I’m afraid to stop watching the news

Click here to provide a musical accompaniment to today’s post. Your choices are  “Keep the Radio On” by The Lonely Boys and “Listen to the Radio by Kathy Mattea.  Listen to both. Why not?

I never used to listen to the radio while I worked. I preferred to allow my thoughts to run free in the silence, to deal only with the messages received by my own five senses. Not anymore. Not since 9/11, when I discovered that my grad school was closed due to the “national tragedy” and I didn’t know what the tragedy was. I turned on the television and saw planes crashing, smoke billowing, people running, crying, bleeding.

Day after day, I sat with the radio or television on, watching firefighters digging in the rubble for their comrades, hoping the missing people would somehow be found alive. I wept through the memorial services and listened to President Bush promise that we would stamp out the evildoers. I watched videotape of Afghani teenagers training for war and President Bush’s “shock and awe” attack on Iraq. It was awful, but I was afraid to look away. Who knew where the terrorists might attack next?

In 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated, my brother and I were home sick with chicken pox. Walter Cronkite interrupted our television show to tell us the president had been shot. Like most Americans, our family sat in front of the television the entire weekend. After the funeral, when it was all over, we turned the television off reluctantly, afraid something else would happen when we weren’t looking.

And it did. A few years later, I listened to the radio late at night as Sen. Robert Kennedy celebrated his victory in the California presidential primary. I fell asleep happy, not knowing that minutes after I pushed the off button, Robert Kennedy would be killed.

One day in 1986, while I was buying stamps at the Post Office, people seemed to be talking about some major event.

“What’s going on?” I asked the clerk.

“The space shuttle blew up.” He pointed to a TV screen behind him. We paused mid-transaction to watch videotape of the Challenger exploding in mid-air.

Three years later, during the Loma Prieta earthquake that devastated the Bay Area, I was doing research at the San Jose library. The first thing I did when I got to my car was turn on the radio. The Bay Bridge had collapsed. The World Series game between the Giants and the A’s had been canceled. The quake was worse than I thought.

Lately, we have seen terrorist attacks in London, Manchester, Orlando, Paris and other places. Men were stabbed on a Portland train for defending two women against anti-Muslim epithets. A few days ago, a gunman opened fire at a Republican senators’ baseball practice. It keeps happening. It’s online, on the screen and on the air. Sometimes it seems the media makes too much of things. Everything is “breaking news,” and the talking heads say the same things and play the same video clips repeatedly, but we watch, mesmerized.

In this volatile world of mass attacks and Trumpmania, I’m hooked up to Facebook, CNN and NPR all day long, afraid I’ll miss something. Even at the beach or in the woods, I can check the headlines on my cell phone. If something happens, I will not be taken by surprise as I was on 9/11. Maybe it’s partly my years as a newspaper reporter, but I need to know what’s going on.

Perhaps it’s genetic. My mother always had the radio on. Growing up, she listened to news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, to President Roosevelt’s fireside chats, and to reports of Roosevelt’s death. She also listened to baseball games, soap operas and the Arthur Godfrey show. The radio murmuring in the background kept her connected to the national consciousness while she baked cookies and ironed clothes. If anything happened, she would know.

Now when I pass a television, I can’t resist clicking on CNN to see what’s happening. The browser on my computer opens to the news. All of my radios are set on NPR.

It’s hard to write with the media on. The voices are distracting. Some of the music and all of the commercials irritate me. Why don’t I just turn it off? If I had no radio, TV or Internet, I wouldn’t be upset by distant events. I could just worry about whether the wind will knock down the aging spruce at the corner of my yard or whether the rain will turn to snow. On a sunny day, I could walk my dog on the beach with no idea of anything bad happening somewhere else.

When I hear about upsetting events, I am pulled into the national sadness. I have not personally lost anything. I’m still eating meat loaf for dinner and watching “The Bachelorette” at 8:00. But I fear that the day I turn my back will be the day events from far away suddenly roll over me like a sneaker wave and pull me out to sea.

So I turn on the news. Just in case. In fact, I think the president’s press secretary is speaking now. Gotta go.

More on this topic:

“Are You Addicted to the News?” This article offers a fascinating hypothesis, that perhaps we are addicted to the news, despite its anxiety-producing qualities, because anxiety is preferable to boredom. What do you think?

