When A Country Mouse Goes To The City

21 Apr

Well, not many people would call Santa Fe “the city”, but when comparing to Taos, it feels that way to me.

Warning: There are no photos of the following experience.

I had an allergy testing appointment – one of those FUN ones with a total of 76 individual pricks over both forearms and biceps. And then the nurse says “DO NOT SCRATCH!!!” And, as my arms felt like they were covered with 50,000 crawling ants, that warning made me want to punch… something! Good thing she was so sweet. So I sat there in the testing room, reading my book on how to run a small goat dairy, after being hastily hooked up to oxygen when they feared I was going into anaphylactic shock. I was starving. I was not allowed to eat ANYTHING with Vitamin C in it for 3 full days prior, as Vitamin C can mask the histamine response to an allergy, and subsequently give false negative results. That means no fruits and no vegetables. It was almost funny, except it wasn’t. So when I wasn’t reading about lactation curves, and getting a high off the O2, I was fantasizing about the trough of salad I was going to have in just a few… more… minutes.

I arrived at the restaurant, excited to have lunch with my new friend. She is a wonderful woman who has a heart the size of the state of Texas she hails from. She arrived with an ear to ear grin, even more beautiful than when I first met her last fall – outside AND in. Being with her is akin to being washed from head to toe with love, acceptance, and appreciation. Is there anyone who can’t use a dose of that? We had lots to talk about over soup, salad, and a hot chai for me. In the parking lot I passed off a delivery: goat milk, goat kefir, kefir grains, goat chevre, olive bruschetta, and 1 doz eggs. My second ever goat product sale! And I drove reluctantly away, with my back seat full of generous gifts for the family, and my heart even fuller from her presence.

It was a good thing she had filled me up with positive energy, because I was heading for the emotional dungeon….

Disney World. Or at least that is what a mall feels like to me. But I had been forced into it – I had to buy new bras. I am embarrassed to admit I was still subsisting off the same two nursing bras I had bought 3 years ago, and my daughter had been weaned for 6 months! Not only were these 2 archeological antiquities threadbare, they were WAY too big now. Imagine a pair of hammocks with a tiny, limp, water balloon hiding in the depths of each, swinging glumly, side by side, a bit like Eyore’s tail. Breast feeding is hard on a woman’s body image, I’ll tell you! As I pulled into a parking space I thought back to Hazelnut’s shriveled, pendulous teats this morning as I walked away with my 1/3 full milking pail. The resemblance was uncanny. Except for the hair (thank god). But my mama friend told me I probably needed to be measured as I would be a totally different size by now (Size F, for flacid), and this was the only place I knew to go for this demeaning task. I might even prefer a mammogram. Because I was now walking, al biet with extreme difficulty, toward THAT store! You know… THAT ONE! The dreaded VICTORIA’S SECRET! And I can tell you what her secret is too: 10% of the female population, or less, can actually wear the bras in this store! HA! And guess where my water balloons fall on that statistic? (yes, down to my belly button – I know, I know!)

I was cranky with anticipation, so the store barely had a chance. But I walked boldly in, sheilding my eyes from the relentless spread of neon colors, and ignoring my frayed pants hem 3 inches above my sockless shoes. I smelled of goats. I barely cared. I took one lap and headed back out the entrance. There was NOTHING for me in there! Who WERE those mannequins modeled after anyway?? And how many retouches did that poster take? Grrr….. I took a deep breath, pivoted on my dirty heels caked with “nanny berries”, and re-entered, only slightly more composed. I found a sales chick (because I could not have called her a woman) and asked where the non-neon bras were without underwire and push up pads. She said they had two models without underwire and neither were push ups. The “regular” colors (black, white and nude) were in the drawers. She showed me, then pushed a lock of dyed hair from her eye, stiff with a milking pail full of hair gel. They were padded. I explained I did not need a padded bra (nor had I since I’d been 11). She said all their bras were “lined” (as in – with foam). I sighed. She measured me with my arms outstretched like a sacrificial maiden (and I hoped hysterically that my pits REALLY stank), and gave me several choices to try. Again I heaved a sigh. When asked how the bras were fitting, I unabashedly opened the dressing room door, grabbed a pinch full of loose skin from the sides of the bra cups, lifted them up in synch, and said, “Not very well.” I saw the girl glance instead at my arms which were riddled with what appeared to be track marks of an intravenous drug user. “Allergy testing”, I said and smiled. She smiled back. One look at my country mouse farm clothes was all it took to convince her of the truth. I probably didn’t look like I’d been shooting up with my morning coffee.

So I said a grouchy farewell to Disney World and drove out through the maze of parking, still wearing my boob-beaten, sweat filled bra, feeling like a little test mouse in a research maze. Mini Mouse perhaps? And the further away I got from the neon pink thong bikinis and neon green pushup bras, the better I felt. I headed north, deciding what I might need to fully return myself to my former dignity. Hmmm… perhaps a quick stop at Home Depot to fondle some power tools? Some heavy petting with the coveted Dewalt table saw? Naw, I didn’t have the guts to get across the 6 lanes of traffic in time. Then my steering wheel started pulling to the right… HARD. Whoa! Right into the Toyota dealership! Time to drool over some Tundra trucks I guess. I asked for my favorite salesman, a 6′-5″ Isreali who had changed his name to Aspen Leaf after immigrating. One of my favorite past times is picking on him until he cracks a smile. I’ve bought 3 Toyotas from him trying. But Aspen was not in and there were no used crew cab Tundras.

The only thing still missing was my always dependable Attitude Adjuster (nope, not the margarita – I was still driving). CHOCOLATE! So back on the road to figure out where that fancy pants chocolate store was. The 18′ stretch limo parked in back clued me in. I slowly sipped my Havana Rum hot chocolate back to my Happy Place as I read about manger designs and how to trim a hoof correctly. Ahh. In my body once more. Time to head home.

A fierce windstorm buffeted me violently just north of Espinola, followed by driving rain of a spring squall. But as I enter the Gorge of the Rio Grande, the rain shifted to a gentle drizzle, just enough to keep my intermittent wipers clicking rhythmically across the crack in my windshield. The gorge opened up through Rinconda and the flood plain burst forth with a symphony of greens and pastels! Fruit orchards were heavy with blossom and lilacs flashed past in ice cream colors: lovely lavender, very berry and violent violet! Spreading, long leaf willows struggled to release their leaflets from their winter bondage. And purple catkins drooped heavily from the stately cottonwoods that marched along the river bank. In another week or two they would release their namesake fluff on the wind to go forth and propagate. Then the walls closed back in and I happily dodged fallen rocks while watching the sinuous Rio wind it’s way up the rift of shiny, black basalt. As a rainbow appeared from behind a tall cliff, I was overcome with a feeling of expansive gratitude. OK, that was hard on my ego, but I am SO thankful to have these 2 teats – I mean breasts – that nurtured my child for 2-1/2 yrs. I am SO thankful to have a husband who loves me whether he finds those breasts at my waist or above it.

And I am SO thankful to have a daughter who will grow up free of the damaging media of television and magazines, reveling in her strong, athletic body, knowing what REAL woman’s bodies REALLY look like.

And believing that every body is perfect…

…just as it is.