Archive for the '[Etc]' category

Green Shoefari

Nov 14 2017 Published by under Fashion (or not)

One of the more annoying things are Facebook ads. They pop into your feed, often hard to distinguish from other posts. One brand that kept entering my feed was Rothy’s, a line of shoes.

These are flats made of elastic yarn derived from recycled plastic bottles. They come in a rounded or pointed toe in a variety of colors and patterns. I bought my first pair just before Kidney Week in New Orleans. I wore them twice the week before I left town to make sure they didn’t eat my feet. They then toured several airports and walked a lot of streets and convention center hallways. When I got back home, they smelled a little funky and there was a dark spot on my right toe. I put them in my clothes washer, along with the removable insoles, then let them dry overnight on the counter. They look like new (see the photo after their wash-and-dry).

Yesterday I ordered two more pairs in a fun green and blue plaid as well as a practical beige with black toe cap.

These are not the least expensive flats available, but they are environmentally friendly and incredibly comfortable, as well as machine washable! I will have to let you know about their long-term wear and tear later.

Check them out here.

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Facebook Bummer

Apr 22 2017 Published by under [Etc]

The badge on my Facebook app called this morning. Someone had tagged me! But then, the top of my feed provided a Facebook memory from 1 year ago - Jim ringing the bell after completing his initial course of radiation for the glioblastoma multiforme.

That radiation and chemo produced great effects. He was pretty normal over the summer and fall, and we had some great times. Now, of course, that bastard tumor has returned. Chemo and radiation have returned as well.

A year ago, that radiation gave us hope. Today, we must acknowledge that this tumor generally wins the war. Therapy buys us time, and not as much as we would like.

My spouse has insisted that I take my current trip to blog at Experimental Biology. You will see a lot more activity at WhizBang for the next 5 days, and it will be real science blogging.

What a pleasant break from the realities of our life.

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The Problem with Podcasts

Apr 04 2017 Published by under [Etc]

Yesterday I received notice of a podcast. The topic sounded interesting, and they gave a teaser summary that had me considering listening. They even gave a table of contents for it, with the time point where various topics within the recording would be addressed.

The stuff I really wanted to know started 45 minutes into the piece, but I likely needed to listen to the earlier stuff to get the gist. Did I really want to spend an hour of my life taking notes on a podcast?

I don’t think podcasts should be forbidden. I listen to NPR discussions and interviews most of my day, and many podcasts present similar audio adventures. However, I really learn best when I read something, not when I hear it. Listening to Serial as entertainment is fine; if I really want to retain something, I need to read it.

I beg those of you who aim to provide information and skills to the public to remember that not all of us can benefit fully from listening. Please provide a transcript of each and every podcast for those of us who want or need it. That includes those of us who learn better with the written word, as well as the hearing impaired.

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What I'm Watching: Heptapods on Earth

Feb 27 2017 Published by under What I'm Watching

Over the weekend, we watched Arrival, an Oscar-nominated film. The movie was beautiful and made me think, but perhaps not in the way intended.


These aliens show up in 12 locations on earth. Ultimately we find out that they have arrived to teach us their language. As humans learn their articulation, our brains change so that we can appreciate time in a non-linear fashion, the way these heptapods do. Turns out, the aliens have arrived to give us their language because they will need humanity's help in 3000 years. We need to be prepared.

As the linguistics professor, Louise Banks, learns to speak with the aliens, she begins to experience things from her future life, including the birth and death of a child. Her relationship with the child's father deteriorates when she reveals that their daughter will die of cancer, and he leaves. Even knowing that all of this is ahead, she chooses to live this life.

But why?

Clearly non-linear time perception allows the heptapods to go to a timepoint and give us humans the tools to make us useful 3000 years from now. So nonlinear time perception allows at least some interference in outcomes, otherwise they wouldn't bother. Are there rules for such things? Or are all the outcomes written and it doesn't matter what we do?