“We’ve All Become Addicted to the Drug of News” Writer Chris Moss talks about why we’re so addicted to something that doesn’t do us much good at all. Like booze or computer games.

In “Overcoming News Addiction,” Steve Palina says the news is depressing, slanted, shallow, and wastes our time, so why are we still checking the news? How would it feel to go cold-turkey?

How about you? Are you hooked on news or do you avoid it? Whom do you trust to tell the truth? How does it affect you to hear about disasters happening elsewhere? Why watch?

Telling Those Little Green Lies

43624345 - green apple with water drop close upShortly after I cross the border into California, I come to an agricultural inspection station. All vehicles must stop. There’s no way around it. Back in the days of the 1989 Mediterranean fruit fly scare, I trembled at the thought. I can remember having to open up my ice chest for the inspectors, who proceeded to confiscate my produce. I remember having to throw out the vegetables my grandfather had just gifted me from his garden. I remember hurriedly eating an apple so it would be gone before I hit the border.

But when I drove to California after Dad broke his leg in March, I packed a cooler full of produce from home so I could eat it at my father’s house in San Jose. Zucchini, corn, tomatoes, apples, grapefruit. I refused to let it rot. And I did eat it, except for a golden delicious apple that I carried all the way to San Jose and back before consuming back in my own kitchen.

I hid my red and white ice chest under blankets and grocery bags in the back of my Honda Element. I held my breath and put on my most innocent smile. But it didn’t matter. The inspector neither looked nor asked if I was carrying any produce. He just wished me a nice day. Ma’am.

If he had asked, I would have lied. On other trips, I have driven through with apples in my bag on the seat beside me, smiled and said, “Nope,” when asked if I had any fresh fruits or vegetables.

Shame on me. It’s not good to lie.

But here’s the thing. I buy my produce at the grocery store. I don’t pick it off the trees or out of the fields. It does not have bugs. If it had bugs, I would not buy it. Most of it was originally grown in California anyway.

Usually, they take one look at me and wave me on. Aging white lady privilege. Or maybe it’s that I’m coming from Oregon in a relatively small car as opposed to an 18-wheeler from Texas or Tennessee. On my last trip through, I saw inspectors going through a long, low sedan driven by a group of young Mexican men. Trunk open, doors open, stuff out on the pavement. Why are they any more likely to bring contraband food across the border than I am? Racial profiling?

The California Department of Food and Agriculture website reveals some facts I didn’t know. The inspectors are looking for all plant life that might carry invasive species they don’t want in California. That includes things like firewood and hay. Also critters like ferrets and livestock. I suppose if I were carrying some of our legal marijuana that would deserve a look, too. In this article from a Las Vegas newspaper, the writer says sometimes they inspect the vehicle itself for hitchhiking bugs. Thank God Oregon is not a buggy state.

I thought the inspections started with the medfly crisis. Wrong. They’ve been inspecting vehicles at the borders since the 1920s. There are 16 inspection stations in California, located at all the major highways coming into the state. CDFA claims California’s plants are relatively bugfree and they want to keep them that way. The inspectors are not law enforcement agents; the worst they can do for you is take away your produce, but it’s still a worry for drivers passing through.

Most other states don’t have inspection stations. Florida does. Everything leaving Hawaii goes through an agricultural check. Coming into Oregon, folks bringing boats and commercial trucks have to stop, but the rest of us just ease on down the road.

Gosh I feel guilty now about lying. But I will probably continue to smuggle fruits and veggies from the J.C. Market across the border. If I start bringing hay, trees or baby goats, I’ll let them look. And if my dog joins me, she’ll be hanging out the window, ready to spill the beans. If she hasn’t already eaten them.

***

Speaking of the dog, Annie’s incision is healing well and she’s walking on all four feet more often than not. Her fur has started growing back. She is scheduled to have her staples removed tomorrow afternoon. I have been counting the hours since last week. She still has to take it easy, but once the staples are gone, I can remove the inflatable collar, which will make her a lot more comfortable and allow her to go through the doggie door on her own. She will fit in her crate again. Best of all, I can leave the house without her. Hallelujah.

As for my other patient, Dad is still in the wheelchair in the nursing home and itching to get out. His doctor appointment is a week from Tuesday. At his age, healing is not guaranteed. Pray that he gets some good news.

