Saturday, February 28, 2015

Afraid of Polyester? You Bet!

Polyester Scares Me
Old age scares me. I’m old, but not that old . . . yet. However, the usual old-age stuff—isolation, my kids getting back at me for all those times I . . . (never mind), being feeble, no driving, smelling like old people—doesn’t scare me as much as some things.
Polyester scares me. Not now, it doesn’t scare me, but like I said, I’m not that old . . . yet. At my current age, I can spot polyester on clothing and bedding tags and avoid it. I have been hoodwinked a few times and purchased what I thought was the smooth, non-irritating texture of cotton. Moments after I place such garments on my body, the itch and sweat dance begins. My body rebels at polyester. My surface cells squirm and twitch when it touches my bare skin—even when it’s only 10 percent or 20 percent or 30 percent. “Quick! Quick! Quick! Get it off!” my epidermis demands. I remove the offending garment and don 100 percent cotton. My skin relaxes, the twitch stops, the itch is gone, the sweat dries.
I’ve been fooled into thinking something is cotton, so I am afraid that when I’m feeble and cannot communicate, some well-meaning person might also think a garment is cotton and put it on me. I will twitch, itch, and squirm, and won’t be able to let someone know what’s wrong. I’ll then sweat until the garment is sopped or I’ll have to drench myself in spit-up or drool until they are forced into changing me. If the replacement garment also is polyester, they might smear some antiperspirant on me (another thing I can’t stand) or even add a bib in an effort to keep me from fouling yet another outfit.
People need living wills and other documents so loved ones (and the legal system) know what they want when they’re no longer able to communicate. I think a personal preference document also is a good idea. The first item on mine will be: “No polyester, under any circumstances. Read all clothing and bedding labels and avoid polyester at all costs.” The next item will be: “No antiperspirants.” An additional note will follow: “If antiperspirants seem necessary, please re-check clothing content and discard all garments with even the smallest percentage of polyester.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

Break Out of Your "Chrysalis" and Take Flight

Leave Your Empty,
No-Longer Useful Chrysalis
I studied the jeweled chrysalis, checking daily for changes in color, transparency. I missed the moments when the monarch broke through, but early yesterday, I spied the monarch flexing its wings. “Welcome to the world magnificent monarch! I see you spreading, plumping, your wings in preparation to soar into a world of flower nectar and delight.”
Now only a remnant of the monarch’s transformation phase, the chrysalis hangs broken and empty, like a discarded plastic bag, necessary at one time, but no longer needed.
What must you leave behind (empty, no-longer-useful chrysalis) to spread your wings and fly?
How will you spread your wings? Where can you find and taste life’s nectar?
Spreading your wings, taking flight can be done in many ways:

·      Heal a relationship.
·      Create something.
·      Spend time in the natural world.
·      Play in the dirt; play in the surf.
·      Practice faith.
·      Explore different cultures.
·      Walk, drive, ride . . . with no destination.
·      Read a book.
·      Write a book.
·      Eat a guanabana, dragon fruit, or escargot.
·      Speak up.
·      Listen.
·      Say I love you.

I find inspiration and ways to discard my chrysalis in many places: nature, books, conversation, contemplation. Several sources of inspiration come to me daily via e-mail in the form of blogs and newsletters. Some of my favorites are:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Zen Is for Men

Zen Is for Men
 I’m reading Leo Babauta’s book, The Do Guide, How to Master Effectiveness and Overcome Procrastination, which is about being effective in the moment and, of course, mindfulness is a part of it. I read today’s pages as my granddaughter played in the living room. I sat in a chair near her so I could be available should she need me.
I had trouble focusing on Leo’s words: “It doesn’t matter what the doing is: sitting, walking, writing, reading, eating, washing, talking, snuggling, playing. By focusing on the doing, we drop our worries and anxieties, jealousies and anger, grieving and distraction.”
Of course I had trouble, because I wasn’t focusing; I couldn’t focus. Distraction was the order of the day. Emma was playing on the floor, the washing machine was chugging clean a load of clothes, the dryer was twirling another load dry, lunchtime was approaching, and the dogs kept sniffing around to see if Emma had any food scraps they could steal.
“Ah, ha!” I thought. “These are the thousand things that pull me away from focus, just as they did when my own children were young. Zen is not for moms. Zen must be for men.” Memories of those days edged to the surface of my consciousness. “Wash the dish,” yes, but meanwhile, the thousand things went on then, as they do now. I don’t mean to be an anti-zen feminist, but it’s hard to focus when children are around. It’s hard to be in the moment unless you’re down on the floor with them playing. And even then, the clock reminds us that lunch must be prepared, food cleaned up, dishes washed, naps taken, laundry moved from dryer, folded, put away, laundry moved from washer to dryer, repeat, repeat, repeat. I don’t have the stats on how many books on zen are written by men, but I’m betting most of them are. Most women, and especially if those women are mothers, simply don’t have the time—or the focus.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Nationwide's Most Vile Personal Foul

Personal Foul—Making the Call
Against Nationwide

Personal Foul, Nationwide (Indefensible),
Penalty: Loss of Millions of Policies,
Automatic Ejection From the Insurance Game

We wore our protective gear because we almost always do. It’s part of recovering from the nasty pass life dealt us. We are the parents of dead children and we watched the Super Bowl last night. A championship game on TV should have been safe, but it wasn’t. Early in the game, we received a blow most foul when Nationwide aired their dead-child ad. Nationwide: You face-masked us in the worst possible way. You pulled our helmets off, stripping us bare, and then slapped us in the face.
Yes, accidents happen. We know that better than most. We certainly know it better than whomever your ad agency is. (By the way, fire them.) Bereaved parents of children who died as a result of accidents live with the results of such accidents every day. (My child did not die from an accident, unless one could call brain cancer an accident of nature.) You don’t need to remind us about accidents that claim the lives of children. You especially do not need to remind us on a Sunday evening when all we want to do is cheer on our favorite team.
Perhaps the American insurance-buying public will be the commissioner who sets some new rules and not only shuns you, but bans you. Nationwide, you had an opportunity to make amends for your foul. You didn’t and, instead, in the most blatant show of unsportsmanlike conduct, stood by your ad because accidents do happen.
I doubt it will be an accident when your shares drop and the number of policies you score falls to an abysmal level.
Shame on you, Nationwide. You’re definitely not on our side.

Thank you to Melissa Lima Panagos and my grandson, Mathew Wiley, for their assistance in football terminology.