Sunday, May 26, 2013

If a tree falls

"If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?"

So sings Bruce Cockburn.

I don't live near a forest, although we've a stand of trees in the back yard, and i heard one crack as it blew down in a storm. This was about a year ago.

We've been getting loads and loads of rain for much of the week, accompanied by high winds for much of the time. After a while, you become accustomed to the grey and shuffle along, wondering if you'll see the sun any time soon.

Well, i'm here to say that we're supposed to have the rain ending today—the weather forecasters said "clearing up in the afternoon"—and it's 4:30 or a bit past now with some gentle, spitting rain. With the long weekend this weekend, i was hoping for some time in the boat. We launched Monday, just after the rain let up, but it's been raining since Tuesday.

And, so Thursday evening, i went to bed around 11 after kissing the kitties good-night and seeing a large, black, long-haired cat outside. I wouldn't have noticed it, but JoJo kept staring intently in the darkness, so i switched on the light and saw it, too. I haven't seen that one before, so not sure where s/he lives. Other than the black cat, everything else was like normal.

I retired to bed, just like usual, and slept soundly until Phoebe meowed that she was ready for breakfast. Even with the grey gloom, it lightens up much earlier these days, and some days Phoebe wants breakfast before my alarm goes off. So, i complied, looked out at the grey, sodden mess, the lilacs are in full bloom, the grass is going to be quite long by the time it'll stop raining so i can mow, and i set about for a busy workday Friday. I decided to run errands over lunch and glanced momentarily at the large maple that had been dying last year, with one small branch still leafing out. I noted that this year, it seems to have given up the ghost completely, as the branch did not leaf out. But, in my cursory glance its way, i was shocked when i saw that the large branch that had hosted the small leafed out branch from last year, had fallen off the tree. "Branch" seems a bit of a misnomer, as it's huge, nearly four feet (1.2 m) in diameter. When it fell, it split the upper rail of the fence, and caused the bottom rail to become unhooked. The upper reaches fell against the weirdly shaped fir tree we have that's gnarly and twisted, no doubt from years of heavy snowfall. It didn't touch power lines, the house, or any other tree. Nobody was hurt, and i doubt if anyone saw it fall. I slept through the entire event.

I had thought to take the chainsaw class last month to see if i could take the tree down myself. My instructors said no as the tree is huge (8 feet/ nearly 2.5 m around), and i wondered if there were some way i could take down just that large branch, as it seemed to be hanging a bit ominously. Mother Nature apparently thought the same, and now that the branch is safely on the ground, i can commence to cutting it up.

A crow often used the top part of the tree to sit in the morning and survey. I've not seen him/her since the tree branch fell. I did take a photo or two and shall upload them when i get a minute.

So now, when i hear Bruce sing that song, i can reply, "If a tree falls, i'll be sleeping soundly and not hear a thing."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another cog in the wheel

Last week, when i was overwhelmed with computer issues at work, i took a bit longer than usual returning from an appointment by stopping in a department store and looking at clothes. Some might call it retail therapy, but truth be told, i hate shopping.

I have more than enough clothes, although could do with another bra, but i'd rather poke my eye out than shop for those. Still, might as well see what's available and take it from there.

