Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bensberg for Colorado Springs District 3 City Council

My daughter means everything to me, and I am voting for Jim Bensberg. Though that might sound like a non sequitur, I will explain why it is not.

In 1997 when Jim was working for U.S. Senator Wayne Allard, my daughter, age four at the time, was court ordered to visit opprobrious people, two biologically related, two not. Even now when she returns to Colorado from college, more events surface that make my gut wrench.

Of the myriad public figures I contacted—political, legal, entertainment, such as Oprah, and others made public circumstantially—Jim was the only human being who helped.

Most who have been in a stressful situation know, the brain can function on survival mode. Fearful for my daughter’s safety, yet doing what I could without retribution, my challenge was finding an objective legal defense group that could potentially save my daughter from further court-ordered abuses.

Jim found that group for my four-year-old.

Finally knowing someone in the world cared about children’s safety, happiness, and well-being, I breathed a bit deeper. And though my little girl was forced into unspeakable situations for another eight years, she became empowered through Jim’s help and that of a police officer. At 12, she emancipated herself from that horrifying situation. Everyone, especially her many teachers who worked to help her throughout elementary school, immediately saw the metamorphosis from an injured little girl into a beautiful, intelligent young lady.

I thank God for Jim Bensberg.

Jim believes as I do on another vital issue: money. As he has grown to become a friend of our family, and I his, we both live conservatively, wisely, with thought. Waste is not a part of his lifestyle, private nor public. One needs only to see Jim to believe that point—he maintains a healthy, trim physique.

Learn more by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


My last post stimulated the imagination of one reader to such an extent, he couldn’t contain himself. So he sent me an email and said he wished I’d have extrapolated more on condom modifications, and since I didn’t, he did. Building on his momentum, apparent expertise, and discretion-challenged ways of expression, I toned down and added to his new business plan.

Being a man of age and experiencing all physical implications of a less-responsive body, he liked the idea of selling condoms in a variety pack—but for the same user, just different situations. Here are our joint efforts.

All-occasion Pack for the Mature Man
• Brick: deep-red-colored condom with sparkles for the deflated
• Awesome: geometric design gives the illusion of greater proportion (and for the man with too much to offer, a reverse design creates a less-ominous mien)
• Memories of Olde: musical, sepia-colored condom plays one of four Frank Sinatra tunes from Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! when fully inserted, with emphasis on the bass (“You Make Me Feel So Young,” "I’ve Got You under My Skin,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Anything Goes”)
• Earth Daddy: for the environmentally conscious, comes with a doggy bag, so the wearer can take the leftovers home for proper recycling

My friend also suggested the Repackaging Your Package Pack
• Wyoming: sheepskin interior condom bleats satisfied after a few minutes; this model has an opening at its end for men with vasectomies
• In the Mooood: flexible, durable, calfskin leather with an inoperable, decorative outer zipper—it doesn’t take much to imagine what a real zipper could do
• Asia: Velcro-fastened, tiger-striped, sarong-style wrap for the exotic look
• Steed: zebra-pattern, rivulet-textured thick condom aiming for the younger woman

After a Few Beers Pack
• Chrome: metallic-appearing finish designed with pipes and racing stripes
• Measurably Better: buff colored with subtle, black lines delineating each half-inch, and starting with 2
• Tulips: two voluptuous, thick lips imprinted into this model for when your date won’t come in
• Condamend: sufficiently padded to offer the inebriated less embarrassment

Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


At my age, reading the fine print is more than difficult—it’s sometimes impossible, particularly poring over the ingredients of skin care products. You know the kind: antiaging, antiwrinkle, antibagging, antifart-producing, anticlogging (noncomedogenic), anti-belly-fat-producing creamy stuff, the kind of stuff most guys don’t give a crap about. I want to look as young as my mind says I am, and at the rate I’m going—forgetting simple math and acting childish—my mind figures I’ll be entering junior high pretty soon.

One day I set out for King Soopers, my favorite grocery store, with the goal of reading and comparing antiwrinkle cream and lotion ingredients. Once I identified the best product for the money, I planned to purchase two so I wouldn’t have to subject myself to this embarrassing ordeal more than once a year, like sex. I thought of carrying a magnifying glass, portable potty, and a bottle of wine with me, knowing this project would consume some time, which would give me time to consume some wine, but instead I grabbed my best seeing-up-close glasses, ones I likely scored for an entire dollar plus tax.

Into the store I skipped, demonstrating I was younger than I looked. After picking myself up off the floor, I headed toward skin care. Comparing these age-defying skin formulae felt much like choosing feminine hygiene products when I was a teenager or like evaluating condoms to keep on hand just in case. Really now, what size package was I buying for anyway? Forward-thinking packagers and marketeers should offer a condom variety pack, a just-in-case-the-first-one-doesn’t-fit kind of thing. (Maybe they do already.) And for the small guy, shouldn’t condom manufacturers offer padded sheaths just as bra manufacturers do for the less endowed?

I’d already been buying Olay Complete for a couple years, and Olay was promoting their new Regenerist product line like a guy promotes his best friend, so I gave it some attention. And here is where this whole exercise was worth its weight in coinage: Olay Complete with SPF 15 and Regenerist Age-Defying Anti-Wrinkle Daily 15 SPF had the same ingredients, but the cost was very different:
4.0 ounces of Olay Complete with SPF 15 cost $7.35 that day ($1.84/oz),
3.4 ounces of Regenerist Age-Defying Anti-Wrinkle Daily 15 SPF cost $14.50 ($4.26/oz), and further research showed that
2.7 ounces of Regenerist UV Defense cost $22 ($8.15/oz).

