Wonder Woman for President

I watched the TV series Wonder Woman in it’s original run (The Mighty Isis was the first woman superhero to make TV).  The series stared Lynda Carter, who had won Miss World USA.

I grew up reading a big book of the old Wonder Woman comics.  The stunts in the TV show were awesome.  Never got too violent; they were more of the showy, flashy ones that were typical of the 70s shows (Bionic Woman, Knight Rider, Six Million Dollar Man).

My favorite season was the second season.  That’s where they brought the stories into the current era and introduced both spies and science fiction.  Particularly memorable was one episode where David Hedison guest starred as a charming thief who romanced a queen (still one of my favorite performances of his).  I always thought there was a sequel in there, but disappointingly not.

Now Lynda Carter is going to be playing the President of the United States on Supergirl!  That’s going to be awesome.

On the exercise front

Let’s start with the fact that I’m still doing the exercises, which has kind of amazed me. I really haven’t stayed on anything for that long.

I’m also continuing to enjoy it, which is very surprising. I’ve always associated anything exercise related as “not fun.” It’s kind of hard to find something fun when the elementary school team captains saved me for last selection and then argued over who got me, because neither one wanted me.

I did have to go off the videos online because Me.TV stopped at 20. I thought I would get bored repeating the same ones over and over, so I got two books by Jack La Lanne. Then I promptly did bad things to my feet, legs, and back, all parts of my body that I’ve injured over the years, probably due to my flat feet. I want those to improve, if possible, but it’s been hard figuring out how not to overdo it!

So getting the videos will help me better with the progression.  Until I get them, I’ve been sort of rotating between the exercises—not counting sets, but listening to when I feel the muscles starting to fatigue and then doing two reps past that.

Meanwhile, the Washington, DC weather is starting to shift into fall. It’s actually been doing that since August (so my sinuses have told me), but we’ve had largely good weather. It was gorgeous for the Pope’s arrival, and after he left, then it got colder. Coincidence?

The leaves are starting to change. However, we didn’t get any rain for almost a month, so we might not have good colors this year. A lot of the leaves seem to be going right to brown and dried and dropping off.  Hopefully that doesn’t bode for heavy snow this year.

I’m a size 12 or large or a medium or a small or an extra small

I’ve been trying to buy a few clothes for the cruise coming up, and also because the weather is starting to change. I don’t think tank tops will work really well when the temperature starts to drop.

Anyway, one of the things I’ve been looking for is cocktail pants (which I kept typing as cocktail paints.  Hmm.  Maybe a title for a story?).  There are are two formal events on the cruise, and I really don’t do dresses.  Pants would be something I could use elsewhere, but a dress would likely stay in the closet.

Plus, with my flat feet, I can’t wear certain types of shoes—which is pretty much all women’s shoes.

Well, I still could, but I would be hobbling around within about five minutes of putting them on. I hated the Army pumps we had to wear with the class A’s—I was in so much pain that an officer growled at me that I was a disgrace to the uniform (well, yeah, you try jamming the widest part of your foot into a point).

So I’m hoping the pants will hide the shoes, and the cruise staff won’t turn me away for footwear. It’d be one of these:

A pair of black tennis shoes and a pair of sandals.
My “formal wear” shoes. These both are made by the same company, for flat feet. The shoe salesman (a retired podiatrist) said that there’s very little for flat feet that looks good.

Anyway, Macy’s had three different cocktail pants on their website, but no one in the store knew what I was talking about. I did find four shirts, all in medium, that will be good for the fall. I can use two of them for the evening dining.

Four long sleeved shirts: Purple and black in back, pinkish orange and blue in front
The one on the left is an orangish-pink. I kept looking at it and saying, “No, I don’t look good in orange” (like pumpkin orange). But I was drawn to the color, so I tried it on and was happy with how it looked. The purple and black would be for the cruise.

I also found a sleeveless sweater I liked. Tried on the medium. Too big. Tried on the small. Too big. Tried on the extra small. Just right.

I’m guessing I’m going to order the pants online from the store, but as you can see, I have reasons to be wary.

Store #2 was one of those ones that gets brands after they’re out of season, so really cheap. They had Calvin Klein evening wear that was dressy pants. However, it was part of what was a maxi dress style, so one piece, and it was clearly designed for a woman who was five inches taller than me. The crotch of the pants was down around my knees, and the hems still pooled around my ankles. I wasn’t even sure I could get it altered in a way where I could wear it.