On my next trip to California, I definitely won’t be carrying any fruit. I’m flying, and you  can’t get fruit past the security checkpoint. Wouldn’t it be nice if they served apples or strawberries on the plane instead of those bags of nutritionally worthless pretzel snacks? Come on, Alaska Airlines.

***

Text copyright Sue Fagalde Lick 2017, photo copyright: klaikungwon / 123RF Stock Photo

It’s all about the dog these days

IMG_20170601_163600329_HDR[1]Life these days is a dance with a pooch, le pas de chien, the “pas de dog.” My partner, Annie, 74 pounds of Lab and pit bull love, is rocking a blue inflatable collar, a back right leg shaved from her privates to her ankle, and a three-inch incision closed with 13 staples. A surgeon in Springfield, Oregon, 100 miles from here, rejiggered her leg to fix torn anterior cruciate and meniscus ligaments. Annie spent two nights in the doggy hospital while I prepared for a long spate of caregiving, stocking up on groceries, washing her blankets, and clearing my schedule for two weeks of full-time Annie.

Annie gets 12 pills a day, organized in days-of-the-week pillboxes. Getting the pills down has been a challenge. I tried pumpkin (nope), peanut butter (yes), meat loaf (God, yes) and shoving it down her throat (projectile spitting). Yesterday a friend brought two packages of pill pockets from the pet store. Remember Rollo candies? They look like that except they’re made of flavored dough into which you insert the pills. Annie loves them. Pill time is now fun time.

Ask me what’s new. It’s all about the dog. It’s all about keeping her from licking her stitches for two weeks and keeping her from running, jumping or playing for eight weeks. Because she can’t fit through the doggie door with her big collar and I don’t dare let her loose in the massive yard with its multi-level decks, it’s about taking her up and down 97th Court on a leash every few hours and letting her into the dog pen whenever I think about it. She does surprisingly well on three legs, occasionally letting the injured leg down. She never complains of pain, but she does complain about being confined. The pen is bigger than many backyards, but she keeps going to the gate and whining.

It’s about me sitting in the dog pen with her because if she can’t go out, neither can I. It’s about watching her constantly, waking up in the night and listening for her moving around, jumping up from my desk to make sure she is all right. It’s about sitting on the floor with her head in my lap, telling her what a great dog she is.

It’s all about the dog. We are on retreat together. I’m enjoying the quiet time to read, write, practice yoga, and do my chores. Annie likes that we’re together 24/7. I like that the weather has been perfect so we can sit outside. There’s nothing like spring on the Oregon coast. The sky is cobalt blue, the robins and doves are singing, the neighbor’s rooster is crowing, and the rhodies are blooming. The air feels like a warm caress.

Annie’s X-rays look very much like my Father’s broken-leg X-rays, the hardware bright white against the gray of the bones and flesh. But Annie will be walking long before Dad, who is not loving his time at the nursing home. Meanwhile, like Dad, we go from room to room, go outside to sit in the sun, take pills, eat meals, sit quietly counting the days.

This morning, when Annie woke up at 4:40 a.m., I was not ready to be awake. I gave her food and water and took her out for a piddle. Then, God forgive me, I fed her a sedative in a peanut butter pill pocket and went back to bed. When I woke up three hours later, she was sound asleep, praise God. It’s going to be a long couple of weeks.

I thank all the friends who have offered their prayers, encouragement and pill-giving advice. This is not my first time through dog knee surgery. Our old dog Sadie had surgery on both of her knees. You can read about it in Shoes Full of Sand. It was harder in some ways. We didn’t have the inflatable collar, just the plastic cone, and I didn’t get much sleep. But it was easier because I had my husband Fred to help me. Now it’s just me and the pup doing our pas de dog.

***

Amazon is currently offering my Shoes Full of Sand book at half price. Click the link and give it a read.

 

It’s Knees to Me–Annie preps for surgery

IMG_20150902_184515698[1]I stared at the X-ray of Annie’s knee, feeling a wave of déjà vu. Only two weeks ago, I was looking at my father’s X-ray, which showed his broken leg bone and the plate installed to secure the pieces. Annie is going to have a plate, too, same shape, just smaller, to deal with her torn anterior cruciate ligament. The only difference is that she will be able to walk afterward. Also, she’ll have to wear a cone on her head to keep her from biting her stitches.

