VWW- Ersatz

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Ersatz:

being unusually artificial and inferior substitution or imitation

Originally a noun in German, this word has been incorporated into the English language as an adjective. It was used in WWI and WWII  to describe the inferior products made available due to rationing.

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Interesting substitution suggestion

In the modern world we have an abundance of ersatz products. Not due to the war, but rather as a result of corporate greed to make commodities in great volume but at low cost and quality. I’ve complied a short list:

  1. Imitation cheese slices
  2. “Juice” containing only 5% fruit juice what is the rest of it made from?
  3. Juice named after a fruit but composed of mainly apple juice (pomegranate and blueberry are where I encounter this most often)
  4. Fish Sticks- these are of some type of Osteichthyes of unknown providence
  5. Fat Free, Low Fat, Reduced Fat anything- I generally interpret that to mean chemical shit storm pumped up with sugar
  6. Frozen Dairy Treat- what the hell does that mean?
  7. Food Advertised with “More Meat Flavor”- not more meat, just better additives
  8. Flashlights apps on the phone- that tiny beam of light doesn’t do shit in the basement
  9. Halloween/Harvest/Fall parties for kids- it’s not the same as Trick or Treating. It’s lame and it sucks to watch kids not run wild on a sugar high
  10. MTV- music television? Not anymore
  11. Affordable Care Act- this is not the same a socialized medicine. I’ve traveled. I know.
  12. Responsibility- a poor substitution for a well lived life
  13. Dancing with the Stars- why can’t we just dance with our own partners? Or alone in our underwear?
  14. Reality TV- So much worse than real reality…wait, what?
  15. Non-Dairy Creamers- this has to be the worse thing humanity has invented aside from atomic weapons. It’s flammable and people ingest it. Ewww!

Gravity is a Bitch!

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Several women in my family are rather well endowed. My sister has a pair rivaling Dolly Parton. All my life I was warned that women with large breasts had to dread the effects of gravity. Instruction was given to always secure solid foundation garments to avoid having them down by my knees by the time I was 40.

As puberty approached I, like so many other young girls, began to wonder what Mother Nature would provide me with in terms  of mammary tissue. I would alternate between what I wished for.

Did I want a  big pair like my sister? That came with lots of attention and admiration, but also back pain and the future threat of sagging. Did I want small, perky breasts? Those left no doubt you were a woman but still offered you the option of going without a bra. In the end it didn’t matter what I wanted. Like everyone else, I got what I got. Deal with it. And like every other woman before me I did not appreciate what I had until it was gone.

When I was younger were glorious. Middle sized, not too big, not too small. High, round, and firm. I would lament that they were so dense I could not get them to move together to form cleavage. When lying on my back they would disperse, but still looked divine. Well, that’s long gone.

They aren’t sagging to my knees, but the density that gave them their shape bailed around the same time my knees lost their elasticity. As a result I can now get cleavage. I can also do shadow puppets with them. It doesn’t seem so much like the effects of gravity as a rearrangement of surface area. Now the moment that my bra comes off they immediately try to take cover in my armpits. I’m not sure if they have developed social anxiety or a shifting of tectonic plates. Thankfully men have also become slightly more mature, or at least more tactful. It’s been a while, but the last few partners kept the commentary to themselves when they had to scoop the girls out from under my arms. Or maybe they found the nipple peeking out from my axilla cute. Whatever, no one is complaining.

Overall, it’s not that big of a deal. I had to make some minor lifestyle adjustments. Putting on a bra now requires me to bend at the waist while pulling the cups away from my body. This causes the girl to fall out of their safe haven under my arms and into the bra. Then I can straighten up and adjust them. I still have the concern of cup spillage, only now it’s the other side of the cup. The silver lining to this is that I have an extra layer available when the under wire pops out. It has to go through a titty before it can stab my in the artery. And it’s made sports bras easier to find. Since they lost density they compress much easier. No more bouncing.

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A few years ago this would have offended my sensibilities. Now I am the target market and I understand. Perspective.

I guess that’s what aging is all about.  Realizing that things change and sometimes it isn’t good or bad, but just different.

Small Talk

i-hate-small-talk-1-638You know you have gained weight when someone you haven’t seen in a while comments. It’s always the same comment casually dropped into the polite small talk.

“Lost some weight, I see.”

You know that isn’t what they mean because when you actually have lost weight its the opening statement and always exclaimed with gusto.

“You’ve lost a ton of weight! You look so good!

 
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OK, what did I look like before? And really, a ton? Sigh.

My size has been my albatross my entire life. Sisyphus had his boulder. I have my scale.

 

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The struggle is real!

 Several years ago I eliminated scales and mirrors from my house. All I have is the mirrors in the bathroom and one to see the back of my hair. They are all shoulder height and up.