So why doesn't Dr. Banks try to change some outcomes? Not the big stuff - having the child - but telling the father that his daughter will get cancer and die in a few years when she knows what that will trigger? Perhaps she could visit a time in the future when her daughter's disease could be cured? They make clear in the movie that at least a couple of people are running about through time, telling each other critical things.

Of course, I then had to ask myself if I would change my life, even the bad stuff. There are many things that I could have lived without, but what would I have done differently? I don't have to know, because, for me, time is strictly linear.

At the end of the movie, that's the biggest problem: it's very difficult to imagine time as anything but a linear construct of past - now - future. And that's OK, until the heptapods land for real.

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Review: @IconUndies the Pee-Proof Underwear

Jan 18 2017 Published by under Fashion (or not), General Health

I'm a woman "of a certain age" to put it delicately. I have birthed some babies, including my 9 1/2 lb son.

Even with lots of Kegel exercises, a full bladder and a sneeze can leave me with wet panties. And not in a good way.

Pantiliners for such events are fine, but not ideal. They get pretty pricey over time. When I saw an ad for Icon Pee-Proof Underwear, I decided to give them a go (pun not intended, but it works).  The crotch of each pair has a special interior lining that can hold several teaspoons of urine without odor or leakage. They can be machine washed and dried without any problems.

After several wearings, I can report that these undies work as promised. I wear the bikini cut (see photo at right), and I tried one thong. They also come in a hip hugger and high-waist version. Colors are limited to black and beige in my size and styles, but what else do we really need? They do seem to stretch out a bit as washed, so you may need to go down a size.

This company also makes Thinx, the period-proof underwear. I don't need those (the certain age thing again), but I bet they work. The site is full of urine puns and "whizdom." And all their products help support the Fistula Foundation, providing surgical repair of obstetrical fistulas. A fistula is a connection between stuctures, in this case the things that empty out down there. Women in countries without modern obstetrical care often suffer genitourinary damage leading to urinary or fecal incontinence afterwards. Fistulas make my teensy bit of urinary leakage seem like such a first world problem...

I still have some other undies at this point, but they will be replaced by IconUndies as they age and go to panty-heaven. It's fun to be pad-free!

6 responses so far

Next Episode: The Flab Awakens

Jan 03 2017 Published by under Reinvention Diaries

I know that the start of a new year is an artificial milestone for the convenience of we humans.  Still, that fresh year brings out a desire for a new beginning, a new commitment to be our best.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I went to the gym. To say I fell off the healthy living wagon in 2016 would be an understatement. That wagon left me sitting in the road, drinking wine and eating  chocolate truffles. The weight on the scales did not suffer much, but my endurance and flexibility certainly nosedived off a cliff.

I am going to try and get back on track.

For January, my goal will be increased physical activity. I had been doing really well with 10,000 steps per day for a long time, but not so much recently. In December, with some attention and effort, I averaged 7,200 steps each day. My goal for January is to get that back up to 10k. Yesterday, I walked 11,081.

I will check in here periodically with my progress. I need someone to keep me accountable, and it will get me blogging again.

Oh, by the way - Happy New Year!

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Bitch and Proud of It

Sep 16 2016 Published by under Random Thoughts

In 2009 I wrote the following for another blog, and I have reposted it several times as it remains relevant to this day. A kerfluffle erupted this week about the word bitch, thanks to the New York Times.  There are those who clutch their pearls when this word is uttered, but many of us now consider it a badge of honor. I have obviously been on that bandwagon for some time.

Now for my bit of history:

Once upon a time, there was a woman who felt that her gender should not be an issue in her career. She wanted to be treated as an equal, she acted like she was equal, and the men called her a bitch.