So I looked at some cocktail dresses. I picked black, tried those on. None of them fit well—they all seemed to be designed for someone who is shaped like a stick, and I’m definitely not stick-shaped!

That’s one of the things I don’t like about buying clothes. There’s no standard for women’s sizes, so the companies all go for vanity sizes. That means it varies from brand to brand, with everyone competing for increasingly smaller numbers that make people feel good but don’t mean anything.

I just want clothes that fit with guessing at the sizes!  Is that too hard to ask for?

And done: I bought the pants online. They were on sale, and a really good deal on the sale, so I pulled the plug on them. Keeping my fingers crossed. Wearing white’s kind of scary, too.

Weekend Musings: Exercise

It’s now been about seven, eight weeks, but I’ve started exercising more again. Beyond walking anyway. It started with Me-TV, of all things, and Facebook. They posted an advertisement for Jack La Lanne’s show that they would be airing online.

I had vague memories of the show, so I tuned in. And I’m watching this show and going, “I could do this,” and I started doing it and it was kind of fun. I could also see a change right away.

I’ve always had a bad history with physical exercise. I have flat feet, which are hereditary in my family. In my case, my feet roll in when I walk, and then drop all the way to ground. It makes for bad running, or anything else involving the feet.

In 7th grade they had the bean run. We’d run around the exercise field and when we passed the teacher, she’d give us an uncooked pinto bean. The more times we ran around in the allotted time, the more beans we got, and then afterwards everyone would count them up.

I was always the last one in and the one with the fewest beans.

That trend continued in the Army, which absolutely loved running. The formation would take off fast, and I would try to keep up. But the faster I ran, the more clumsy I felt, like I was going to careen out of control and slam into the people around me.

The Army was also good at humiliating people for not keeping up. A lot of times, they treated us as if we were lazy or needed extra training. Extra training consisted of doing it more.

But it sometimes veered into cruel.

Some of the guys would make nasty remarks. One sergeant kept making such juvenile remarks to me that I ended up going to my squad leader to get him to stop.

And I also kept hurting myself trying to keep up, so I was really glad to stop when I got out of the Army.

But I’ve also felt the lack of exercise.

I’d tried the gym off and on over the years. But the weights got boring quickly, and time was always a factor. Who wants to get off work, then spend an hour driving back and forth to the gym? I’ve always liked the idea of the classes, but they tend to be very aggressive.

So trying Jack La Lanne’s exercises was a perfect fit for me because that focus is on using the muscle, and I don’t have to do any driving.  Unfortunately, Me TV stopped posting the videos about four weeks ago. Given the abrupt nature, I think a legal issue cropped up. I started repeating the videos, but I got one of the books (thanks Amazon!).

My overall goal is to lose weight to help my feet, but right now the goal is just simply to do it and have fun doing it.

Beds, Military Style

When you live in the barracks, you’re kind of stuck with what you have. I’ve heard the military has tried to improve things, but there is a tendency to think of soldiers as children.

The beds, for example.

We were assigned beds that were originally in life bunk beds. We’d probably be still using them as bunk beds but there was a urban legend that an accident had caused Fort Lewis to outlaw them. According to the legend, over a four day weekend, a top bunk had crashed down on the bottom one, killing both the soldiers. No one found out until Tuesday morning.

But the bed was a twin bed, for an adult. In hind sight, that’s a tough fit for any adult. It’s more of something you give to kids. I’d always wake up and find an arm or a leg hanging off the bed, or smashed up against the wall, probably because of the sense there wasn’t really enough room.

I can’t imagine how some of the guys managed! We had some really big guys.

What about the sheets?

The bed clothes were furnished by the army — two cheap, thin, flat  sheets; two wool blankets; and a pillow.

Once a week, we stripped the bed to air out the mattress. Someone came around and picked up the sheets and replaced them with a pile of fresh ones. Sometimes they would be clean but stained.

We did have to use what the military issued us. However, we could add to it, so some of the women would add bedspreads. I got one of those mink blankets from a local flea market. It wasn’t real mink, but soft and thick. You’ve probably seen them hanging in stores and roadside stands. They usually have big pictures of animals on them like a buck. Mine was light purple, with a tiger.

I usually slept on top of the military blankets so I wouldn’t mess up the bed, and under the mink blanket. It was hard getting it made to where people were happy.

Is it true the bed had to be tight enough to bounce a quarter off of?

During an inspection, yes, but I never passed that. I simply couldn’t get it that tight. I’m not sure if it was just me, or if there was a point where I felt like it wasn’t worth the effort. Probably a little of both!

