Thursday, October 4, 2012



Ever have a day where everything goes awry, one damn thing after another?  Where if you were smart, you’d go back to bed, but you’re washing the bedding because the cat puked in it, so you can’t?
Today is one of those days for me. I woke up at 7:00 which isn’t so bad since I’ve been lately sleep deprived, but it’s not so good, either, since our Y moved the time of my water aerobics class up by half an hour to 8:30. At the time I should be taking a shower, 8:00, I haven’t even eaten breakfast which I must do because I took my prescribed medication an hour ago. The medication requires eating an hour later. Because I was late arising, I am late breakfasting.
So, I place my coffee, banana, and zucchini bread on the—WHAT? 
Well, what did YOU have for breakfast, Mr. Ding-Dong and Tootsie Pop?  At least MY breakfast had a vegetable in it.
Anyway, I place my coffee and zucchini bread on the side table and reach for my iPad, multi-tasker that I am. Oops. I also lack depth perception and hand-eye coordination. The iPad collides with the very full, giant-sized coffee cup which tumbles as fast as it takes me to shout my favorite curse word, the one containing “sh” and “t,” and the cup shatters the cat food treat dish on the floor. All across the living room floor in a five-foot radius, arranged like a modern art installation, lie splattered coffee and cat dish shards.  The coffee cup, resilient to droppage like all of Wal-Mart’s finest china, remains intact.
The zucchini bread sits untouched and inviting. I contemplate leaving the entire mess right where it is and dealing with it when I return home after my workout, if I ever do, knowing what I have to clean up. I could stop to clean up the mess and be late to my class or not clean up and be less late. The shower I need is moot by now. Ain’t gonna happen.
I think of my cat, who is now hiding under the couch, hissing, and how even though she’s been unpleasant this morning, I don’t want her hurt by walking on glass fragments.
Guilt sends me to the laundry room where I tug on several towels from the rag shelf in the cupboard, and they all fall on the floor. Those I leave where they lie for later.  No cat’s ever been killed by a pile of towels, I reason. 
I sop and mop. Transporting towels dripping cold coffee all the way into the kitchen, I open the garbage can lid and shake the shards into it and throw the towels into the laundry basket.
I am only ten minutes late to class. Without a shower. My hair sticks out at odd angles all over my head. My head resembles a porcupine’s do had it lain on only one side all night long. No one says a word about my rebellious hair during class. That’s how you know people love you. Or have no words for what they see, one or the other.
After getting the mail, I race home to pick kale in my garden, enough for a friend and for the new recipe I plan to try, a Mexican vegetable strata which incorporates both kale and zucchini of which our garden has an overabundance.
I change clothes first because I don’t have a good track record keeping my clothes clean when I garden or cook. Or eat breakfast in my living room chair, apparently. I think people who do are abnormal and suspect.
Wearing one of my previously stained tee shirts, the nicest one in my vast collection, I begin the recipe assemblage, like a shorter Julia Child with a lower humming voice, cutting, chopping, and sautéing.  Whipping the naughty eggs.
I slice a couple of potatoes and zucchinis I grew this summer, and some sweet potatoes I didn’t. I chop kale and onion from our garden. Fry up the chicken sausage. Layer after layer I arrange, and then I discover—no enchilada sauce. The dish wouldn’t be right without it.  It’s called Mexican Vegetable Strata, right?
I change my clothes, again, and head for the store for green enchilada sauce. Three cans of green enchilada sauce and four bags of tomato sauce, paste, and puree later, (I like my larder stocked!)I arrive back home.
I forgot to take my personal grocery bags into the store, so the cans are heaped in bags made of that flimsy grocery sack plastic that can be slashed by anything sharp, like an orange, for example. Of course, the clerk had not double-bagged to compensate for the can weight, and one of the bags splits and cans tumble out when I open the car door. I joyfully chase rolling cans all over the driveway and under the car, exhausting the catalog of my cursing repertoire, employing those soothing fricatives and plosives that serve us so well in the midst of frustration. See, multi-tasking, once again.
Tin can roundup complete, once inside the house, I change into my cooking and slopping clothes yet again.
Now it is 2:30 and way past lunch. Time to stop to have my second meal of the day, zucchini bread.
WHAT?  Well, what did YOU have for lunch, Ms. half-a-wienie and three M&M’s you found in your sweater pocket? Did I mention my meal has a veggie in it, and raisins, nuts, grain and eggs?  That makes five food groups!