This also took me back to the early 2000s when our old dog Sadie had surgeries for torn ACLs in both knees. You can read about that adventure in Shoes Full of Sand. In those days, Newport’s Dr. Jay Fineman did the surgery at his office, using sutures and the remnants of the ruptured ligaments. Things have gotten fancier now. Dr. F. has retired to other vet ventures, and his successors don’t do this surgery on big dogs like Annie, so we had to go out of town.

It was the longest drive Annie ever took, all the way to Springfield, 100 miles each way. The dog didn’t understand what was happening as I rushed around getting ready. Why was I putting her blankets in the back of the car? Why was I urging her to “go potty?” When she gathered that we were going for a ride, she got so excited she leaped into the car on her own. Torn ligament? What torn ligament? As we drove past her regular vet’s office, she started shaking, but then we passed it. Wow! Where are we going?

I drove Highway 20 to Philomath, turning off at Mary’s River Park for a rest stop. Oh boy! This is where we’re going! I wish. It’s a nice park with picnic tables, trails, the river, and a vast grassy area. Annie pulled me this way and that, so excited I hated to have to tug her back to the car after she did her business, but we had an appointment down the road.

Springfield, just east of Eugene, is the home of “The Simpsons” on TV. Nice houses, big trees, a peaceful atmosphere. Oregon Veterinary Referral Associates, the fanciest veterinary hospital I have ever seen. Exuberant Annie dragged me to the reception desk. I struggled to fill out forms, hold the dog, and answer the incessant questions of a pixy-haired child beside me who kept asking me what my dog’s name was. “Annie.” “What’s her name?” “Annie.” “What’s her name?” The girl was one of twins, about four years old with matching haircuts and matching dresses. Each had a small stuffed dog that Annie found very interesting. Their mother and grandmother waited with them. I suppose their real dog was inside.

Annie had to greet every human and animal that came in. When a small snub-nosed critter that was all head and minimal body entered, my sweet dog went all Cujo, knocking over my water and scaring the kids. Luckily, the nurse called us in about then, taking us the long way around to avoid the other dog.

In an exam room with a black rug over a white linoleum floor and bench seats all around, Annie raced toward the counter, sure there must be dog treats there. Not at this place. They keep them in a drawer. On with the exam. Pulse, temperature, feel her up. Check the X-rays. Annie was so active that I hoped for a minute that this doctor, a gorgeous woman I’ll call Dr. C., might say she didn’t need surgery. No such luck. She brought out the visual aids, including a fake leg bone that Annie was dying to chew on and pictures to show exactly what would be done. After the surgery, Annie will be able to walk right away, although I’ll have to keep her from running or jumping. In eight weeks, she should be fully healed. (If only this vet was taking care of my dad’s leg. We don’t know when or if he’ll be able to walk again. For at least the next month, he’s stuck in his wheelchair in the nursing home.)

The doctor went out, and her blue-scrubs-clad assistant April came in to schedule the surgery, give me instructions, and go over the estimated costs. Oh my gosh. Big numbers. Did I look a little pale? Annie wasn’t worried. She lay on the rug, facing the counter, waiting for cookies and for a chance to get out of there.

Finally, my purse stuffed with papers, my head stuffed with information, we pushed out into the sun and took a walk around downtown Springfield. What a great place. Of course I was looking at the buildings, and Annie was sniffing the bushes. Maybe we should move here, I said. I say that about every town I like.

Then it was back on the road. One hour 55 minutes, no stops. I encouraged Annie to relax on her blankets in the back, but no, she had to see what was going on and she wanted to be close enough to touch me. The seat belt alarm kept going off as she perched on the passenger seat. Toward the end, she looked a little queasy.

When we get home, she will sleep, I thought. Ha. I accidentally left the screen door unlatched while I was unloading the car. Suddenly a tan dog-shaped bullet came flying by me. Annie, free at last, zoomed across the street, where she ran and played with Harley, the giant yellow Lab. Then she plunged into the trees and shrubs of the undeveloped property next door. I could hear her rustling around in leaves. Oh well. The doc said she couldn’t tear her ligament any more than it was already torn.

