Saturday, January 06, 2007

girly stuff

This is going to be a terribly femme post so if graphic depictions of ironing and aging skin offend you then go suck a rock.
Thank you.

Tell you what, I think I have this menopause situation dicked.

You always hear the phrase 'hot flash' and it's treated as something that's not to be taken seriously, probably 'just mental', akin to 'vapours'...Something mildly annoying that you should just get over and quit bitching about.
Hot flashes are almost frightening. You are walking along humming a little tune, and suddenly-and I mean SUDDENLY- your body temperature soars. It's like suddenly landing in front of a huge bonfire; that's exactly what it feels like. Your face and body turn red. And worst of all, you bust out in a torrent of funky, greasy sweat. I am not kidding and I am not exaggerating. What I was doing was changing sweat-soaked clothes about six times a day. People make light of it, but it's no joke. There's other symptoms too, like cramping, lower back pain, joint aches, vision difficulties...No, it's no joke at all.

Now, menopause isn't like this for everyone ( curse you, you bitches) but this is pretty typical middle-of-the-road menopause I'm describing here.

Needless to say, then I went on hormone replacement therapy for a couple of years.
My version of hrt was the mini-birth control pill, which took care of things nicely. It really worked well. It was a low dosage as you can get and I wasn't risking having aliens burst out of my chest the way the 'hrt in a drum' stuff does ya either. But after a couple of years or so of that, I figured enough was enough. The more you take that shit the worse it is for you, what with increased risks of cancer and heart disease.
And now I'm free, and it's pretty good!
I have a libido again. At least the one I'm used to having and not one regulated by where I was on the little pill punchcard.
Menopause symptoms are nearly unnoticeable...Sometimes I get a little warmish for no reason, but it's not like standing in the middle of a napalm bombardment anymore. The intervening hrt carried me through the worst of it, it seems!
Menstruation and related phenomena are almost a distant memory. I can't speak for women who have battled with 'female troubles' but I can say that I am happy to no longer be ovulating like a goddam artillery barrage. Ovulation hurts! Not for everyone, and not even for me all the time, but often enough. It would feel like someone snapped me hard with a rubber band, hard enough and sudden enough to make me 'Yowp!' out loud, which is not always appropriate.
The only bad side effect.....My skin has aged suddenly. Whammo- I'm middle-aged looking.

Now this fucked with me. I have always had great skin. Great tone, invisible pores, minimal blemishes (I know you hate me. Suffer.) Now I look like I'm in my forties. Which I am; I mean, I didn't wake up one day and see a ninety year old woman staring back at me in the mirror, but when it happens all of a sudden, like over a couple months' time, it's alarming. Things went to hell quick. I don't spend a lot of time in the mirror either so when I happen to catch a glimpse it's downright dismaying.
Yeah, pure vanity. I know. Thank God I was adopted so I won't look into the mirror and see myself turning into my mother the way some people do; lordy. The suckage factor on that would be way, way up in the 'Twilight Zone' range.

I've never been one of these dizzy 'new feminists' who wafted around glorifying their menses; 'It's a gift of the mooooon!' God, please. I am a practical hippie old feminist who thought the whole situation was a nuisance and a mess and is REALLY GLAD it's over.
Now for the housewifey portion of our show.


I invented a cheap, low-tech way to manipulate slumpy fabrics! No more special needles and presser feet and tissue! No more stringy mesh! No more crappy cans of spray starch!

THE SECRET: ELMERS CARPENTERS' GLUE. (regular Elmers would work fine too.)

-colorfast slumpy fabric, like anything with a rayon content, or a loose weave. Linens, rayons, poly mixes, even crap-grade silk. I've never tried fine silk but I suspect it would be more trouble than it's worth.
-an electrical fan. You know, the whirly twirly type of old school fan, like before they had air conditioning? Yeah.
-an iron
-a spray bottle
-ironing surface
-about two or three towels laid on top of one another to iron on top of, and to catch the overspray.
-saturated cloth rag folded flat on a plate, for running iron across

Mix the carpenters wood glue with water. You want something that looks and sloshes exactly like 1% milk; so, 1 tsp glue to one cup water, give or take. Shake well and fill sprayer bottle. Make a lot.