Saturday, According to Linda

This morning, I went out to eat for breakfast at IHOP, which I do every Saturday. I did sleep late, which was like to about 7:00.  I like to take the newspaper and read over pancakes. There’s something special about a leisurely breakfast. The staff there knows me pretty well — I can do a half order on pancakes and get only 2 instead of 4, where I would only eat half.

After that, it’s hit the grocery store because it’s right nearby and I want to grab sales.  I’ve been stockpiling pantry items because the evil F word keeps getting mentioned on the news: Furlough.  Homeland Security’s getting it right now, but when the budget battles rolls around again, we’ll probably make that round, too.  This time, I want to have a good stock of supplies so I can shop there and keep the costs down when money isn’t coming in.  Plus, I was quite horrified to discover that the state I live is the most expensive in the U.S. when it comes to food, so I’m working on cutting the costs down.

Then it was off to Target because I needed to pick up a composition book for my March planner (green checks for spring.  I’m trying to be optimistic.  It was 18 out when I went to breakfast).  Later today, I’ll add CVS to the list — both these stores are for strategic use because I get a couple of benefits going today that I can use for when the expensive allergy medicine goes on sale.

Then it’s probably to the library, since I have to return books, and I might need to get gas.  I usually do that on Sunday, but tomorrow is supposed to snow again (spring anyone please?).  I’m currently reading Personal by Lee Child.

And somewhere in here, I’m finishing up a short story for a writing workshop I’m in.  The story is urban fantasy, called Ladymoon.  That was a last name I ran across, and it fit the story — yes, werewolves, but spy werewolves.  Spies are way cool, at least the fictional versions.  Washington DC has the Spy Museum, which was what led to the idea for the story.  I also have to review the material for the class.  I flipped it this week to give me an extra few days to do the story first.

I always end up running errands on Saturday — who wants to do all this coming home from work?  My ideal one is just simply not trying to jam all the errands into one day and spread them out over the week.  But it’s the time available.  I don’t want to go to a grocery store on Monday after work when it’s crowded, and I’m tired, and I feel like I have to rush.

From The Daily Post: What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?

there’s Organizing my way and the army’s way

A to Z Challenge Badge
A to Z Challenge Participant

For several years after I got out of the army, I thought was terribly disorganized.  I was messy and tended to pile things.  In fact, if you look at any site on organizing, these are both often touted as a sign of disorganization.  “File it, don’t pile,” they will say, often accompanied by a stern lecture and disbelief that anything can be found.

It’s hard because people will look at messiness and think that you’re disorganized and not productive. It’s also true that I’ve seen people who are messy and disorganized like the person with stacks of paper three feet high covering the entire desk and the floor. That was enough to make me queasy!

But in the army, they took the organizing to new levels. Some of it is because of what the army’s mission is: War. There are things that you have to do in order because that might cause an accident, or worse. Maintaining discipline helps with the chaos that war turns into.

But it was worse for the barracks soldier. If you had a spouse or kids, or both, you lived off post in your own home. Once you left work, you could organize whatever way you wanted. The barracks soldier had to keep her room ready for inspection at all times, and some parts had to be a certain way. We had silly rules like you couldn’t put a magazine on a table top, or if you had a pack of cigarettes (not that I smoked), it couldn’t be out. Everything had to be put away, always.

I need to see stuff as part of how I do things. Like I’m working on this A to Z post, and I have a pile on which there’s a calendar so I can see what day to post it. I also have a story I need to critique and that’s in the pile, too. If I put the story in a drawer in a file cabinet to be neat, I’ll forgot entirely because filing means it’s done and I don’t need to touch it again for a long time. Out of sight is really out of mind.

In the barracks, we had this three drawer chest that was probably about the size of a nightstand.  It was serviceable but ugly (curiously, I could not find a picture of it online.  Maybe that’s a clue on the ugliness!).  But I did find a picture of what it is was supposed to look inside.  We had a diagram of how it was supposed to look and it had to follow that at all times.  I ended up have a set of all this stuff for that chest, and then a separate set of stuff that I actually used because it was so hard to get it exactly to inspection standards.  That made it terrible for the limited storage because I was having to buy two of everything.  Though I did get sneaky.  I discovered that if the drawer looked neat on the top, with all the clothes nicely folded, they didn’t look to see if there was chaos underneath.

Oh, yes, I was a bad soldier.