 I did this so I would stop the unhealthy obsession with size and appearance. It worked. I focus more on the nutrition and source of my food than I do the fat and calories. It’s reflected in my blood work if not my BMI.

The most surprising result of not having mirrors is how much happier I have been. I worry less about what I look like and how other may perceive me. Removing that vanity focused my attentions on my character. The kind of person I am and my behavior became something I processed as opposed to who found me acceptable to look at. I gained confidence. I grew comfortable with the traits that made my who I am. My body was a conveyance that I maintained. It didn’t happen right away, but it did happen.

Not that insecurities didn’t wiggle their way back in, because of course they did. I would see my reflection in glass walking past a store, or in addressing room mirror and think, “Crap! Less fro-yo and more kale!” Or a photo of me would appear and I would wonder if I really looked like that. But those moments were fleeting.

Then someone tries to slip that backhanded compliment into the conversation and all of the B.S. comes rushing back. The insecurities, the self loathing, the feelings of not being good enough. And you spend the night balancing on the edge of the tub looking at different parts of your body. Analyzing them. Scrutinizing each part and finding it wanting. When will we stop doing this to ourselves?

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VWW- Exculpatory

Exculpatory:

tending or serving to clear from alleged fault or guilt

In general use this is a positive thing. Most people would directly assign this word to a situation where one was wrongly accused and their good name cleared. That was my first impression. Giving it a bit more thought I realized there is a darker side to the usage of exculpatory.

It brought to mind all the individuals who consistently causes disruption and then spins the events so they are shown in the best light. Then they twist the facts so that an innocent party looks to be at fault. Finding and applying exculpatory evidence seems to be their life’s mission. Unfortunately it is one we are all too familiar with, usually in the work place.

The worst part is that this is often done by a person in a position of power. A supervisor, manager, and hell, I’ve even seen HR do this (J nick named her Cuntalicious). It’s disheartening that there is so little integrity, so many people too frightened to step up to the plate of responsibility and admit to an error. I guess that’s why I always get odd looks when I tell my boss I made a mistake, I caught it, and here is what I am doing to rectify that error. I thought that is what adults do.

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Oh, despair.com , how I love you and your products

Silly Underboob! No, no, no! Adults waste as much time as possible at work. The higher your position, the more time you waste. The more time you waste, the more fearful you become of losing your position and the illusion of power that comes with it. The more fear you permit in your life, the more defensive you become. The more defensive you become, the more time spent trying to justify your position. The more you need to justify your position, the more you need a scapegoat.

Just writing that was exhausting! Wouldn’t it be easier to just do your job in the first place?

When Men Talk About Feelings

It is a widely accepted dogma* that women like to discuss their feelings. Men are all about remedying a situation and have no desire to analyze. The conjecture is that this creates much of the disparity between the sexes. It has been the basis of books, sitcoms, and countless comedy acts. Even with our progress in LGBT issues and greater acceptance of the gender spectrum this bias persists. I have stumbled upon an exception. I know that another common axiom is that the exception proves the rule. That is rather faulty logic.

If there is one place that men love to discuss thoughts and feelings it is in meetings. There is one constant to every single meeting I have ever been involved in and that is there will be men gathered around a table blowing hot air. Place a bunch of male executives at an overpriced, highly lacquered table and present them with something new and they will dissect it like a twelve-year-old girl with a text message from a crush.

There will be meetings, committees, subcommittees, and action plans. None of the action plans will be implemented until each member of each team has gathered data and presented it in power point. They will utilize charts, graphs, pivot tables, and the never-ending litany of meetings. Meetings where we talk about how the project feels, what each executive and manager thinks about the project, and what possible road blocks could present to impede progress. It will take a minimum of three meetings, spaced no less than a week apart, to decide on a plan of attack.

In the mean time, the women involved in said meeting (usually just me) are watching the deadline inch closer and closer. The women (me) wonder how we are going to have time to implement anything if and when we ever decide on a game plan. First there is the sense of exasperation as the women (me) are forced to listen to each executive voice their concerns (fear of change) in turn. Then there is aggravation as no one ever wants to hear a different point of view unless it is a new reason that the project won’t work (justifying the fears). Somewhere around meeting number three the women (me) will take notes and formulate a strategy. They (me) will then begin to quietly but assertively execute that program. By meeting number four it is apparent that change is happening and the project is taking shape. At meeting five the men congratulate each other on a job well done. The women (me) get asked to type up all the minutes and compile a report on the project.

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The woman in green- I make that face every meeting

I hate meetings like this. I am a list maker. There is always a list, either allegorical or prosaic. My goal in life is to cross items off of those lists. Now, I don’t ever want the same thing to enter back on to the list therefore I am a big fan of getting it right the first time. When I am presented with a new task I want to find out what I need and just make it happen. Discussion ad nauseam is infuriating. Let’s just get to work and get it done. But we can’t. Because everyone has to feel 100% comfortable with every bit of minutia before we can effect change.

