck flagging down cabs, loved the Rockettes & were mesmerized & awe struck at the top of the Empire State Building. I wore a cardigan sweater around my shoulders & when I stepped off the elevator onto the top of that amazing building, the force of the wind whipped it off & we watched, helplessly, as it drifted over the stunning cityscape. Those memories are just as vivid today as if I’d made them only last week.

After we finished the first package of Scott Naturals I went out & bought another because it’s really not so bad. I like doing something good for the environment but mostly I like preserving the memories of high school seniors yet to come by making their trip to the top of the Empire State Building a memorable one without having to share space with empty toilet paper rolls or having to kick them out of the way on the that long elevator ride to the observatory at the top.


The Power of UN

10 Sep

Way back in December of 2008 a friend invited me to join Facebook. I really had no interest in social media & I’d just begun chemotherapy for breast cancer in November. Not only did I lack interest; I lacked time. But my friend had just published a Facebook album of photos of her son; a child my husband & I had watched grow up since he was eight & she really wanted me to see her pictures.

Back then you had to have an account to see someone’s Facebook pictures. These days things are very different. Someone can send you the link to a Facebook album, you can click the link & see every picture in the album all day long without so much as a tweak to a Timeline or an adjustment to an “About” section… no Facebook account necessary.  In comparison to then, THESE are the “good old days.”

So at my friend’s urging I opened a Facebook account.

Opening that account was sort of like “Alice Down the Rabbit Hole.” I was suddenly propelled into the world of UN.  Like Alice & her side trips to visit the Cheshire Cat & a rollicking day of Flamingo Croquet with the Queen of Hearts, I had to work my way through Farmville, Yoville, Whoville, Whatville & Candy Crush in order to make my way to the Land of UN & to find out what it was.

I know a lot of people & soon had a lot of Facebook FRIENDS. I also had this problem; I didn’t want to offend anyone so for a while I was accepting every FRIEND request that came my way, whether I knew the “request sender” or not.  And the surprise was that almost every one of them played games like Farmville, Yoville, Candy Crush & all those other ‘villes & Slingo Lingos.

I didn’t have time to get involved in games & before I knew it I was getting several…& several more game app invitations every day. After a year or so it was UNbelievably annoying.

Finally a Facebook-savvy friend told me to BLOCK the invitations. She was such a good friend that she told me exactly how to do that. As of today, I have 139 game apps blocked & life on Facebook is simpler.

Every time I blocked a game it would be added to the growing list of blocked game apps & beside each one was the word Unblock.  Instead of deleting them, I left it that way in case I ever find time to take an agricultural sabbatical into the world of Yo & Farm. People really seem to enjoy them & it’s possible that I might, too, one day.

Shortly after acquainting myself with Unblock, one of my Facebook friends unfortunately died. I didn’t know him well but I found it distrubing to have Facebook suggest I tell him “Happy Birthday” once a year & schedule a gift for him. Worse still was Facebook’s insistence that I POKE him.

That same Facebook-savvy friend told me to simply UNFRIEND him & the notifications would stop. Over the past 6 years on Facebook several more FRIENDS have died & to this day I can’t bring myself to UNFRIEND them, even though I doubt that any of them would be offended.

But that’s how I took another side trip in the land of UN.

Since I’ve become privy to all this Facebook UNiliteracy, I’ve learned to FRIEND only people I personally “face-to-face” know or have had a lengthy positive interaction with through a personal “face-to-face” friend. It’s far more UNconfusing that way.

So I started thinking about all the avenues, hills & valleys in the Land of UN.

For years we’ve known about those mothers who were Unwed, those people who were Unmarried, plants that were left Unwatered & pregnancies that were Unplanned. Forever we’ve known about the zombies who are recurring parts of our culture &, before we even think about it, we know they are the Undead.

So what does this say for our current Facebook-saturated culture?

If our marriage is good & not the least bit rocky will we be considered Undivorced? If a blind date goes awry will we Undate him or her? Will we go to the gym to Unfat ourselves? If we arrive late at work will we tell our boss we Unremembered where we put our car keys? If we can overeat or overdrink & never get sick, are we blissfully enjoying Unvomiting & can someone actually Unlove us? I really need to know.

I actually have 3 Facebook pages now; my personal page, the page I administer for our club & my page as Linda Smith – Author. Currently I can’t make any changes or updates to the Author page because I have Unremembered that password.  It’s all very confusing.

I think I’m probably an OK person. I like people & seldom upset or anger anyone. But recently I had a problem with someone who was a FRIEND on Facebook; an actual “face-to-face” acquaintance, but no one I would call a true friend. Way out there on the outskirts of Facebook in another part of cyberspace bouncing among the “clouds” this person attacked me on regular email. Because I hate confrontations I simply did not reply. It’s not worth the stress or the loss of my time & I was OK with that; tough – I can take it.

But in the middle of a sleepless night I went down to my office & brought my computer to life. I went to that person’s Facebook page & pushed the UNFRIEND button & IT JUST FELT SO GOOD.

Whether I suffer from passive-aggressive behavior or not, or have indulged myself in something resembling adolescent high school behavior & drama (& I’ve given that some thought), the offensive person will probably never realize that I am missing from their FRIENDS list & that’s OK. What’s important is that it gave me a great deal of satisfaction to push that UNFRIEND button & I slept the rest of the night like a newborn baby baboon being rocked in the furry warmth of its adoring mama’s arms. Being a frequent sufferer from insomnia, THAT is the REAL “Power of UN.”

cheshire cat