Bitch -noun

1. a female dog.
2. a female of canines generally.
3. Slang.

a. a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, esp. a woman


b. a lewd woman.
4. Slang.

a. a complaint.


b. anything difficult or unpleasant: The test was a bitch.


c. anything memorable, esp. something exceptionally good: That last big party he threw was a real bitch
Why does this 5 letter word have such power over women? We are raised to be “nice.” Malicious, unpleasant, and selfish are the opposite of this goal; however, this means that demanding equality may appear bitchy! At so many gatherings I have heard women ask how they can get their needs met without being called a bitch (generally these women spell the word rather than say it). The short answer? You cannot! Anytime you assert your needs and put yourself ahead of someone else, others may call you a “female dog.”
When my daughter was starting middle school, I explained the world to her in my own warped way. I give my students the same advice. If you have a voice that gets heard in the world, someone will call you a bitch. If you perform acts of kindness and charity, someone will say that the bitch is showing off! If you show more spine than a jelly fish, someone eventually will brand you a bitch. Accept it. If someone calls you a bitch, you are probably doing something right.
About a year later a classmate turned to her and called her a bitch. She thanked him for noticing, and then related how she had not reached her mother’s level of “bitchdom” yet. He said nothing more, and did not try to insult her the rest of the year. She came home from school empowered rather than insulted.
Now, this advice does not mean you should be a bitch. Do not be mean or evil, and never treat those lower than you on the ladder of life with contempt. Always have a sounding board of friends who can help you determine the line between reasonable and bitchy. Sometimes you will cross the line, but, with their help, you will recognize this behavior and apologize for it. If you find yourself crossing the line too often, you may need to reexamine your attitudes and behavior. Do not be afraid to do this and make necessary adjustments. It is called “growth.”
Someday I hope we get beyond the name-calling, but until then take pride in some bitchiness. It may just mean you are acting like a human being instead of an invertebrate. It may just mean you are living your life.
Of course, I am not alone in claiming bitch as a term of honor. May I present Amy and Tina:

Bitch is the new black.

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Major Milestone

Jul 14 2016 Published by under etc

On January 19, 2016, I got a call that my spouse was not doing well at work. Within 48 hours his head was cracked open, and we began a roller coaster of cancer and complications.

Today, almost 6 months later, he officially is back in his office for the first time. He is trying to do administrative work only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He has to deal with some changes in the way his brain works (they did remove a major chunk of his left frontal cortex). Until he starts interacting at a higher level, he won't be able to figure out how to compensate for those missing neurons.

There were many days this year that I wondered if his return to work would be feasible, ever, at any level. Today is a great day indeed!

8 responses so far

A Fine Line

Jul 07 2016 Published by under Random Thoughts

Yesterday I wore a statement necklace to work. This piece composed of faux turquoise and coral added just the right pop to my plain black dress. As the day went on, I wondered where the line fell between what I wore, which was clearly influenced by Native American culture, and cultural appropriation.

Every creative type has inspiration boards with images influencing their current trends. Sometimes these pictures come from nature, but other times they are human creations. The artwork of every culture seems to have had its moment in high fashion.  When I sort my scarves and jewelry, I can see bits and bobs that would fit right into National Geographic.

Of course, I usually limit myself to a single “ethnic” piece. Looking like an extra on a movie lot would generally be in bad taste. But the line falls well before full buckskin, war paint, and feathered headdresses. It’s just hard to know exactly where before you screw up.

If you think my wardrobe item has crossed the line, please let me know why. We need to discuss this stuff in real life, not just ridicule off-duty models and actresses who make their mistakes on a big stage. 

2 responses so far

Fun Time for #ManiMonday

May 23 2016 Published by under Beauty

My sapphire blue tweexy

My sapphire blue tweexy

This weekend I tried out my new tweexy, a manicure aid. This silicon device holds your nail polish bottle on your hand while you paint its nails.

The device worked as advertised. My only issue involved lighting. I sat on a sofa with a nearby table lamp, and the nails on my left hand got shadowed by the tweexy. Having a more flexible light source would help the situation.

I used my tweexy to apply Afternoon Delight, a subtle lavender from Deborah Lippman Gel Lab Pro Polish. This base, polish, and top coat set provides a long-lasting manicure, even for someone who is hard on their nails. I typically get 5 days of wear with this system (vs 2-3 with regular stuff).

Afternoon Delight by Deborah Lippman

Afternoon Delight by Deborah Lippman

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