Eventually she worked herself into a dead end. I opened the newly repaired gate on the west side of our property and she walked in. She collapsed on the love seat. I collapsed beside her. Soon she was dreaming, her feet moving, her lips puffing in and out. I pet her knobby knee and leaned my head on her flank.

Knees again.

Walking through Yreka history–illegally

IMG_20170507_193817487_HDR[1]I didn’t see the no-trespassing sign until I had walked across the decaying platform, feeling the wood give under my feet as I snapped pictures of the old Yreka Western Railroad station and the abandoned train cars covered with graffiti. The sun was about to set, and there was no one around. I had had a long hard day and should have been relaxing in front of the TV at the Best Western instead of wandering around alone.  I considered ever so briefly that I might break my neck, but the writer in me couldn’t resist.

Yreka, near the California-Oregon border, is the halfway point on I-5 between San Jose and Newport. After seven hours of driving, I needed a walk. Usually I walk in town, looking in the windows of the shops, all closed by the time I get there, and the restaurants I might go into if I weren’t traveling solo. I say hello to the brass sculptures, nod at the firemen in the fire station, and study the sign at the Catholic church, thinking I might go to Mass in the morning, but I never do. I’m too anxious to get back on the road.

IMG_20170507_193905186[1]This time, I headed the other way, across the freeway, away from “town.” Up a hill lies an old cemetery where I walked among the graves, reading names and dates, imagining their stories. Taking a different path down the hill, I wound up close to the train station. The 1910 station building looks as if it just closed for the night, but it has been out of business for several years. After its citizens learned in the 1880s the Southern Pacific Railroad/aka California & Oregon Railroad planned to bypass their town, they built their own railroad line to connect up with the main line seven miles away in Montague. They moved the station in 1910 to avoid seasonal flooding at the original site. Trains used that line for passengers and freight for nearly 100 years. Starting in 1986, the city of Yreka operated a summer excursion train called the Blue Goose. But times change, and the Blue Goose went out of business. The station has sat idle for the last few years.

IMG_20170507_194120720[1]Imagine the stories that crumbling old platform could tell. I’m so glad I didn’t see the sign until I had walked all over the station, my only company a couple of crows cawing from the roof.

For more info:

http://yrekahistory.blogspot.com/2008/05/yreka-rail-station-1888-1910.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yreka_Western_Railroad

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMJFNK_Western_Railroad_Station_Yreka_CA

By the way, the origin of Yreka’s name is not what you might think, not what I thought. Here it is, courtesy of California City News:

Yreka comes from the Shasta Indian word “wáik’a’,” which roughly translates to “white mountain,” in reference to nearby Mount Shasta. An article from 1876 in the Yreka Journal said that the city was intended to be named Ieka, but through some kind of mistake, it was called “Wyreka.” The name stuck and the error continued (other than the dropping of the “w,” which officials considered superfluous.)

***

This was my third trip to California since March 25, when my 95-year-old father broke his leg. He will be riding the wheelchair and I’ll be doing the I-5 commute a while longer. Bones that old take a long time to heal. I have made the journey back to San Jose at least 50 times since we moved to Oregon 20 years ago, but I always see something new.

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I should have ridden the toaster to San Jose

Honda_Element WikipicI had so much fun flying to and from San Jose last week that I’m driving when I go back next week.

It’s not the fact that I’m 25,000 feet above the ground and will die if we crash. I don’t understand what keeps the plane in the air, but I put myself in God’s hands and try not to think about it. I love looking down at the landscape below, picking out the landmarks and enjoying the cloud patterns. I love that I can get from one place to another so quickly.

I flew Alaska Airlines from Eugene, Oregon to San Jose, California. Alaska is fine. They do their best. But there’s a lot about the flying experience I could do without.

Flying isn’t what it used to be. I used to enjoy airplane food with all those cute little packages. Now they toss you a bag of Cheetos or pretzels and a glass of something. They don’t let you bring your own food and drink through security, so you have to buy something in the terminal or go without. I hate the luggage restrictions. I’m constantly worried about being caught with something I’m not allowed to have on the plane. I have to pay $25 extra to check a suitcase which will be X-rayed and possibly searched?

The planes that fly short distances are getting so small you can’t walk down the aisle without raising your arms and scooting sideways. You can’t count on free movies or music anymore. Instead you can rent a tablet-type device. People sitting side by side don’t talk to each other. They turn on their phones, tablets or laptops, plug in their earplugs and tune out everything.