On the towels, iron your fabric to get out any wrinkles. Dull (work) side up.

Spray the fabric down evenly and entirely with the glue solution until the fabric begins to darken. You want it saturated but not dripping wet.

Set the fan at the head of the surface, facing somewhat down, and turn on to med. speed.

Leave this going for about a half an hour.

Come back, turn the fan off and turn the iron on to 'cotton' (or whatever temp you're comfortable ironing at, really.)

Start by lightly ironing the still-damp cloth with the grain, first warp then weft. The fabric is still dampish so there will be a bit of hissing and some steam...don't press down hard at first. Repeat, gradually increasing pressure each time until the surface feels dry and smooth. Wipe off the iron on a damp cloth as you go to remove any buildup of glue, then swipe it across the towels to dry it off before you return to your fabric to avoid any scorch marks.

If the fabric adheres to the toweling at all it will be very slight, and easily removed. Put fabric aside to finish setting. Lay out flat. (The other side might still be a little dampish.)
At this point you can put a finish on the other side of your fabric too by burnishing it, or leave it matte. I only burnish the work side and leave the bright side matte. It probably doesn't matter.

....And that's it. Wood glue has lots of collagen in it. Collagen is a fiber, and dries into a fibrous matrix ( unlike starch which is a crystal and dries in rigid planes which shatter.) Burnishing it smoothes the top layer of those fibers down across each other. The whole effect is almost like a second layer of cloth, remaining flexible yet lessening the bias movement. (Ever used that temporary iron-on stabilizer mesh? It's a bitch, isnt it? NO MORE!) You can cut the fabric and sew it, pin it, re-iron it, and not worry about distortion or fraying. Just keep it dry. Dampening it will make it slightly adhesive again, and you can actually use that to your advantage if you're, say, trying to keep a sew-thru pattern paper in place while you machine sew it. Anyway, when your item is finished, just wash it and the glue comes right out. Voila! Your fabric is all sexy and slumpy again! It is MAGIC.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

if its the new year why does everything look the same as it did last year?

We are presently enjoying the practice of wanton, crass consumerism..The green wealth which drips from the purple flews of corporate aluminum has changed our lives in important ways...
1. we can afford to drive
2. we can afford to buy NEW books
3. we can afford to eat food that OTHER PEOPLE HAVE COOKED.
and we have been doing all three. Yes we have.
Sometimes, it's good to be a citizen in a First World country.
I am still wrestling with the fact that my husband works in the bowels of The Death Star, though. Of course he isn't going to be making this kind of ridiculous money or getting this mountain of benefits for weaving straw hats on the beach either. But I wish he was. He looks cute in shorts. Back off.
All they have him doing so far is wandering around the entire plant working in various different details, all the while wearing an astronaut costume. Sometimes he's pushing a broom, sometimes he's welding, sometimes he's operating a crane. And sometimes he's on the 'live potential' section and eighty billion gazillion megavolts of electricity are shooting through him... one misstep and he's barbecue, and I'm a widow. Don't even get me started on the ore potline or the extruder or the overhead molten transport.
Think about this the next time you crack a can of pop.
The only job out there that I'd want out there is called 'burping the pots'. The 'live' pots are covered with a mixture of crud which floats on top of the molten aluminum and keeps the fumes from making everyone for ten miles around into an instant Altzheimer statistic. To keep the pot from developing too much gas pressure and blurping over like that lake in Africa, occasionally someone has to go around with a green alder pole and bop little holes in the surface of the crud.
I would so do that. And make union scale for it? Oh my goodness yes. Dicking with fire is what I'm all about. I am one of those people you go camping with who volunteers to mind the fire and stays up all night melting beer cups and making pitch bombs and rolling the logs around so sparks fountain up and catch the lower limbs of the trees on fire and melt little holes in your tent. One Fourth of July out at Cherry Point I was told quite sternly to go to bed after I got busted lurking around different campsites scavenging fireworks. Yes I was 35.