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Category: women

The Many Creative Uses for...Oh, Read on and Find Out!

We’re really into recycling in our household. We feel it’s an important service to the world to try to re-use products as much as possible before permanently discarding. And so I recently found myself in a dumping dilemma of sorts, something that needed some creative thinking to solve. Thank heavens for resourceful minds, because now I have 101 (give or take a handful) uses for discarded diaphragms, a service that will help keep landfills a little lighter, while serving the better good of America.

I’ve come up with over a hundred uses for discarded diaphragms, clever little things one could do after cleaning up the item first, of course. Warning: it is highly recommended that the product be thoroughly cleaned in a dishwasher before further use; plunging the diaphragm in boiling water may also be in order.

A good friend told me she came across her old diaphragm while cleaning out drawers recently. She compared it to finding your old retainer. Ha! After all, it is a retainer, of sorts!

Without further adieu, good luck, and let your imaginations take you away!

*send to 3rd world countries for re-use, like used eyeglasses

*trick nose for Halloween costume

*votive holder (paint with poster paints for decorative flair)

*mini-frisbees

*breastplate decorations

*poke holes in it, then use to drizzle salad dressing, olive oil and such

*planting tomato seedlings

*funeral shroud for thwarted sperm

*collect enough and you can glue side to side, row by row, on wall for decorative textured rubber walling (create your own rubber room)

*bouncy toy

*teething ring for baby

Here, chew on this, kid
Here, chew on this, kid

*eye patch

*strong bandaid if used with tape

*knee protectors for gardening

*individual condiment servers

*salt cellars

*turn over, spear with skewer, makes great mushroom decoration for Yule Log

*door knob grippers

*cut out rubber insides and use for ring toss game

*paint ten black and ten red and use for checkers

*fill with sand, glue to a 2nd one, and you get a fun hackysack toy

*turn upside, spear w/ skewer and voila, you have a Barbie Beach umbrella

*mod window treatment for portal window of you child’s doll house

*cover w/ foil and you have a delightful candle snuffer

*spear w/ toothpick, glue edge with fringe, and you have a fancy decoration for your Mai Tai

*stress-reducing worry toy (delightful spring action works for squeezing)

*hand-strengthener (again, squeeze, pulse, repeatedly)

*inexpensive sprinkler head for garden hose

*strainer for capers and canned wild blueberries

*candy dish (M&Ms)

*nose ring for Goth teens

*paint “X” on several, and use for clever tic tac toe game

*lid for cocktail shaker

*attach to chair legs to prevent sliding on or scratching of hardwood floors

*gynecologist’s sizing sample

*fill with sand, glue to another, and you get replacement Toss-Across beanbags

So the beanbags would be round, not square
So the beanbags would be round, not square

*line with cotton and you get a pygmy hamster bed

*nightlight cover

*earmuffs

*drain cover for sink

*earrings (large hoops)

*pendant (spray paint silver for the faux silver look)

*snowball mold (pack two together)

*fun floaty toy for the bathtub

*hollow out rubber middle and makes great choker necklace

*attach two together face to face to get clamshell

*nouveau demitasse for espresso shots

*dessert dish

*sorbet dish

*ponytail holder

*fill two together w/ warm water and use for cramps

*fill two together w/ ice for clever boo boo bear

*fill with water and freeze for attractive ice ring in punch bowl

*nipple shield (a permanent end to those nuisance high beams)

*slice out rubber insides and stack several for attractive arm bracelets

*remove rubber, cut through circle to create possible navel ring—simply insert through bellybutton piercing

*fingerpaint pot for the children’s painting enjoyment

*extra padding for bra

*juggling toys

*scooper for laundry detergent

*glue two together and make mini beach ball

*athletic cup for very small boy

*add tablespoon of sand, use as handy pumice device for callused elbows, heels

*mini bongo drums

*fill w/ whipped cream or shaving cream and sock your favorite politician in the face with it

*yarmulke

Gotta love the yarmulke-donning cat!
Gotta love the yarmulke-donning cat!

*build your own abacus (collect enough)

*great to store spare buttons

*pincushion

*makes great scooper for playing in sand

*coin storage in car (added bonus: rubber grips the coins, keeps them from flying out during sharp turns)

*place a dozen or so in swimming pool with candles for romantic evening poolside ambiance

*suspend from metal rod and lightbulb for stylish pendant lighting

*coaster(skid-free)

*dangle from rear-view mirror (paint first)

*one of a kind hood ornament

*glue feathers and hang from ceiling for spiffy Indian Dream-Catcher

*paint red and use as taillight covers

*dog toy

*measuring cup

*shot glass (shooters—sex on the beach, etc)

