Friday, June 24, 2011

Inside Out

We all know there are cultural differences between nations.  Many of us realize there are cultural differences between areas in our own country.  For example, my friends from Wisconsin call Pepsi “soda”.  I grew up in California and we always called it “pop”.  My friend from Minnesota calls the evening meal "supper", I call it "dinner."

You say tomato, I say tomahto.  Go ahead, sing along.

My kids now live in Oregon, but they are true born and bred Alaskans.  The reason I know this is because they have both, at different times, expressed amazement at the bathrooms found at roadside rest stops in Oregon

They were impressed enough to call home about them.  

The bathrooms down there have flushing toilets, running water, toilet paper and paper towels.  I know they aren’t making this phenomena up because I had the privilege of experiencing one last summer.

It’s true.  And it's quite a culture shock.

Our roadside bathrooms in Alaska aren’t quite like that.  They are, very simply put, outhouses.  They smell bad.  If you’re lucky, they have toilet paper.  (It’s always a good idea to go in prepared in case they don’t.)  Our outhouses don’t even have lights.  That’s not a problem in the summer, but in the winter you’d better park your car where your headlights can illuminate what you’re doing. 

You definitely don’t want to be stumbling around in there.

There is another option, you know.

One sunny weekend about twenty years ago, my little family had the opportunity to go camping across the bay.  The boat ride over was going to take a while, so I insisted my six year old daughter use the bathroom at the boat dock. 

I figured her little brother would be okay if he had to go.

When we opened the outhouse door, I knew I was in trouble.  It was really, really bad.  My little girl refused to use the “icky potty.”  I honestly couldn’t blame her, but it was our only option.  After much cajoling, pleading, begging and threatening, she finally broke down and went potty. 

I didn’t.  I knew I could hold it.

When we reached our destination a couple of hours later,  she informed me that she had to go potty again.  So, I grabbed a roll of toilet paper and we headed out to find a good spot in the woods. 

She didn’t get it at first.  She kept asking me where the potty was.  When she finally understood what was expected of her, she started crying and wailed, "Mommy!  I want to go back to the icky potty by the boats!”

Know what?  I did too.

Maybe some things defy culture and speak to personal preference. 

I prefer to be inside the outhouse.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Interviewing for jobs is so not fun.  I’ve been the interviewee and the interviewer, and I don’t like either roll. 

I remember my interview for my current position.  I had to prove I could carry fifty pounds of books between two buildings, which I did no problem.  I sailed through the typing test with flying colors.  Then they put me down in front of a computer and asked me to create an Excel spread sheet. 

I warned them that I couldn’t do it, but they wanted me to try. 

I couldn’t do it.

Thankfully I got the job anyway.  Maybe that's because in nine years on the job I’ve never had to create an Excel spread sheet. 

But I’m not going to lie; the first couple of months were hard.  I had to learn to use several computer programs that were new to me.  I’m pretty sure I drove my predecessor nuts with my questions and my confusion.  I’m sure she was grateful when I finally got the hang of things and stopped being so needy.

The funny thing is, I still do most of the things I learned back then every single, dingle day.  Actually, I do WAY more now than I did back then.  And I could probably do it with my eyes closed.

I’m programmed.

I once learned that the brain deletes neurons that are undeveloped or unused.  Like, if you don’t stimulate them by the time you’re eleven, the brain decides they are unneeded baggage and dumps them.  That’s why little kids can learn a foreign language easier and faster than adults.  My kids are great at jigsaw puzzles, but I’m not.  You see, my jigsaw puzzle neurons weren’t stimulated before I was eleven so my brain deleted them.

At least that’s what I’ve always told my kids.

I’m trying to learn a new computer program right now; it runs the beast in my living room.  My mind is having such a hard time remembering which button to push in which sequence, what information to input and what not to….ugh….it’s so frustrating!!  It's driving me absolutey bonkers to be so stinkin' needy.

But I suppose there is hope.  I suspect if I do it long enough the whole thing will become natural.


In the meantime, if you see any neurons running around with my name on them, would you let me know?

I want them back.

The Public Speaks

It only took a day, but I've made a decision.  

The public (that's you) has spoken and the vote was unanimous.  

I'm keeping my blog title She Likes Skirts

I'm relieved.  I like my title.  I like my blog.  And I really like those that give up a minute of their day to read it.