This is when I really want to break out the radio-active nipples and shrink those whiny ass, disconnected, blow holes down into binary and incarcerate them in the phone app. The talking would stop, I would not longer have to deal with the egos, and there wouldn’t be a chain of command in my way of progress. Because nothing sets off executives more than stepped upon toes!

*Disclaimer: I do not personally subscribe to the gender normative behaviors that are prevalent in western culture. I don’t think that anything is inherently male or female, masculine or feminine. My interpretation is that these are gross generalizations of accepted segregation of roles based on social labels that are outmoded. 

Where are you People Working??

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Every morning as I leave my house at seven (realistically, it’s closer to 7:30) I see people out on the street jogging. When I get home at 6:30 (closer to 7) the alien dog will drag me through the neighborhood for my daily allotment of fresh air. I see the same people either out running again (why?) or participating in some form of leisure activity.

Where the hell are you people working?

I start hitting the snooze button at 5:30 and drag my sorry ass out of bed by 6. Shower, coffee, feed the beasts, take out trash, attempt to look presentable, and dash out the door. I eat a granola bar in the car. I may or may not get to work by 8. Seriously, I am pretty low maintenance.

So if you are still out jogging at 7:30 that means you have to finish your run, shower (please, I hope you are showering), get dressed, and commute. How do you do that? Does time move differently for you? Or do you have a job that starts later than 8 or 9 AM?

OK, lets explore that possibility. How do you then get home and involved in an activity before I do? Does everyone but me work part-time? Are they all underemployed? There are far too many of them to all be stay at home parents, especially in this economy.

Please, please, please explain how this works. I want to have time to exercise and have fun before collapsing on the sofa.

VWW- Contumely

Contumely:

harsh language or treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt. Also; and instance of such language or treatment

Plainly put into the vernacular, this is what mean girls do. It’s the method females traditionally employ to bully one another.

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*stolen from Pinterest, would love to give credit where due

Alien Dog

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I have an alien dog. At least I think he is a dog. Or he is meant to be a dog. I don’t know. He is weird-looking. It’s like someone who has never seen a dog before had one described to them and created what lives with me. He is small and compact with white paws that have Clydesdale feathers, his face sort of looks like a schnauzer but with a white “beard” that resembles an exploded cotton ball. He has eyebrows. Bushy eyebrows and old man ear hair. There is one little tuft of hair on the top of his skull that sticks up like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals. His tail is tipped in white with straggly hairs at the very end. It curls around in a circle and never straightens. He can lift it up and down, but it’s always curled, almost like a pig. The best part is his fur. He is mostly a deep red with short, smooth hair. The exception being that there is long, coarse, curly hair running along his spine. He has a Mohawk. He is freaking adorable!
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OK, he looks odd, that doesn’t make him an alien. Very true. He also acts a bit strange. Like he isn’t 100% sure how to dog. Nothing you could point out directly, just a bit off. For instance, the time a backhoe drove down the street. He climbed up in my lap and cowered, shook, and whined. Never done it with any other piece of heavy equipment and with all the construction on our roads he has seen plenty. Or the airplane. Every time one flies over he sits down and throws his head back, tracking it with his eyes. I’ve never seen a dog notice planes. And sounds. He has the wrong sounds. Its strange snuffling noises and bleating like a sheep. Once he was at the fence making pig grunts. Then there are his eating habits. I’m sure that he was given instructions to fit in among the earthlings and he was to attempt to eat what the other dogs eat. He doesn’t seem to like food very much. That’s really weird, don you think? He much prefers to ingest his toys. Stuffed toys, but not the stuffing and never the squeaker.

So what’s the back story?

I’m convinced he was sent down by an alien race to assist in the enslavement of the human race. I never bought into the Orson Welles giant robots story or skinny green men with big heads depiction of extra terrestrials. Especially not in America. We are a violent bunch with far too many weapons available to far too many people. Better to quietly observe us and see what we like then mimic that. Pets, we love our pets. If you were going to create minions wouldn’t it be easier if they entered into bondage willingly? And what better way than to convince the subservient that they are essential to the care and well-being of their captor? We humans would never suspect a thing. So he is from a planet in a distant galaxy, near Sirius I’m sure, and his job is to collect data on possible methods of subjugation and upload it to the mother-ship.

He does this by first probing everyone he meets. The probing process is so stealthy that most people just assume he needs his nails trimmed. He scratches your leg. If that doesn’t work he will resort to a small nip on the backside. (Never hard, mind you.) You would spin around wondering if he just bit you, not really sure. Truthfully it is the last resort. He seems to have perfected his technique as recently he has taken to performing what I call drive by lickings. This is where I walk him through the park and he licks every exposed leg he can reach and just keeps on trucking.