*ice cube tray

*paper clip holder

*shoulder pads

*fill w/ potpourri and cover, scent your underwear drawer

*gripper to open hard to open jars

*chin guard

*butter dish for lobster

*free prize in Cracker Jack

*McDonald’s happy meal toy

*toy inside box of Capn Crunch

*paint neon orange and attach to bicycle as reflectors

*paint glowing white and line the side of the highway with diaphragm reflectors to keep cars from running off the road

*Modern art collage

*heel cushions

*mouth guard for braces

*add propeller and use as beanie cap

*door knocker

*use for the number zero in house address signs

*fill with juice, add a stick and freeze, for a most unique popsicle

*science experiments

*Christmas tree ornament

*smear with peanut butter or suet, roll in birdseed, makes perfect birdfeeder in wintertime

*fill with coffee beans, glue another diaphragm to this, sealing edges, and voila, a castinette

*Finally, if you’re of dubious character…trap boyfriend into marriage by accidentally becoming pregnant while truthfully insisting you wore your diaphragm, yet omitting the details about it being old and full of pinholes

Conferring About Conferences

Last summer I attended a writing conference attended by a few thousand women. This is the third year I’ve attended this conference, which is professional in every way, shape and form. I always return home with reams of information, great ideas, and insight into the publishing industry.

 

No, this is not from the conference
No, this is not from the conference

But I arrived at the meeting with a level of perplexity about women and conferences. Now I come from a guy-centric background. Grew up with three brothers. The semaphore of my childhood was a series of grunts and groans. Even now, though I’ve got two girls, I notice with intent what my husband and son are like. Boiled down to their essence, men are simple, they’re basic. Women are complex. Now I’m not here to determine which is preferable (although I’d be a traitor to my sex if I said anything other than us!), but rather put out an interesting observation in relation to my conference.

You see, many weeks before the conference—no, really months before the conference—female attendees started chattering on various online writing venues. Discussing the finer details of the destination, scouting out restaurants, shopping, transportation options, and such. Fair enough.

As the conference drew closer, the level of obsession grew to disturbing details. No longer satisfied with spread sheets of local merchants and what pharmacies were nearby, women started dispensing sage coping advice.

“Drink plenty of orange juice in the weeks leading up to the conference so that you’re in good health,” one would say.  To this another would counter with advice on what cold-prevention methods are most effective. And then another would suggest the cheapest place at which to purchase it. In bulk. Echinacea, Airborne, Cold Eeze, you name it, someone knew which preventive measures were sure to beef up your auto-immune system to combat the dread Conference Physical Drain.

Soon we were being cautioned against even more fearsome doom. One author offered up helpfully, “I’ve pasted some exercises you can do to prevent the blood clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT) that can occur in some people from sitting long periods of time.”

Now that's my kind of exercise!
Now that's my kind of exercising!

I just thought I was going off for a few days of fun and education! I didn’t know I could well keel over from a blood clot unless I downloaded her exercises to my iPod!

There was the great jacket debate, in which a good handful of women argued over the degree of warmth they’d need for their travels from their jacket of choice. Someone actually wrote “Define jacket” when another woman suggested she pack a jacket. Um, back in my day, a jacket was a jacket! We need to clarify this?

Some more “who’d have thunk it?” tidbits from well-meaning yet perhaps a bit anal retentive attendees: 

°DON’T drink from the glasses in the bathroom. Find yourself a plastic cup 

°To cut down on trash that doesn’t get recycled, a better idea might be to take a tiny container of your own dish detergent. I’ve been doing that for years, & it comes in handy for other stuff that needs washed or if you want to use a glass for one thing, then need it to be clean again later for something else

Maybe it’s the three brothers’ influence on me, I don’t know. But I can’t help but cringe each time these women map out these bizarre high maintenance upkeep plans for the conference. Don’t forget your sweaters for chilly air conditioning! What’s the weather going to be like? Why does it matter? You’ll be indoors for 99% of the time! How will I deal with my computer? The same as the other several thousand people milling about the hotel do. It’ll be easy! Will there be WiFi? I don’t think a hotel exists in a large city that doesn’t have it at least in the lobby!). 

Find me a man–any man–who honestly would think twice about anything more than what time the meeting is scheduled for and is he prepared for it. I don’t know if a guy really gives more than a split second’s thought to whether he’s packed enough underwear. Meh, you can get more when you get there if you don’t have it. 

But thanks to these ever-vigilant ladies, I would be able to find everything I could possibly need in a city of 3/4 of a million people, where, no doubt, the concierge would have provided the same information to me in a moment’s time, were I to need it

It’s as if they need to be handheld through this world of professionalism. Now this is a group of very talented women, many hugely successful writers, many having come from previous careers as doctors and lawyers and the like. 

But what is it about this group that there is this crazy-obsessive need to freak out on just about ever aspect imaginable for this thing?

I guess I should just chalk it up to the complexities of being female. After all, I’m the first one to complain when my son doesn’t change his boxers the entire week we’re on vacation. But maybe there’s a happy medium in there?