Grab Your Ankles, It’s the Monday Update!

Thick-ankles-1-1Lindsey Beyerstein, a journalist I follow on Twitter, is taking a life drawing class. She recently posted this observation: “Learning to draw is the slow realization that you have no idea what shape anything is. Especially not feet. Ankles are deceptively large. Even the pretty delicate-looking ones.”

Okay, you’re going to think I’m a pervert, but ever since I read Lindsey’s tweet I’ve been comparing ankles to wrists in photos of people. Usually women, whose ankles, unlike men’s, are visible. And damn, it’s true — ankles are big robust things, and when you think about it they kind of have to be, given that just two of them bear our entire weight and absorb the shock of movement, walking, and running. Feet too, I guess, but it’s ankles I’m fixated on. Oh great, a new fetish for Christmas!

Speaking of fetishes, check this out:


The oldest watch in my collection is the third one from the right, purchased new in 1978. It was on my wrist in the photo, taken over Denali and the Ruth Glacier in 1983 by Bob Williams, the McDonnell-Douglas factory photographer, flying alongside me and my wingmen in the back seat of a family model. Glory days!

This past week I’ve been posting on Mastodon rather than Twitter. I used one of the many online cross-posting programs to set up Mastodon so that what I post there also appears on Twitter. I think most everyone who’s switching is doing the same thing. Then, yesterday or the day before, Twitter’s new owner announced a ban on posts referencing, or cross-posted from, other social media platforms. Cue mass screeching! At least in my case, though, Mastodon posts continued to appear under my name on Twitter, so I’m not sure he even implemented the new policy. Which, after the aforementioned screechfest, he has withdrawn.

Twitter, these days, is wall-to-wall Musk. All Musk, all the time. Musk central. Hot & cold running Musk. Maybe that’s why I picked up on Lindsey Berenstein’s tweet about feet and ankles — it wasn’t about Musk! Mastodon is such a relief in comparison: it’s like Twitter in better days. If you’re thinking of switching, there’s some incentive for you.

It’s been cold in Tucson and I’ve been wearing sweaters indoors. Perfect weather for warm cornbread and a pot of chili, which is what I’m doing in the kitchen today. I hope it’ll take some of the load off Donna — we’re driving to Las Vegas to spend Christmas with our son, daughter in law, and grandchildren, and there’s lots to do before we hit the road. Polly has to work and will be staying home, so we’re leaving the dogs in her care. I have a stocking stuffer for her, and have to remember to wrap it today or tomorrow.

I was working on a letter to a friend last night and realized I was using “just” too often. I positioned the cursor at the beginning and did a search. It highlighted five on the first page alone, three in the same paragraph. I deleted every “just” and then searched for “very,” finding and deleting those as well. It’s a bad habit, qualifying everything with justs and verys, and thank goodness for the find/replace function. Next I need to tackle my use of “that,” almost always needless. That’s my writing tip of the day.

From CNN: ‘Out of Control’: No One Knows How Much to Tip. True dat. My old rule was to tip anyone making sub-minimum wage, a shocking (shocking in the amount, shocking that it’s legal) $2.13 an hour for tipped employees like waiters and bartenders. During the Covid pandemic I started tipping fast food servers as well, even though I’m pretty sure they’re paid at least minimum wage, and here in Tucson more like 14 to 15 dollars an hour. Then again, fast food franchises rarely give workers full-time hours, lest they have to pay benefits, so even though the hourly wage may be okay their income is shit.

How to know what and when to tip? Do I have to Google what various fast food franchises pay workers every time I pull into a drive-through lane? And then there are franchises where tipping seems to be discouraged through lack of tip jars, forcing you to ask the cashier whether they take gratuities or not, and I know a lot of us are shy about asking. Also, when there’s a tip jar or suggested tip options on the payment screen, how do you know whether your server or cashier gets a share? We keep hearing about business owners who keep centrally-paid tips for themselves. It’s a damn mess, almost always guesswork.

For me, it’s an automatic 20% for waiters and bartenders, and Donna and I  always tip in cash, never on the card. Same for hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, and pedicurists, handing it to them discreetly and directly lest the shop owner take it. When I have the car washed, I hand a $5 bill (at least $10 if I’ve had the car detailed) to the worker who meets me at the car, hoping he or she will share it with the others who helped wash and wax it … I don’t trust those plastic boxes you’re supposed to leave tips in, for the same reasons I don’t trust managers and owners with tips. I’ll keep tipping fast food servers and baristas 10-15%, and for them I’ll use a tip jar if there’s one on the counter. We always leave a twenty on the dresser for the room service staff when we check out of a hotel or motel, and we give cash tips and a box of homemade cookies or candy to our pool and yard guys at Christmas.

And we always — always! — wonder if it’s enough. Europeans eliminated the agony of tipping decades ago. Why can’t we?

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