Thursday, September 12, 2013


I want to write a blog that people look forward to reading, one that gets bookmarked and linked to and shared. I think about something I want to discuss.. Then, instead of writing about it, I play another game of spider solitaire on the computer so that I can think about it some more. How's that working out for me? Not so well.

Bad grammar and incorrect word usage bothers me. I've managed to pass at least some of this on to my children. When we watch TV together, we all shout "ly" at the TV when somebody leaves the -ly off an adverb. Example: Somebody on TV says "Wow, I did bad." "Ly", I'll add. I thought this trait had skipped my daughter (the most normal of my three children), but I recently found out she does it, too. It made me happy.

So today's Grammar Rant is about AUGUR vs. AUGER.

AUGUR, as a verb, means, according to Merriam-Webster, to foretell (or to predict the future) especially from omen. AUGER, on the other hand, is a sharp tool that is used chiefly for making holes. So, when I recently read in a book "This augers well," what the author was trying to say was that it was a good omen for the future. What they in fact said was that it drilled holes well.

This kind of word misuse is just poor editing, in my opinion. It's the kind of error that stands out to me, but might easily be missed.

I also have a collection of typos that made it through spell checks because they actually spell another word. A medical student wrote a report of a patient encounter in which she complained of "irritable bowl syndrome". This still makes me laugh. Then there was the grant proposal they asked me to edit in which the "faculty" had been called "faulty". Just one letter different, but what a difference in meaning!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Old, Fat and Unashamed

I enjoy reading fat-positive blogs, the ones that encourage women like me to accept ourselves and love ourselves the way we are. There are quite a few of them. As far as I can tell, though, they're all written by young women. I couldn't find a blog encouraging old, fat women to accept themselves. If there are any out there, I'd like to know about them. At the moment, though, I believe I'm unique, maybe even a trendsetter.

Because that's what I'm trying to do with this latest incarnation of my blog: learn to accept myself the way I am - old and fat - and not to see either of these qualities as a failing or drawback. I'd like to believe that I can be beautiful and attractive even at this age and size.

A thought on my previous entry (Cosplay): I could dress up as Ursula, the villainess in The Little Mermaid. I read recently that the character was based on Divine, the old drag queen who was in the original version of Hairspray.

Meanwhile, I am trying to move to a new city. I've been trying halfheartedly for over a year, but have been thwarted by the amount of clutter in my house. Last Christmas we rented a storage locker and the kids and I have moved some of the clutter there. A lot of it came from my mother's house, and I'm not ready to part with it.

I decided over the weekend that I've had enough. The house is going to have to go on the market as it is. The realtors who have looked at it haven't been thrilled by it - it's a small, 100+-year-old house that needs a new kitchen. But it's got hardwood floors, central air conditioning, a wide staircase and a good-sized bathroom, and it's in a good neighborhood in the bad city where I live. Also, I want to sell it cheaply, as long as I make more selling it than I paid for it.

How do I get pre-approved for a mortgage when I already have one? I don't plan to hold them both at the same time, but for some reason, the fact that I currently carry a mortgage doesn't make me eligible to get a new one.

Every day I want to do some small thing to make the house ready to sell. Yesterday I lugged the vacuum cleaner into the cellar and vacuumed up spider webs until the vacuum cleaner bag was full. I also threw out or recycled a bunch of old boxes that I was saving for no reason - just a habit, learned at my mother's knee, never to throw anything out if it might be useful later on.

I want either a small house or a condo in a residential area, close to public transportation and shops and restaurants. I want more space than I currently have (or at least more storage space). I want a dishwasher. I haven't had a working dishwasher in over 20 years. I'm sick of doing them by hand. I want natural gas heat and I'd love central air conditioning. I need two off-street parking spaces (my younger son lives with me). If it's a condo, the association needs to allow both of our cats. And I don't want to pay a lot. I don't ask much, do I?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Old Fat Lady Cosplay?

My goal with this phase of my blog is to inspire myself to live again, and not to give up just because I'm getting old. There were some things I hoped to accomplish in my life that I have not yet accomplished, and I feel myself wanting to give up. Will I ever write a novel that gets published? Will I ever travel outside of the United States and Canada? Will I ever attract another man?

I didn't go to the tattoo convention. When I read the website, I decided the convention wasn't really aimed at gawkers (although I'm sure it attracted a few). So I'll keep watching tattoo shows on TV and see what I can learn.

I've been watching a show on Syfy called "Heroes of Cosplay". "Cosplay" is a blend of "costume" and "play"; it's dressing up as a character (usually from a video game or a geeky movie) for any one of a number of conventions. I'd love to do it, but the show makes clear that old, fat women would not be welcome. One of the young women kept raving about how much weight she had gained and how she could only play the fat version of a character. She played Merida from Brave because Merida (an animated character) is curvy. This woman is NOT fat, incidentally. If there were any old, fat women in costume dramas or video games, I'm sure I'd be welcome to dress up as one of them.