And I can’t imagine having sex in the bathroom. This one was so small they didn’t even have a sink, just a plastic bottle of hand sanitizer.

Flying anywhere from the Oregon coast means driving two or three hours to an airport in Eugene or Portland. Add that to the extra time needed for check-in and security, plus getting something to eat and drink, and it’s a whole-day adventure for an hour, forty-minute flight.

Then there’s security. If I’m lucky, I get the older woman who always goes to the same place treatment and can bypass taking off my shoes and jacket and unloading my laptop. It’s unnerving to be getting a half-dressed full-body X-ray in one place while my purse and computer are rolling off the conveyor belt somewhere else.

Things went all right with security this trip. The line in San Jose was long, but I didn’t have the problem I had last time I flew out of there. I was so rattled that when they asked for my ID, I handed them my debit card. Oh-oh, go straight to the problem-passenger line.

No, the trouble started when I decided to eat dinner at the sports bar near Gate 28 in the B terminal. It was 5:30, and the place was jammed. Tattooed waitresses in black kept passing by me instead of finding me a table. When I did get seated at a tiny table for one amid other tiny tables for one, nobody came. I watched the servers bring second and third beers to the guys at nearby tables, but I didn’t even have a glass of water. I was afraid I would run out of time if I tried somewhere else. After 25 minutes, I got up, chased a waitress down and threw a loud hissy fit while people stared at me. I am embarrassed to think about it now, but I got my food and drink in three minutes. It wasn’t very good, but this squeaky wheel got the grease.

When we boarded the plane, I found myself in the aisle seat next to an immense woman whose flubber took up half of my seat as well as all of her own. I felt sorry for her, but I’m not used to being so intimate with a stranger. She didn’t want to talk, just listened to her music and looked at stuff on her phone. Her husband, equally large, sat across the aisle. When the plane finally landed, he immediately stood, placing his rear end in my face. Nobody was moving, but there he was, a wall of man-flesh in blue jeans.

As I mentioned earlier, the aisle was narrow. Our two flight attendants were unusually wide people. They banged my arm every time they passed by. My restless legs went crazy. It was dark in the plane, and my seatmate didn’t enjoy my turning the light on to read, but I had to do something. I couldn’t see out the windows at all.

A little before 10 p.m., we landed. I rolled my suitcase out to the far end of the long-term parking lot, surrounded by groups of people all glad to see each other. I shed a tear when I saw my Honda Element/aka The Toaster waiting patiently to take me home.

It will be me and The Toaster next time.

***

My father, who broke his upper leg in March, moved to an assisted living facility last week. It’s a pretty place, a former convent with a chapel, crosses etched into the fences, and a lush rose garden. He will stay there while he continues to heal. With luck, the doctor will let him start putting weight on the leg in a couple weeks and then he can work on walking until he can walk himself out of there and go home. He’s healthy otherwise. Today is his 95th birthday, and he’d rather be spending it anywhere but there.

The last plane he flew on was an Army Air Corps plane during World War II.

[Photo courtesy Wikipedia]

 

 

 

What? Are you still wearing pantyhose?

32999997 - women's legs in various tightsWatching yesterday’s Easter parade of dresses and skirts (and hats), I noticed that I seemed to be the only woman wearing pantyhose. The ladies would be all silk and jewels to the knees and then . . . bare legs. It’s a trend. It’s the style. I personally think if your legs aren’t slim and shaved, toned and tanned, they’re not that attractive. I know how incredibly comfortable bare legs under a dress can be. So free! And believe me, I know pantyhose can be a literal pain to wear. I know the movie stars are doing it, but they’ve got personal trainers and leg makeup.

Today’s pantyhose are a great improvement over what I grew up with. I remember the days of separate stockings you matched and hooked to a girdle or garter belt. (God forbid your butt should jiggle.) Picture trying to hook those things up after gym class. Once hooked, you had these hard hooks pressing into your thighs all day and a gap between stocking and foundation garment that felt cold and weird. If the wind blew your skirt up, the whole apparatus showed. Embarrassing. Yeah, yeah, I know all about guys thinking stockings and garters are sexy. As my mother would say, bullfeathers. They’re miserable. Good riddance.