I've been encouraged at different times throughout my life to pursue writing, but, well, I didn't.  Other things needed my attention.  Things like jobs, house payments, gas bills, divorce, single parenting, know, the stuff that life is made of.  We walk through our circumstances each day, celebrating the highs and surviving the lows.  Once in a while, we need to take a deep breath and take a look around.

This blog is my deep breath.  And my look around.

I'll conclude my little blog title crisis with a quote from one of my favorite movies,  You've Got Mail...

"The odd thing about this form of communication is that you're more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings."

Thank you for reading my nothing.  You've turned it into something.

Skirt Girl

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Title Trouble

Apparently there's trouble in River City with my blog title.

(FYI...I do live in a city with a river.)

I never thought about "skirt chasers" when I titled my blog.  I just thought about how much I like to wear skirts.  I do not want anybody to be confused about who I am, what my blog is for or what it's about.


I figured out that it's pretty easy to change a blog name and address, so I'm willing.  But I have no idea what I want to change my title to.

I'm seeking help from the public.  That would be you. :)

If you have a suggestion, please post a comment at the bottom of the page, or respond to this post on Facebook.  I would make it a contest, but I have nothing to give away.  Wait!  I've got it.  The prize is a jar of my raspberry jam.  

I would tell you my raspberry jam is world renowned, but it's not.  It's just really good. 

(If you happen to live far away, I'll mail it to you.  I promise.)

I hate to bother you (the public), but I really am stuck about this name thing.  And I really appreciate your help.  


From Skirt Girl (for now, that's still me.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Old Blue Eyes

Summers where I work can be pretty quiet.  That doesn't mean I have nothing to do, trust me, I have tons.  But we operate with a skeleton crew, so the daily traffic coming and going is much less than during the school year. 

Today I was the only part of the skeleton that remained.  I held down the fort. 

Please don't comment on what part of the skeleton that would make me.

I missed having somebody to talk to, so I turned the radio on.  That didn't last long; the commercials drove me bonkers.   Desperate for some noise, I started scouting around for CDs.  I found a Mozart compilation that came dangerously close to coaxing my eyes shut.  I ejected that one in a hurry.

One of my coworkers enjoys folk music; I found one of her CDs.  I discovered quickly that I can only take a limited amount of uber twang.

I hope she's not reading this.

I finally found a generic CD that had Old Blue Eyes written across it in permanent black marker.  I realize I'm only 50, but I do know who that is.

I spent the afternoon tapping my toe and dancing in my ergonomic chair.  I was actually surprised at how many of the songs I knew, mostly because I've heard them on movies.  I had no idea that Frank Sinatra is the one who made them famous.

I don't know a whole lot about Frank.  I know my mother swooned over him back in the day.  He was a member of The Rat Pack, though I'm not sure why that is so significant.  It's also suspected that he had mob ties.

Oh, and he had blue eyes.

I imagine back in his hay day Frank never would have dreamed his music would one day be treated so irreverantly.  I mean, a CD that had been copied?  Black marker?  It's kind of sad.

I suppose it doesn't matter, I still enjoyed it.  But...I wonder what he would say.  I googled him and found out he died in 1998, so I can't ask.

That's okay.  I'll just wait a few years and ask Justin Bieber.

Friday, June 10, 2011


When my son was 14, he asked me if he could get his ear pierced.  I told him I would think about it, and I did.  There wasn’t an ounce of rebellion behind the request; he simply wanted an earring because he thought it would look cool.  He was responsible, had good grades, and loved his mom; I couldn’t really find a reason to say no. We talked about the consequences of an earring; that he might eventually have to remove it to get certain jobs, etc.  Obviously those kinds of things seem pretty far away when you’re 14, but he understood.  So I took him down to the hair salon and he got his ear pierced.

A couple of years later he decided he wanted his other ear pierced.  Again, I could find no reason to say no.

He wore those earrings all through high school and college; they never once held him back.

Fast forward several years….

Last summer we were in a classy men’s store buying a suit for my son's upcoming wedding.  I asked him if he was going to wear his earrings on his wedding day; he said no, they had decided he would take them out.  I understood.  And on that day, right before he walked me down the aisle, I realized he was still wearing his earrings.  He quickly removed them, handing them to his best man. 

My son got married earringless.

I kind of worried about those earrings.  I didn’t want his holes to close up. 

A couple weeks after the wedding, I asked my son if he had gotten his earrings back.  He said he and his wife had decided he should leave them out, that he looked more employable without them.

