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.


  1. Parte the Firste: BWAAAHAHAHA you crack me up.

    Parte the Seconde: That's a really good idea, and I will certainly try it if I ever go near my sewing machine again. I think it's possessed, I really do. Probably by the ghost of someone I was mean to in junior high school.

  2. Anonymous2:53 PM

    How will making that thing - which I can't do by the way and one hand is till glued to my armpit and the fabric si stapled to my left leg,- combat the menopause? Or did I miss the point somewhere? Its hard to read with one eye glued up and ricked back -its not fair is it?

  3. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Thank you. That was most informative.
    At least, I guess it was, I skipped most of it.
    Anything about sports that I missed?

  4. I am so glad to have company in the Menapause Jamboree! Actually right now I am still "Perimenopausal" which is the cramp, airless, pissy waiting room to Menopause. I feel like a freaking lunatic for three days a month now -- FUN. Like I shouldn't already be monitored for the crazies.

    I got lost with the glue-thing -- mostly becasue "Iron" was in an early sentence and my brain automatically shuts off when ironing is mentioned.

  5. alala: ill bet you dollars to donuts that you've got it threaded wonky-top or bobbin, or both. you can go online and read manuals for just about any sewing machine made...thats how i figured out i was threading MINE wonky, anyway!
    mutley: i think it's best you avoid adhesives for now. once the feral bride and her dog-human offspring have vacated their lair inside the moslem wing of the bus depot, go in immediately. look for the glowing words on the wall which say 'men'. enter the silent doorway. take the mystic blue pill in the wall-mount waterfountain and these problems will all fade away.
    vicus: tons and TONS of things about sports. things you missed. good, interesting sports things. so ha.
    *snif* no sports.
    mutha: it's like chinese water torture, isnt it? adolescence didn't take this damn long. whats the dealio? *furiously backreading*

  6. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Hot damn,girl! Is there anything you don't know or can't do?
    Right with you on the ghastly hormonal heatwaves (except I've refused hrt and just slug it out with global warming;being in the tropics is awkward!)
    And you know what your fabric tip is? You've just re-invented "polished cotton" which was the Big Thing of the 50s.poor man's chintz, I think we called it.
    All this practical advice nicely packaged with wit and humour.Now see, you are a good argument for cloning.Thanks .

  7. Anonymous5:04 PM

    happy new year FN.
    That was a great post. I hear ya sista'.

    I'm with mutha on the rest of soon as I saw something to do with ironing I skipped to the end. I'd rather clean toilets than do ironing but I gather I missed something good so I'll go back :-)

  8. I'm going to spend the weekend injecting my curtains with collagen. Thank you.

  9. Anonymous11:42 PM

    My mom has a saying, and she usually shouts it from the rooftops when she has a hotflash...

    "It's HOT up in this HOLE!!"

    That's my cue to turn on the AC no matter that the temp is outside.

    I do so gladly.

  10. Anonymous2:12 AM

    Fantastic post , after reading this I feel like a new woman :-)

  11. Anonymous2:18 AM

    Thats me done getting in touch with my feminine side , or embracin me inner goddess or whatever for another year , I now have to go and soak my underpants off in the bath.and the iron is stuck to me hand and the dind't mention that bit in your post

  12. Anonymous3:57 AM

    surely your far too young for the menopause - I am dreading the male menopause which is much worse than the womans and involves buying sports cars, wearing tight jeans and unbuttoning your shirt to reveal chest hair *shivers*

  13. They're called hot 'flushes' here on the other side of the Atlantic.

    I love ovulating. I feel on top of the world for days.

  14. Anonymous6:09 AM

    Fascinating stuff FN. I'm talking about the menopause here - all good background knowledge to help understand what's happening to my mrs. But that fabric thing, sorry, no can do. I fucking hate fabric and stuff like that, sorry.

  15. Right's always worse for men.

  16. Anonymous8:55 AM

    apparently, i'm an old hippie too, and i'm only 26! cause i totally hate that time of the month. and i work with a woman who is going through menopause and has had a hysterectomy. talk about painful experiences!

    what's a sewing machine? oh, you mean the people who actually make the clothes i wear. duh!

  17. Are you CRAZY? Isn't that another way of inhaling glue without anyone noticing?

    Re: menopause - not looking forward to it

    re: ovulation - I get those pains too - it's a bit disconcerting sometimes

    Love and big hugs from Romo Towers xx
    PS: my word verif is mrsgep - mrs glue eating person - spooky eh? Or I guess it could be Mr Spouse of Glue Eating Person. Jesus - maybe I'm pre-menopausal I'm patently going mad....

  18. We've always felt that you give the term "hot flash" a new definition.

  19. I'm pretty terrified of the menopause actually. Don't want to go down the HRT route because I've already got the odds stacked against me with the cancer in my family. Isn't there just some sort of self-vacuuming kit where you can hoover out all your eggs and have done with it? If so, I'll get one now because I don't like being pre-menopausal either, thank you very much.

  20. dinamow: the world is not ready nor will it ever be, for more than one of my red ass.-i remember my grandmother had a special shiny iron for polishing cotton! you had to starch the pee out of the fabric and then slick it in over and over with the smoothing iron. everyone had a secret recipe for the starch, too. gaaah.
    KYAH!! dang, how is you? hope all you-uns had a great holiday! i willl be visiting shortly, my darling..
    ara: i don't know if that's how it works. your curtains could end up with trout pout.
    awaiting:...because when mom is happy, everyone is happy. when mom is not happy....
    beast: why are you sewing your own underpants? i thought your mother bought those for you. got tired of spiderman and bob the builder, didnt you.
    frobi: keep chucking the Special Cocktails down your neck and you'll miss the whoooooooole thing. actually, pour me one.
    spin: hopefully this is the harbinger of better things for you come your forties. count your blessings!
    tom: i notice you wearing a shirt in your avatar photo.....
    mutha: now be nice. he's more man than we'll ever be and more woman than we'll ever get. or something like that. anyway he is my rattatouille.
    pink: oh lord, that happened to my mother. you have my full sympathy, my darling! (always carry a sharpened stake and a crucifix.)
    rocky: i do not inhale glue and i do not eat glue. i IRON glue. of course i cannot speak for my husband.
    champ: thats why they won't let me back in Macy's. I love those huge display windows. and if people choose to applaud is that my fault?
    thanks for the perntz! muchas smoochas! *picks hair out of teeth*
    betty: you know, you could get lucky too. and there's always tequila. have some today! *hugs*

  21. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Having had a partial-hyster 2 1/2 years ago, I've never once missed the menses. No mam. Ovulation still occurs, but mostly not noticeably. I do lay in slight fear of the hot flashes, oh yes I do. You poor thing, my sisters went through that too - sucks.

    Ironing, glimpse, glimpse, glimpse, glue, rayon, oy I had to just skip on in to comment but my mom is a world class ironer, so maybe I'll share with her.

  22. PMS is a pain when it's like that I feel like tearing everything apart.
    I thought you could fry with olive oil at least it said so on a program.Maybe they lied.