It’s all about the packaging! So I bought two more Completes and smiled as if I’d just been laid in a field of soft, green grass with no bugs.
As an addendum, my generous, beautiful daughter (see her on previous post) bought me a perfect present last year. No, it wasn’t a year’s subscription to or AARP, not even a body pillow with appendage or a one-way flight to Bermuda. She sent me Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair moisturizer (1.0 oz for $20). Had this thoughtful gift come from a member of the opposite sex, the giver might well have found mini-sized, padded condoms in his stocking at Christmastime, but my daughter received a big thank you from her old mom.

Now that my second one-ounce bottle is low, I decided to conduct research on its ingredients compared to my previously purchased Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle cream (1.4 oz for $13.50). Both products contain retinol; however, the less expensive cream lists retinol as ingredient number 10. If my aging eyes are seeing correctly, and if my mind is calculating accurately, the more expensive one lists retinol as number 26.

So again, I’ll likely skip, carefully, into my favorite grocery and purchase Olay Complete and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle, knowing deep inside my skin-covered soul that I’m still going to get older and wrinkle. What I’m really in a quandary about is how to repackage myself so I can charge a higher rate. What would I sell, though?

But the bigger question is, if a guy repackaged, would he have two?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

One Precious Strand

Recently as I did the laundry I found something that brought back a sweet memory. In a whoosh moment, it transported me back to early December 2012 after the deep, navy-blue clouds of November had parted. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, had passed, thank god, because for three years I’d spent it alone, and the one in 2010 devastated me to such a point, I almost died. But I tripped and stumbled my way through the final remnants of November and greeted December with as much hope as a wounded heart could muster.

It’s funny how my mind can linger on depressing events and make them as bad as the day they happened. Some are life altering. Some have changed a tradition that began after my daughter’s birth—our own traditions, like our annual Thanksgiving dinner shared with friends around our big marble table. She’d ensure the placemats were lint free and the napkins’ open edges faced left. It drives her crazy when I don’t fold them properly after washing them, but I’ve learned, as all obedient moms do, that daughters know everything and to heed their advice. When our friends would arrive, the feasting and storytelling would begin. I missed that for three years.

And then I got the text. “I’ll be in Colorado Dec 18,” my baby girl wrote. Even without toothpicks, I was able to open my squinty, depressed eyes a bit further. and I felt a warm well of hope bubble up from inside. My daughter, my raison d'être, was coming home for Christmas.

Now, my funny mind also romanticizes good memories and sometimes makes them better. In my daughter’s younger years, she slept in my bed with me, not all the time, but particularly after her nightmares—and she had a lot. I’d hear her get up, use the toilet, then walk back into her room and turn on her light. I sleep through nothing.

“Did you have a nightmare?” I’d ask.

“Yeah (pause). Can I sleep with you?”

“As long as you don’t kick.” That’s another funny thing, how a little girl can start on one side of a king-size bed and end up kicking me in the gut on the opposite side. Even with my body pillow in between us, her little foot somehow packed a powerful under-the-pillow punch, so I learned to sleep on a one-foot width of space. Eventually, her subconscious took over and she quit kicking, and I had fewer bruises. So I hoped when she came home, we could fall asleep talking as we sometimes did, like college roommates or good girlfriends.

Another tradition we started years ago was our annual Christmas Eve soirée. We invite about forty friends to pop in for a bite to eat and have a cup of holiday cheer or stay the night if they’d like. The event always fills our home with loving energy for weeks afterward. Memories of guests’ mini gatherings warm the house and replenish the spirit. I wondered if my 19-year-old boss would like to continue that event.

“We have to,” she texted. “It’s tradition. And we have to make our chocolate-chip chili, ’cause people expect it.”

A month’s worth of despondency lifted like removing an x-ray-proof lead apron. I felt as if I’d taken a ten-pound dump and could breathe again. During the following week, I pulled Christmas décor from its box and, with the help of a few notes on where the decorations were to be placed, the house soon started looking bright and festive. Even the gal in the mirror donned an occasional grin and brighter-colored clothes.

December 18 finally arrived, and due to nature’s way, my daughter’s flight was late, but safe. During her time here we played a lot of Ping-Pong, chess, and Pick Two. She even bought me four new pairs of pants, the first new clothes I’ve had in seven years. and I had a treasure hunt for her on Christmas morning. Then on her last night here, I heard her get up at 4:00 a.m., use the toilet, then walk back into her room and turn on her light.

“Did you have a nightmare?” I asked.

“Yeah (pause).”

“Do you want to sleep with me?”

Click. Off went her light. I heard her walk into my room and get into the other side of the bed.

“Good night.” I said, smiling. “No kicking.”

“Night,” she groaned.

* * *
A week after my daughter had flown back to college and I was cleaning my bedding, I saw a long strand of thick auburn hair that somehow made it through the washer. I slowly pulled it from the twisted, brick-red, grizzly-bear flannel sheet and held it up to the light. It shimmered and changed tones as the wavy strand caught light. Butterflies danced in my tummy.

So simple. So sweet. So miraculous. A precious memory of a beautiful daughter captured in one precious strand.