I don't wish to bore or embarrass the male readers of this blog, but i need to take a moment to rant about bra sizing. If need be, look away until the next paragraph or so. Bra sizing seems, on the face of it, pretty straight forward. You measure around at the widest point of your bust, so you know what size to look for, (32, 36, 38, etc.) and cup size has to do with how much of that number is boob and how much of it is the rest of your body. So, a 36 A would be someone with a smaller boob, while a 36 C would look more endowed. There's actually a formula which i've now forgotten, but it's something like measuring immediately below your breasts as well as at the fullest point and taking the difference as a good gauge for cup size. Something like 1 inch difference is an A cup, 2 a B, and so on. I don't know how this works out in the metric world, but in the historic English system, it seems to work. Ahem. Operative word is seems. For, if you've been blessed with a bust size that's an odd number, i.e., 33, 35, 37, you're not going to find a brassiere that really is made for you. You'll squish into the smaller even numbered size, or have some room with the larger even number. The cup sizes seem to be all over place. Well, actually, it seems that every manufacturer uses a different ruler so one size fits a variety of women, but that same size with a different manufacturer won't fit at all. And then there are those manufacturers who pad the cups. When i was a smaller size, i always felt it was akin to those girls who used to stuff their bras with paper hankies to make themselves look bigger. And for crying out loud, if i'm already a C or D cup, do i REALLY need more padding? Some manufacturers say it's a C or D cup, but there's so much padding in the cup that there's not much room for the boob. Oh, and then there are the manufacturers who make bras for women who have breast enhancement surgery. You know, the really skinny models who have a 23-inch waist and 38-inch bust? Um, yeah, so those bras are constructed so that the part that's supposed to hook together can't for a normal sized woman wearing a size 38 bra. Because the woman they have in mind would naturally wear a 32 or 34, but they've now got bigger jugs. Okay, there may be one or two women who are naturally built that way, like a girl in school i knew named Joyce, or if a small boned woman got pregnant and is breast-feeding.

But as i looked at the array of bras in different colours, textures, and sizes, my heart sank. I grabbed several that i thought might fit me. This is the ritual. Try on a dozen before one fits kinda sorta. Try on two dozen, and i might find one that fits really well. Buy all i can of that one, and there never seem to be more than one or two of that one. Oh, and try those on, too, just be sure they fit as well, because, as we know from sad experience, they don't all fit the same way. Even when they are the same make and model. Oof.

I saw four that might do the trick, and tried them on. None fit right. At all. What was more alarming, as i tried one of them on, was how my back was squished when i tried hooking the bra closed. Okay, i haven't been strength training, but i've never seen back cleavage like that in my life! Not on this body. Ever. And as i tried on one after the other, i came to the sad conclusion that my body is really middle aged. Most of the perk has left the building. That i should need this support garment even more than before and that i'm finding it impossible to find one to fit reasonably well seems sad and cruel. I also saw a few cute tops and thought i'd try them on for size. The one i liked so much on the hanger did a Jekyll/Hyde thing as it went from off the hanger to on me. I looked ridiculous. Another top that didn't make my eyes pop when i saw it, but it was on clearance and might look good fit like a dream. Moreover, i involuntarily smiled when i saw myself in it, which surprised me. I didn't want to take the top off, so i figured it'd come home with me. The bras didn't seem to mock me so much after that. I clutched my new top tightly as i left the dressing room with the ill-fitting bras and returned them to their display. Yes, they have those racks in the dressing rooms where you can hang the clothes you're not going to take so associates can put them away, but i am still from the old school where i put the item back from whence it came. I put back the too-young-for-me top. I could have worn it 20 years ago and been quite fetching, but now? Well, i'd just look silly.

I don't know quite how it happened. This whole middle aged thing. I remember looking at women about 20 years older than i was, wearing fashions that were too young for them and looking ridiculous. I wondered why their friends didn't clue them in. It might not be a comfortable conversation to have, but it's one a good friend would undertake all the same. I then took a look around the store. Many of the fashions were designed for younger women in mind. Some i could wear all right, although they didn't call to me, and while i don't want fuddy-duddy clothes, i don't think it ought to be hard to find something that will flatter me. Then i realized that i was in the juniors department. I remember having this conversation with my mother. She was always petite and often lamented that they didn't make petite clothes for older women. Somehow designers thought that petite women are always under 25. Now, here am i 35 years later, having similar thoughts. Although i'm not really tiny like Mom, as i've got more heft, but my short-waisted build combined with my short stature have me firmly in the juniors.

I left after i paid for my new top, decided my currrent crop of bras will have to hold up the tired old girls a bit longer, and that i need to get back to strength training.