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The Perfect White T-shirt

In a totally unscientific experiment, I decided to try to find the perfect white T-shirt. Why? Because I’m in my 40s now. Which means that all those jolie laide thrift-shop cute outfits I covet in Anthropologie make me look like I shopped a Salvation Army sale rack. So I’ve decided the chic option is to wear jeans, a scarf, and a fitted white, 100% cotton, short-sleeve T-shirt.

For years, I wore Banana Republic’s “Organic Cotton” T-shirt. I had one in pretty much every color. But they don’t seem to make them anymore. I put a call out to my Facebook community and received some great suggestions for alternatives.

Then I went online and ordered about 50 white T-shirts. Here are the results of my incredibly fascinating sartorial study. I included photos of my favorites in a gallery below.

The ones I ruled out:

1. Old Navy –  Not 100% cotton.

2. Chico’s – Couldn’t find a short-sleeve white T-shirt this late in the season.

3. Ann Taylor Loft – Wrinkle city! Every single shirt I own from Ann Taylor Loft looks like I wore it for a week, washed it, drove over it with my car and then wore it again for another week. Regular Ann Taylor? Mostly Modal with a tiny bit of cotton thrown in. Boo.

4. J. Crew – I know they’re supposed to have great T-shirts, but the quality didn’t win me over. The “Tissue Weight” cotton T-shirt is just an excuse to charge a ridiculous amount for what amounts to, literally, a tissue. The “Painter’s T” is as wrinkly as Ann Taylor Loft’s, and for more money. And their “Perfect Tee” (short-sleeve) was not available in stores – the long-sleeve version I did try on was bunchy, made of a bulky, thick weave of which I’m not fond.

THE CONTENDERS:

Ralph Lauren (Outlet)

On sale – $8.00. Good deal for a nice-fitting T-shirt. I bought a Small. I would have prefered the Medium, but the fit is a bit awkward and sizing up only made it bulky. The shape is fairly good, though the weave is a bit thick. Wore well through the day. Gets a B.

Everlane

Custom-made, direct to you, free shipping, and 100% cotton…for only $15! I ordered a Small and a Medium. The quality is good – easy, drapey. A weekend T-shirt for sure, but slightly too sheer for me to vote it the best. I give it a B+. (Disclosure: If you purchase through the link I’ve included, I get a discount for the referral, so if you prefer to register directly, just go to the site.)

The Gap

I tried on the Perfect Tee and…meh. I actually ended up buying a V-neck in a Medium (photo not included), but The Gap’s shirts suffer from two design flaws – the material is fairly thin and the look is a bit boxy. The crew-neck shirt just made me look like I’d borrowed my boyfriend’s undershirt. C+.

Banana Republic

Like Shania Twain says, the Banana Republic Timeless Crew-neck Tee is “still the one.” The reason I’m a sucker for BR? The weave – it’s soft AND thick. The fit is impeccable and the quality is fantastic. I ended up with a Small in the crew-neck and a Medium in the  V-neck. Both look brand new and freshly ironed, even after a wash. A+!!

 

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Back-up Plan

WARNING: Due to the graphic nature of this blog post, those who are offended by fart jokes and the following words – toilet, sewage, poo, or crap – should not continue reading. For the rest of you, enjoy the post!

I woke up this morning to a back-up in my main sewage line. Do you know what that is? Let me describe it in simple terms. Go into your bathroom. Flush your toilet. Now take a dump in your tub. And then do it again in your guest bathroom. Nice, right?

After pouring Clorox into both tubs, more to stem my panic than anything else, I called my plumber. The last time my plumber was at the house was two years and a half years ago. He spent five hours with his whole body crammed under my bathroom sink, arm-deep in a P-trap. Up to his elbow, much, I imagine, like a veterinarian trying to help a cow through a difficult birth.

Except I bet the veterinarian isn’t paid as much as my plumber.

Zing!

So now he’s back, with a drain snake the size and length of a King Cobra, and wearing his blue booties. I love the blue booties. They are a very considerate gesture made by the plumbing company, to keep the plumber’s shoes from mucking up my floors. Which is kind of sweet, given that both of my second floor bathrooms are quite literally coated in shit. At this point, the muddy shoes are the Diet Pepsi part of the triple-cheeseburger, giant fries, and four dessert tacos lunch order.

You didn’t know there was a dessert taco, did you?

Well there isn’t. At least not that I know of. And if you eat four of them, you better not come here afterwards. Because I evidently haven’t the facilities to accommodate you. Ahem.

Until the drains are cleared, I’m relegated to the couch with Blanche. She is gripping her pillow with that terrified look all excellent guard dogs get. The one that says, “I HOPE NO ONE IS BREAKING INTO THIS HOUSE BECAUSE IF THEY ARE, I HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT MY HIDING PLACE YET. WHY MOMMY? WHYYYYYYYY?” And I’m working on my laptop, attempting to ignore the drilling sounds above my head. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire bathtub dropped through the ceiling into my living room.

At least then I would know the drains were clear.

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Striking a Pose

I went to see my orthopedist the other day to check on the progress of my hip. He prescribed a cortisone shot to try to stem lingering pain I’ve been suffering. I made a joke about timing the shot right so the doctor wouldn’t have to chase a moving target.

“It’s true. You’re striking,” said my ortho. “I’ve never seen a Parkinson’s patient like you before.”

I put my “Aw shucks” face on and smiled. Wow, I thought, what a compliment from my ortho! He must think I look really fantastic compared to all his other patients. And he sees a lot of patients.

