Sunday, July 11, 2010

Do You Speak Map?...humor with a direction...or lack thereof

Do You Speak Map?

The lost art of cartography may be responsible for the fact that an entire quadrant of the population seems to be literally lost. I’m convinced that there must be a whole fleet of pilots flying for ‘Anytime Airlines’ relying upon the minimal skills provided in their babyboomer-era education which turns them into Christopher Columbus in the air as they discover new worlds. “What do you mean I’m in Israel instead of Japan? Hang on. Where‘s that thing? Yeah. You know. That…map. Nope. This doesn’t look like any country I’ve ever seen.”

And now I have a confession to make. I am one of the map illiterates. We are the kids who were schooled some time in the 1960’s, 1970’s, late-1400’s who did not have to painstakingly label and memorize a map for every blessed province, country and area code in the world. At the time we thought it was a good thing that geography was all but abolished due to the ever-changing philosophies of public school system powers-that-be, but then that whole “world market, global citizen” thing stuck and, lo and behold, the powers that be were powers that be wrong. As it turns out, we use map skills as frequently as math.

My status of being geographically-challenged became glaringly clear to me when I had a recent discussion with one of my family members living in a different state. We have quite an age difference between one another, so his education had something that mine didn’t – map skills. He’s a brave man, so one day he took it upon himself to explain to me where the state of Alaska is located (his locale) in relation to California (my hood). This achievement would require over-the-counter medication, a colorful globe and an unlimited long distance calling plan.

We began the impromptu lesson when he mentioned the city of Fairbanks and I said something clever like, “Oh, well that’s to the right of the state, isn’t it?” After he quit laughing he told me to go fetch that beautiful, lighted globe that was currently adding ambiance and direction to my living room, so he could explain to me just exactly how this whole map thing works.

As we began the tutorial I noticed that Alaska is “down under,” if you will, and that, of course, led to a lesson on exactly what “down under” means geographically and, as you might expect, the country of Australia came up – or was it down? Well, at any rate, we talked about it.

Quite frankly, until Nicole Kidman came on the scene that country hadn’t even appeared on my radar. No small wonder. If you don’t have map skills, you’re probably not dealing in radar either. I volunteered this aside to my relative who patiently guided me back to the task at hand; using a map.

After that little segue took place I got all animated about how colorful the globe was and then I built myself into an excited frenzy as I began to understand geography and where Alaska is located, in particular.

“So Alaska is the pink state?!” I screamed excitedly, summing up my dawning understanding as I looked at multi-colored states, colorfully shaded bodies of water, all decorated by boldly outlined meridians. I heard a sigh from my military-trained, cartography-minded, solidly left-brained relative and I couldn’t help but torment him with a final question to ponder: “Do you suppose Alaska is the pink state on every globe?”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beauty on the Cheap...How to be a Beauty on a Non-Beastly Budget

Beauty on the Cheap

Women’s magazines offer up plenty of advice about how to retain your youth and I’ve noticed that, recently, there has been a new spin on this one, incorporating the endless media mantra of, “challenging economic times.” As I was perusing one such periodical I noticed an article called, “Look Younger on a Budget” that intrigued me.

As I read about items you find in your fridge and cupboard that will enhance your looks; for instance, milk, to reduce facial redness and double dipping your teabags into your cup and then onto your eyes for puffiness, I thought up a few tips of my own. I thought I’d share them with you.

Diane’s 10 Ways to Achieve Beauty on a Non-Beastly Budget and/or Look Younger
(I’m still working on the title.)

1. Lighting, lighting, lighting.
Make sure there is little to none and you will find you are able to subtract a good decade or two just by virtue of lack of wattage.

2. Hang out with people who are much older than you and not so well-preserved.
This serves as a nice comparison tool that can offer the added bonus of casting you in the role of “spring chicken.”

3. Borrow a friend’s toddler and run errands.
I find that when we are keeping company with the “wee ones” (and, no, I’m not talking about leprechauns) people might figure we must be younger than we are because we are still able to procreate. I will caution you that this can really backfire as people may say, “Oh, how cute, you’re spending time with your GRANDbaby, but, again, go to number one, and for god’s sake, stay out of the sunlight. Hang out in low-lit stores.

4. While you’re cooking and utilizing the olive oil that’s supposed to be so great
for your health, literally spread the wealth.
Why not use that extra dab on your face, killing the proverbial two birds with one stone? Now, granted, you may look as though your kitchen ministrations are making you sweat excessively, but we’re talking budgetary constraints here.

5. Throw away your magnifying mirror.
Let’s be honest. Who needs that kind of perfection? You’ll add valuable time to your morning schedule, just by virtue of subtracting out the close “plucking” work that comes with owning one of these instruments of the devil and you’ll feel younger because our self-image memories are stuck somewhere around the time that “Mork and Mindy” was in its sitcom heyday.

6. Have a blender day where you throw in everything organic you can think of in order to come up with concoctions for your hair, eyes and face.
The standard fare would, of course, be cucumbers, avocadoes and strawberries, but those fruit acids are great at burning off what ails you, so be creative! A word of caution though. Be careful that you don’t grab the fish bowl. Move it out of the proximity…just in case. Frenzied blending leads to more kitchen accidents than are reported.

7. DON’T cut your hair, even though the nagging hairdresser keeps saying you should because you’re “older.”
Grow it long, baby, and shout out the lyrics to that fine, au naturel musical “Hair,” while you’re at it. “Gimme a head with hair. Long beautiful hair. Shining, gleaming. Streaming, flaxen, waxen.”

8. Use ice for your cocktails and your face.
Begin by pouring yourself a medicinal spirit. Then, press an ice cube onto your face for as long as you can stand it because it provides a temporary Botox affect, in addition to affording you with a gateway experience into your afterlife cryogenic program.

9. Eat less.
There’s nothing like a lean, mean and crabby person to create the illusion of a youthful edge like we possessed back when we were raging the machine and feeling as though we couldn’t trust anyone YOUNGER than thirty.

10. Brush your teeth with baking soda for its natural whitening abilities.
Why not also mix some up in a glass and suck it down in order to take care of the indigestion that comes with thinking about ageing while you’re at it?