I'd love to go to King Richard's Faire (our local Renaissance fair) in costume, but I don't have anybody who would go with me if I did. The kids would be embarrassed - and I'm pretty sure all of them also want to go in costume, but don't have the courage. I bought a cape last year, and I plan to wear it when we go this year. That's as close to a costume as I'm likely to get.

I'm a MythBusters fan, and this past weekend Jamie and Adam were at DragonCon. Adam dressed up as Jack Sparrow, and he looked amazing. (Jamie, true to character, dressed up as himself.) It just makes me wish I could try a costume.

My sons were at PAX Prime in Seattle, and PAX also attracts cosplayers. Once again, I really wish I had the courage. I will go to PAX East if I can next spring here in Boston, but I don't see myself going in costume at this point.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Old Fat Lady and Tattoos?

Last year, I happened onto a show called Ink Master. It's on Spike, whose target audience is male. I loved it. I have no idea why - I don't have any tattoos (yet!) and I always thought I disapproved of them. They're permanent, and if you get tired of them, you can't scrub them off. If, ten years later, you no longer want your significant other's name tattooed on your arm, due to the fact that s/he is no longer your significant other, you're screwed. The tattoo that made you laugh in your twenties might just embarrass you in your forties.

However, I'm now in my sixties, and I expect my tastes aren't going to change too drastically in the next few decades. I secretly want to apply to be a canvas for the next season of Ink Master. Don't tell anybody! Some of the contestants don't want to tattoo old people because aging skin handles differently, but they've had at least one woman in her 70s on.

There are other shows about tattoos, but they all seem to be slanted towards repairing or covering up bad tattoos. Tattoo Nightmares is a show about three L.A. artists who specialize in covering up bad tattoos. Then there's Bad Ink, set in Las Vegas. These two characters (a tattoo artist and his sidekick) go around looking for bad tattoos, and they've found a lot of them (example: a large-size woman who had "EXIT ONLY" tattooed right over her ass crack). Occasionally, somebody even wants to have their bad tattoo covered up, although more people than you'd think just want to keep their tattoos because either they have appalling taste or they're used to them.

These bad-tattoo stories all seem to start the same way: "I was out with my friends and we were drinking..." That's all it takes - too much alcohol and the encouragement of a few impaired friends - to lead to waking up in the morning with a horrible tattoo. Frequently, they were under age 18, and were tattooed by somebody who didn't know what they were doing.

In one of the Bad Ink episodes, one of the guys (I think it was Ruckus, the one who isn't a tattoo artist) was trying to entice old people in a retirement community to come and get a tattoo. One woman took them up on it. She was older than I am.

There's a tattoo convention in Boston this weekend. I could go - I'm on my own for the long weekend. I could even come back with a tattoo. I looked at the page of artists, and there are a lot of gorgeous tattoos being shown. Bright colors, unique designs, different styles, from realistic to abstract, cartoon-like, or like the cover of a fantasy novel. I think I'd like something in color. But where? My ankle? My shoulder? I thought about having a tattoo that would incorporate my spider veins on my legs... I think I'd want something I could hide if I wanted to. I don't know. My kids would probably think I've gone crazy.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What Can Old Fat Ladies Do? Take 2

Last year, I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. This was a surprise to me. I had some aching in my right arm, but nothing too severe. I made a couple of changes at work - I have a fancy mouse that operates with a handshake grip, and I repositioned my keyboard - and I think the carpal tunnel syndrome has cleared up. This is significant because, due to it, I had given up knitting. I have always loved to knit and crochet, and I'm reasonably good at it. My kids all have afghans I crocheted for them. (I have one, too.) I knitted many baby sweaters and hats over the years for my friends. More recently, I have made several pairs of mittens each Christmas for our church's Mitten Tree. Last year, I was unable to do so, which was a disappointment to me.

Meanwhile, my shoulders were giving me trouble. I had rotator cuff surgery last January on my left shoulder. My right shoulder has bone spurs that make it painful to reach up for things. I haven't been able to lift anything too heavy (another reason that we haven't put the house on the market yet - I can't move things to the storage locker without help).

In spite of these things, I decided it was time to try knitting again. While I was down at the Cape earlier this month, I bought a pattern for a cardigan for myself, some lovely blue yarn with flecks (they called it "tweed"), and I started knitting. The back is about half done, and everything's going well so far. This has lifted up my spirits tremendously, at least as far as my body's limitations go.

I've also had trouble walking. It turns out that the pain in the balls of my feet was due to something called a Morton's neuroma. Actually, two neuromas, one in each foot. There's really nothing to do about them except to wear the right shoes, ones that don't compress the toes. I now have a pair of orthopedic shoes. They're huge and clunky, and I haven't worn them anywhere yet. The orthopedic shoe guy approved my sandals, so I figured I'd wear them until the weather gets cold enough for large clunky orthopedic shoes.