Once probed, he then gathers data. Having observed his modus operandi I have discerned that the type of alien he originated from is a Space Invader. This is because he will sit next to you edging ever closer until such time as you scratch his ears, rub his belly, or get up and provide him with food or entertainment. Any resistance results in his head on your shoulder and sad eyes boring into your soul. As time has gone by he has taken to reprimanding the humans if they fail to comply in a timely manner. This is done by standing in your path or line of sight and loudly remonstrating you, with sounds no dog should make (see above). This will continue until such time as his demands are satisfied. Data is then uploaded to the mother-ship after having logged into the subject. Logging in is done by either licking your eyeball or your teeth. One would think this is difficult, but he is very adept in his logging in skills. The subject is then kept in place during the duration of the upload by subsequent licking of the face.

All of this takes a vast amount of energy. Earth nutrition doesn’t fulfill the requirement needed so the alien dog must recharge its power source. Luckily for him I have provided him a reading lamp under which he can curl into a tight ball and permit the glow of the light to rejuvenate. And every morning he will stare at the light next to the sofa until I turn it on for him. There he will spend the morning in a state of near trance. This is also the time he conveys his plans to the cats. They have proven to be great allies in the plot to enslave the humans. Cats have been trying for centuries, but just couldn’t get the balance of cuddly and demanding in the proper ratios. It’s too late for me. I’ve been corrupted by the alien blight. I couldn’t be happier!

 

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

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My local farmers market reserves spaces for local craft vendors each week. On a recent visit I came across a booth from a local woodworkers club.  They had a large selections of pens made from bullet casings. Not only were they functional, but beautiful art work as well. Immediately, I imagined one of these pens on my desk at the office.

I have a bit of a reputation at work. It’s where Underboob shows herself the most. Left to my own devices my personality leans toward the introverted. Days, no weeks, could be spent in solitude quietly plugging away at my tasks. Unfortunately, I am often asked to collaborate with upper management. They like to discuss and brainstorm and do many other things that include lots of buzzwords and never really result in action.

Now, I am a list maker. I have lists for everything. My lists have lists. I constantly create outlines and flow charts in my head . There is nothing more satisfying than to cross off the final item on a list and dispose of it. Well, maybe chocolate but you get the point. Make the list, organize, prioritize, and plow through it. That’s how I like to work.

I’m also socially awkward and deficient in the filter between my brain and my mouth. You know those uncharitably and often inappropriate thoughts we all have? My mouth tends to blurt them out long before I have a chance to censor the thought. And I have little patience for dithering over nuances when we could just solve the problem and thus cross it off our list. I don’t like meetings and I don’t like working with a team.

As a result, it’s me that HR comes to at 9 AM on a Tuesday and asks to help them hide a body (it was hyperbole, I swear!). I’ve often reminded people (VP’s) when they are impeding any actual progress with their egos how I work with pathogens. Not that I would actually kill anyone, but my morality is flexible enough to inflict them with a nasty gastrointestinal ailment. Men just don’t watch their drinks. Really, I would love to experience the privilege for one day the confidence of a mediocre white male in a position of authority. What is that like?

Back to those really cool bullet pens. They were lovely. At first glance simply looked like any other executive pen. It would have been a welcome addition to any desk. I picked one up and it felt nice in hand, well balanced with a comfortable grip. Over time I imagine the combination of wood and metal with the oils in your skin would create an exquisite patina. Then I imagined what my coworkers would think. Those pompous, overconfident, self-assured executives trapped in a conference room for an hour watching me take notes with a 50 caliber shell casing. It’s almost as good as shrinking them down with radioactive nipple lasers. Almost.

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Not only do words have more power, the written word is eternal. Just think of how much more fun it would be to create those immortal words with a universally recognized symbol of violence. I just love the concept. I regret that I didn’t buy one. I’ll have to remedy that.

VWW- Bluestocking

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Bluestocking:

a woman having intellectual or literary interests

This was my Word of the Day a few days ago and I was struck by how absurd it is that the concept of women might have an interest in learning that there needed to be a word to describe the phenomenon. Let the historical research begin!

I discovered that it originated in mid-18th-century England basically because the girls were sick of their trite tea parties and wanted to do something more stimulating. Apparently, this term was used in the pejorative as it was frowned upon for women to be educated. Three women,  Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Vasey and Frances Boscawen, decided they were tired of retiring while the gentlemen had port and stimulating conversation so they started the Bluestocking Circle.  It seems that women writers owe quite a bit to these ladies who encouraged woman writers of the day to publish their works.

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I had never heard of this, or of these pioneering women of the 1750. If you want to learn more you can read this book, and of course there are plenty available on Amazon and the ever-present Wikipedia page. Let’s pay homage to these groundbreaking ladies and take a few moments to learn about all they did to move women’s education and intellectual acceptance forward. It’s still not perfect, but it’s come a long way!