On the work side, since I was in an office, my squad leader was always getting on me about how my desk looked, and I kept thinking, “But how am I supposed to work?” I also had this one sergeant who would follow behind me and rearrange supplies because he wasn’t happy with how they looked. Oooh-kaaaay …

Looking back on it now, I often like I couldn’t be me, really, anywhere. This was such an issue that when I was able to finally move into an apartment, I went almost entirely in the opposite direction and exploded with messiness. I ended up having to bring it back more to the center and understand how I needed to organize.

So it was quite a shock after I got out of the army and a coworker told me she envied my organization skills. Organized? Me? When I’m so messy? So it’s been an evolving experience away from what the army taught me to what really does work for me.

Next up will be “the Practicality of the army uniform” so tune in, same military channel, same military time tomorrow.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Stargate SG-1 Mashup

An awesome mashup of clips from Star Trek Deep Space Nine with Stargate SG-1 music.  Enjoy!

It was the best of stories and the worst of stories

As I’m writing this, I have the fan on and the windows open and the heat off.  Washington, DC went from ice on the ground cold to spring temperatures!  (It’ll go back to 30 for Christmas).

I just got my Entertainment Weekly, which I’ve actually subscribed to since the first issue.  I’m an entertainment junkie — I just love reading about movies and television and actors.  At the end of the year, they always do a a Best of/Worst of list, which includes movies, television, and books.  The lists are always fun to look at to see if what I think and have heard matches up with what the critics say.
Sometimes it doesn’t.  Critics are probably the worst choices for these lists because they see so much of the same thing all the time that something different will stand out, even if it’s not that good.  That’s why you’ll see a critic highly praise a movie. and meanwhile, you’re wondering what he was smoking.
But bad is usually pretty consistent, once we start narrowing down movies or books to lists.  Then it starts to come down to what really made it the worst, and that’s usually story or characters.  Screw those up and nothing else will be able to compensate for it.
But it’s the Best of that’s more subjective.  For example, some readers will love a book because of the evocative writing, which is how the sentences and wording comes across.  Others will love the story or the characters.  As a reader, I need story and characters and would like a bit of the evocative writing.  I want the book to sound a little more special, but I don’t want one dimensional characters, nor do I want naval gazing.
That’s where the Best of lists become more subjective, and also one of the reasons why I don’t trust them — or 5 star reviews — to give me information as to why I should buy a book.  Twilight gets a lot of good and bad reviews, and all I can tell you is that I read two chapters and that was all I could tolerate.  I hated the main character.  On the other hand, I read The Da Vinci Code, also another book that was very controversial, and enjoyed it.
I think that’s one of the challenges of writing stories, because you have to be able to look into the head of the reader (even though you obviously can’t) and figure out what they’re thirsting for, what’s not out there now, or what hasn’t been done to death.  Sometimes it’s easy to want to write about something to exorcise the infamous “demons” and end up with a story no one wants to read.  I think this is where writers who want to explore a really dark area get into trouble, because readers want to escape, not be immersed in things that a little too real.
This was one of the problems I had following Desert Storm.  So many things happened, and I wanted to write about them all — and specifically them.  Yet, the writer in me knew that it wasn’t going to make a good story that other people want to buy.  Now, some 22 years later, I’m separated enough from those experiences that I can take small — very small — pieces and slip them into stories and they can become something readers want to read.
Best or worst, it really is still about the story.
Meanwhile, what’s on your holiday book giving list?

Reading by War Light

Earlier this week, a story was making the rounds about Tom Cruise saying his movie training was as tough as serving in Afghanistan, but it turned out to not true.  A magazine took comments he made waaaayyyy out of context.  But it made me think about a soldier’s life during war.

A lot of it was boring.  Which is a good thing and a bad thing.  Good is that nothing is happening to you, but bad is plenty of time to think about something bad happening to you.  And it was like that every single day.  Our world was our camp (Area of Operation if you want the military jargon), and we didn’t go outside of it except on truck convoys.

Books became a source of entertainment for us.  We had a small library of sorts in front of the chaplain’s tent.  It was a cardboard box of paperback books.  So not a lot of books, and definitely not a lot of choices.  The soldiers would take a book and leave the one they had just read in the box.  I’m a very fast reader, so I started out with the books that interested me, plowed through those, then went next to the books that didn’t interest me.

One of those was a young adult book about a boy who had been an automobile accident and his mother had died.  Now he was dealing with the loss of his mother and seeing it.  I would have never ordinarily even read the book.

The next thing I knew, I was headed for home on an emergency Red Cross message because my mother was dying.

I still have the book.  I’ve never reread it again, but I still remember it.