They were right, of course, but I have to admit I was a little sad.  I don't even know why.

Last weekend I walked into church and saw a young man I love a lot.  He had been wearing his hair long since he graduated from high school three years ago and though it surprised me the first time I saw it, it had become a part of him. He’s getting married this summer, and I wondered if he would cut his hair before the wedding.  There he was on Sunday, with very short hair.  He looked great, but I was a little sad.

“Nice haircut,”  I said.  “It makes you look….hmmmm…..more employable!”

He grinned at me and said,  “I already have a job.”

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Girls' Night

Last Friday night a couple of girlfriends came over to hang out.  I love a night with the girls every once in a while.  You just never know what we're going to find to entertain ourselves. 

I must admit, this past Friday was particularly wild; we got a little carried away.  We bought fabric online, looked at quilt patterns and ate ice cream. 

I'm glad the neighbors didn't complain.  We probably wouldn't have heard the police knock above all the noise.

When the girls arrived, I was in the middle of a project and fully focused.  I hollared at them to come in, and they did.  We bantered back and forth while I finished what I was doing; I'm ashamed to say I wasn't paying very close attention to them.  Finally, my gaze was drawn to something I hadn't yet seen.  One of my friends had gotten her hair cut.

I must admit, I gasped out loud.

It was a really big deal.  I've known this woman most of her life and I don't ever remember her cutting her hair.

It was stunning.  Bold.  New.  Refreshing.  I couldn't believe what a difference it made in her appearance.  It made her look much more mature...which I wouldn't want, but she was pleased.

I think her new 'doo makes her look at least 9.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Red Shoes

My friend showed up at church one Sunday with a really nice pair of red shoes.  Like, nice...the kind that cost $100.00 or more.

I realize that might not be a lot of money to spend on shoes for some people.  It is to me.  But I had recently tweaked my back hauling heavy boxes around at work and the chiropractor told me I needed better shoe support.

Besides, I wanted red shoes.

I went down to the spendy shoe store in town to shop.  I couldn't find the exact pair my friend had, but I bit the bullet and walked out of the store with a pair much like them.

The shoes started bothering me right away.  I tried to get comfortable in them, I really did.  But they didn't fit right, they were too short.  I had spent too much money to let them sit around and collect dust, so I took them with me when I visited my daughter a year ago.  They didn't fit her, but my sister was there and she loved them.  She was delighted to get the red shoes.

Shortly after I returned home, my daughter let me know my sister had forgotten to take them with her.

The red shoes sat in my daughter's closet for a year.  And when I visited last month, I found them sitting prominently in the room my sister and I would be sharing.  When we were packing to leave, I reminded my sis not to forget them.  She said there was no way she had room in her suitcase.  So, I brought them home.

I wore them yesterday, and they were really comfortable.  My friend noticed them, too.

"Nice shoes!" she said, "I really like that color of brown."

I think tomorrow I'll go shopping for a pair of red shoes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Combat Zone

I mowed my yard last weekend.  First time this year.

I wish I could say I mowed the grass, but I can't.  I mowed dandelions, fireweed, horsetail, leaves, twigs, raspberry shoots and some dog...well, you know.  I think there may have been a few blades of grass in there somewhere.

It always amazes me how hard I have to work to get things I want to grow to grow, and how prolific the things are that I attempt to kill.  It's a battle I fight every year, with varying degrees of success.

Most of the opponents in my yard don't inflict bodily injury, but the raspberries do.  They like to jump out and bite me when I'm mowing.  And for some reason the scratches they inflict really burn.  If it's warm outside and I'm wearing long sleeves, you'll know I've been pruning dead wood out of the raspberries.

They are dangerous even in death. 

I do have a few weapons in my arsenal. Two bags of Weed & Feed should help...well, it will try. I'm kind of fertilizer challenged.  I've been told the trick is move quickly when pushing the spreader and try not to overlap rows.  Every year I think I've done just that, and then the dark green stripes show up.

Ever tried to hide fertilizer stripes?  You can't. 

I keep hoping to start a new trend.

So...the battle will rage throughout the summer months.  Mother Nature will call a truce sometime in September when she blankets everything with a heavy frost, and then both my yard and I will retreat back behind enemy lines to lick our wounds and plot for next year.

In the meantime, I had the chance to chat with my neighbor on Monday.  "Your yard looks great!" she said,  "It always does."


I'm hoping intimidation picks up where fertilizer leaves off.