“It’s striking, the difference,” he said, shaking his head.

Striking! That’s me! I am one hot number, I thought…oh wait…

That’s when I realized what he meant. What is striking is the difference between my “On” periods (the hours of the day when the Parkinson’s meds kick in) and my “Off” periods (the in-between times). I was standing right in front of him, as still as a stone. But a few months back, he’d seen me holding the edges of my hospital bed to keep from shaking myself onto the floor.

Even my own neurologist, who sees me every three months, has said to me, “If I didn’t know you have Parkinson’s, I would never believe it.”

Except…

There’s a teeny tiny problem with not “looking sick,” a condition many people experience. Especially for those of us who are still relatively young and working full time. We look “fine” most of the time. Because we have to. But there are times when we’re not.

I’m not writing this as a pity post. Hardly. I’ve been fighting this disease for more than seven years – I’ve developed quite a sense of humor about it. (Anyone for a game of Operation! or darts?) But I thought it was important (for my neurologist – and in honor of my friends who “look fine”) to show you what Jekyll and Hyde really looks like. I think you’ll find the difference…striking.

 

United States Naval Academy Color Parade

Board of Directors

Thank you for your emotional, financial, and/or spiritual support of my ongoing efforts to beat the clock on Parkinson’s disease! Last year I realized I needed to get more active in supporting “the cause,” so I’ve been volunteering with an organization called the National Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, or PFNCA. August 27, I was officially named to their board of directors!
The PFNCA is focused on providing programs, education, and a community of support to people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers and families in the Washington, DC area. The Walk Off Parkinson’s event on September 14th, is an event sponsored and run by PFNCA. As a new board member, I’m throwing my support behind the Walk Off event and the programs it supports for people like me.
I also continue to be actively involved in the annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City in April – the people in that organization have gone out of their way to help me find the right doctors, make good connections in the community, and celebrate the community of friends and family on whom I rely.
The difference between the two organizations? PFNCA is local, Unity Walk is global. PFNCA runs dozens of programs – at no cost to participants – that help patients, caregivers, and their families. Unity Walk’s fundraising benefits every Parkinson’s organization by distributing equally 100% of the money they raise, for research, new treatments, and hopefully a cure.
Everyone has a cause that means something to them personally – from the MS150 bike ride to the ice bucket challenge. So I thank you for the donations – of time, emotional support, or financial — you’ve made to helping me fight Parkinson’s disease.
Please help me spread the word about the Walk Off event by posting the attached link to your Facebook profile or sending it directly to your friends, if you’re so inclined! And if you’re able to donate to Team Bettina this year, you’re invited to do that as well.
Donations to PFNCA support a variety of local programs including:
  • 45 Parkinson’s support groups
  • 68 sponsored exercise classes monthly
  • 14 communications classes
  • 7 caregiver support groups

and more…

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The B is Back

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I know you’ve missed me. I’ve really just been so busy since mom finally got rid of those two extra legs and started walking around on her own again. She even took me on a walk, like old times. Okay, it was less of a walk then a stumble, but I’m patient. I mean, who needs to walk quickly enough that all four of your paws are moving at the same time?

I’ve also been pretty occupied with my new relationship. I’ve been dating this big, dumb blonde for over a year now. It was platonic at first — probably because when I first met him, he tried to bite my face — but we eventually fell in love, and things have been great. He lives with this old man, a shrill beagle mix named Rico, who shivers during thunderstorms and for some reason gets pretty pissed off when I lick his teeth. His teeth are gross. I don’t think he’s brushed them since he left the homeless shelter, so I figure I’ll just help out, but this guy points his tail up to the sky and gets all growly and shrieky, like a girl ghost getting pinched. Or something. Thor usually breaks it up at that point. He’s a bit more brawn than brain, but I have to admit, I like ‘em fuzzy, so I can’t complain.

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Mom and I spend lots of time at her boyfriend’s house. I’m totally okay with having a stepdad, and I’m comfortable letting him know I accept him. I usually try to give him a nose bump or a lick to boost his confidence. I try to do it just after he’s ironed his pants for work so I can leave a little wet nose mark on his knee or his butt. When I do, he usually shouts his approval really loudly and waves his arms around like he’s fighting a bee. What a riot. He really keeps me laughing.

Her boyfriend has three boys in his litter. Two of them match. I call them Hug and Shrug. Hug likes to crawl into my muffin cup with me – that’s what mom calls my little round bed. He rolls around with me until he gets a nice thick coating of black hair. He usually manages to sweep up a generous serving of Thor’s blonde hair that’s on the floor, too. So when Hug stands up, he looks a little like a black and white cookie, or a stuffed panda. That’s when his dad does the invisible bee-fighting and yelling again. What a card.

Shrug pretends he doesn’t like me. He makes a big show of saying, “Blanche, get away from me.” Since I’m in on the secret (that I’m his favorite), I usually just stand up and try to give him a love bite on the nose. Shrug is a big yeller. “He bit me!” he’s always saying, and I’m like, “I’m a she, dummy!” Fun. And. Games!

The tallest one in the litter likes to walk around the house with no shirt on, telling jokes like, “Blanche, don’t lick me. Don’t lick me, don’t lick me.” He says it really fast, like it’s one giant sentence. That’s how I know it’s a game. I usually aim for his knees or his feet, but sometimes I’ll manage to get his chest when he leans over to get something out of the fridge. That’s when he starts yelling and invisible bee-fighting. Like father, like son!

 

My Pictures * My Parkinson's * My Pitbull (mix)

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