The first pantyhose arrived when I was in high school. But they were not exactly perfect. I have horrible memories of my pantyhose being so tight they split at the crotch or so loose they were falling down all day. And like their separate stocking predecessors, they “ran” if you looked at them. We painted the runs with nail polish to stop them. If we were wearing the stockings at the time, the polish stuck to our legs, which felt just lovely, and of course we didn’t want anyone to see the run or the polish. With pantyhose, if you got a run in one leg, you had to throw the whole kit and caboodle in the trash.

But they got better. Sizes became more reasonable, the material more durable, marketing more clever. Remember L’Eggs, the stockings that came in plastic eggs that were great for craft projects and Easter egg hunts? What happened to L’Eggs? (Amazon has them!) What happened to our legs that we suddenly decided bare legs were acceptable for more than beach parties and picnics?

I surveyed some friends about whether they wear pantyhose anymore. The answer was overwhelmingly a vehement no. A few samples:

Jo Byriel: No! Not for 15 years! You know a lot about yourself when you admit the pantyhose that used to live in your dresser drawers have been moved to your tool box! Good for many projects!

Martha Behnen Embley: No to pantry hose! I’ll use fake tanner if I need it in the summer.

Cecilia Ward: My ninety-year-old mother does when she goes to church. I believe she does so because it’s what she has done her whole adult life–as if pantyhose are part of her go-to-church uniform.

Courtney Meek: No!! Because they itch and when I did wear them I was running out of cheap hair spray or clear polish every time I wore them.

Cheri Lasota: I just can’t do it. Sooooo uncomfortable. That said, I do adore thicker tights (as a stand-in to pants) under longer shirts.

Jean Leonard: Hate them!! Always was a workout getting them on and they were very uncomfortable!!! Will wear the thicker tights occasionally, especially if it is cold.

Dale Bryant: Now that I’m retired, I never wear skirts, so no reason to wear pantyhose. I did occasionally wear them to work–so much more comfortable than the contraptions that preceded them. Also, I do like to wear knee-highs when I dress up to the extent I do, but they’re very hard to find.

Stephanie Raffelock: Pantyhose always made me feel like a sausage.

Adrienne Knoll: They are almost nonexistent in the stores, especially for those of us that are tall (over 6′). I like to wear them when I really dress up, as I did for my wedding a year and a half ago.

Lacie Semenovich: I do if I’m wearing dress shoes (not sandals) with a dress because I don’t like the way my feet feel in dress shoes without something covering them, and those little footie things you’re supposed to be able to wear with dress shoes do not work on my feet. I also feel a little more dressed up and formal with hose on.

Mele Martinez: My four-year-old daughter loves pantyhose.

Shari Kaplan Witaschek: I find pantyhose very uncomfortable, so I only wear it when I absolutely HAVE to! 😦 For example, if I’m attending a swanky party in skirt or dress where thigh-high or knee-high hose won’t work, and going hose-less won’t work either, then I’ll wear pantyhose. (For the record, I don’t like thigh-highs either!)

Sharan Street: I abandoned them decades ago in favor of opaque or patterned tights because they’re more fun and they don’t run. Having always had less than spectacular legs, tights are my friends.

Angie Simoes Brasil: Yes and no. It depends on my outfit and how dressy it is and also how formal the events is that I’m attending. I’ve always heard a true lady wears nylons.

Angela Jackson-Brown: I’m a southern girl from way back so yes AND I wear slips underneath my dresses too…lol

Donna Sanders: I wear pantyhose to church and formal events because my legs are older and whiter than they were when I didn’t wear pantyhose. When I had nice, slender, tan legs, hose wasn’t necessary. Sigh.

So, I guess my age is showing, but as long as I can find a decent pair of “suntan” pantyhose in my size, I’m wearing them. “Control top” a bonus.

Here’s an excellent piece from Huffington Post by Rhonda Scharf. Turns out Michelle Obama never wears pantyhose either. Me, I like my stockings. I don’t feel dressed without them.

This article from Fortune by Colleen Kane talks about some of the professions where wearing hose is required.

If you haven’t already shared it with me, what is your opinion on the subject? Do you wear pantyhose? Have you had to wear them for work? Do you feel your legs are up to the exposure?

Men, please refrain from the corny jokes. I’ve heard them all.

Happy day after Easter. It’s raining again in South Beach, Oregon.