Last week I decided it was time to stop malingering and to get out walking at lunchtime again. I am challenging myself to go out and walk three days a week. I've had problems with arthritis in my right hip - something I REALLY do not want to admit to, because it makes me sound so OLD. I think exercise can help (and if it can't, I don't really want to know about it!). I did the three workday lunchtimes last week, and in addition, took a Saturday walk along Lynn Shore Drive. I took a walk today, so this week is off to a good start.

So, it looks like I'm not yet too old and decrepit to knit or to walk. YAY!

Friday, August 23, 2013

What Can Old Fat Ladies Do?

What can old fat ladies do? I'm hoping to explore that topic here.

As I get older, I feel more limited in what I can do. Skydiving? Probably not. Do old fat ladies with fake knees jump out of airplanes? I had a brief mourning period back when I was 38 because I had never jumped out of an airplane, and I was already too old to do it. At age 38! If I had actually wanted to try skydiving, I could have. For all I know, I still could.

Why the preoccupation with skydiving? Two reasons. First, I'm a fan of Top Chef Masters. The season premiere earlier this summer showed all but one of the chefs (even the older, fatter ones) skydiving into their first cooking challenge.They made it look easy, and even the terrified ones claimed to have loved the experience. Second, my son-in-law recently jumped out of an airplane (skydove?). He's young and athletic, and loves to try new things. My daughter didn't join him in the jump, though. I wonder if she'll regret it when she's in her sixties? More likely, she'll have done it by then.

So what can I do? The fake knee limits me in a couple of areas. I was told that I couldn't run or ski. I hadn't been doing much of either of those recently, so I figured there wouldn't be a problem.

But what about climbing Mount Everest? Could a person with a fake knee do that? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I want to be able to do it. I love reading about Everest, watching documentaries about Everest, imagining myself in this most unforgiving of environments...but realistically, I know I'll never climb it. For one thing, it takes months of acclimatization and a vast amount of money. For another thing? See "fat", above. Add "out of shape" to that.

Which brings me to something an old fat lady can do: get into shape.

Today I Googled "personal trainer arthritis" to see if I could turn up any local personal trainers who dealt with people like me. Clearly, I should have chosen different words for my search. I found exercises for people with arthritis, but realistically, I won't do it on my own. I need somebody who will inspire me and motivate me without shaming me or belittling me. I need a location near where I live -

- and that's where everything grinds to a halt.

I want to move away from the poor city where I live now. I want to move closer to Boston. I wouldn't join a gym where I live now even if such a thing existed. (There's a YMCA; not sure what else.) So I've been putting off my dreams of getting fit with a personal trainer until some indefinite date in the future, After I Move. That date doesn't seem to be getting any closer.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


I am glad that 2011 is drawing to a close. The year has been filled with emotional peaks and valleys, ranging from the virtually perfect wedding of my daughter to the very sudden death of my mother, still fresh enough that I can't write those words without tears coming to my eyes. One of my children's aunts, my younger sister-in-law (does one say "ex-sister-in-law?), also died. Both these women attended my daughter's wedding, and I'm glad they were able to be there.

In 2011, I fought for and received a promotion, which moved me from the weekly to the monthly payroll. Since then I have been fighting to have enough cash to see me through a month. The last three months, especially, have been a struggle, with my cash pretty much gone after my car payment on the 19th. That's another thing that changed in 2011: In February, I unloaded my 1999 Saturn for a new Civic, which I'm leasing because the monthly payments are much lower. Having a new car has been wonderful. Having a new car payment, less so.

Once again, an entire year has passed by without me having a date or even meeting a man near my age who is single and available. This is not the way I expected my life would be. I become more withdrawn every day. I wouldn't even know how to talk to a man who might be interested in me. In fact, I find it a little harder every day to believe that there is a man out in the vast universe who might find me interesting or attractive. I'm afraid I've forgotten how to be either of those things.

The best part of 2011, after my daughter's wedding, was my week on the Cape in July-August. I'm always better at the Cape - healthier, less apt to overeat, more apt to go outside, more complete in myself. I still want to retire to the Cape. My older son and I visited the Cape the weekend after my mother died, earlier this month. We needed the outing to a place Mom loved, too. The Cape is a very different place in December, with most of the summer attractions closed. But it's still the Cape, and I think I'd be all right there even in the off season. (If anybody reads this, "the Cape" is always Cape Cod. I live closer to Cape Ann, and I realize that there are a lot of Capes all over the world. But only one is THE Cape. I've asked people from other parts of the country what they think of when they hear "the Cape", and the answer has always been Cape Cod.)

Earlier this week I made MP3s out of my Cat Stevens albums from the early 1970's. I want to quote part of a song from "Tea for the Tillerman" - "there's so much left to know and I'm on the road to find out." (The song is called "On the road to find out".) That's what I've lost in the past few years - hope for the future. Those lines remind me of what I've lost. I may be older now, but there's still a lot left to know, and it's only my own fears that are keeping me off the Road to Find Out. That's what I want for 2012 - to be back on that road.