In a wise act of self-preservation, I eat without electronic devices anywhere near me, a most uneventful lunch, then finish assembling the strata. I turn on the oven to preheat as I sprinkle on the Tillamook Mexican cheese.
I carry the pans to the stove, but I feel no heat. Oops, forgot to push the start button. Ovens these days are so picky, so touchy, so demanding.   
Ten minutes later, the Strata is in the oven. Whew! This quick and easy recipe has taken four hours and an entire retinue of curse words to assemble.
While the Strata bakes, I take a break to gird my loins in anticipation of what else this day might have to offer. I shudder to think of possible events, so I won’t. If all goes well, I’ll reach dinner time unscathed.  What can go wrong lying on a couch?
Don’t tell me.  After my day, I don’t want to know.
Some days aft gang awry. But that gives us pause to be grateful for the days when all flows smoothly, doesn’t it?
And for the succor of zucchini bread.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


We are never too old to learn, I’m told.  I’m also told that life is an adventure.  I’d say that both maxims are true, based on my flight back from Phoenix last Sunday night.  No, there was no terrifying turbulence, no horrendous hijacking, no aisle full of snakes.  Nope, just me and one after-dinner treat.
Well, and the seat mate who had to get up and pee six times during a two-hour, 44-minute flight.  I learned that there are people who have to pee more than I.  I also learned how irritating getting up and down to let such a seat mate pass by can be.  He apologized and said he had tried for an aisle seat.  I was outwardly compassionate, assuming he had a horrifying health issue that he could not even whisper in my ear.  Besides, I had the lucky opportunity, thanks to his kidneys, to exercise my quads by bobbing up and down every 20 minutes.  Just like zumba! 
You know what I felt like?  Locks.  On a canal. 
(Wasn’t that a great analogy?  With the water image and all?  Woo-hoo!  On a roll now.  No, wait!  A waterslide!  On a waterslide now!)
If you are anything like my cats, by now you are asking, “Treat?  Where’s the treat?  What’s the treat?  You mentioned a treat?”  In fact, you are probably presenting me with your behind and your tail standing straight up right now, looking back over your shoulder, longing written all over your whiskers.
OK, then.  Here’s the treat part of the flight.
Dinner was a surprisingly tasty chicken curry and arugula-laced salad, accompanied by the treat, (ready for it?) a chocolate truffle.  I decided that I would save my treat for later if I got tired.  Once we landed and I got my luggage and vehicle, I had to drive home.  Chocolate would  keep me awake during the two-hour drive.  (I don’t live anywhere near anywhere.)
An hour later I got bored and hungry after all those squats.  I thought of how that chocolate truffle might spice things up a bit.  Yet, besides keeping me awake, chocolate also makes me squirm.  I had to weigh the consequence of side effects against desire.  Back and forth the arguments flew in my mind, for what seemed, oh, three seconds.  My mind made itself up.  Chocolate it was.  (Did you doubt which argument would win?)
I reached in my pocket for the truffle which I’d dropped there the hour before.  I felt the metal wrapper and tugged on it, but when my hand rose out of my pocket, there was no truffle, just a smushed orange foil wrapper and fingers full of what looked like poop.  I gazed stupefied at my hand, as if it belonged not to me but to the Poop-Hand Monster someone had stuck in my pocket for a practical joke. 
I wasn’t alone in my shock.  My aisle mates and seat mate stared at the offending hand as well.
I stuck it back in my pocket where it nearly drowned in melted chocolate.  With my other hand I reached into my purse, pulled out a handkerchief, and thrust my cocoa-hand into it.  I wiped and wiped.  Soon the hankie was full of brown.  My hand was still covered.  Did I have another hankie? 
I unzipped my computer bag with my clean hand and saw something white.  Great! Another hankie, in the nick of time!  I whipped it out, and shook it out.  And realized it wasn’t a hankie, but my spare pair of underpants.  Fluttering in the open space of the aisle.
How long does a moment of mortification last? A second? An hour? A lifetime?
Before anyone could see was in the open space imitating Old Glory in a stiff breeze, I wadded up those panties and stuffed them back into my computer bag.
(Don’t you carry a spare pair of panties in case your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination the same time you do?  Of course you do.  We’ve done it for years, you and I, and it’s a good practice.  I now suggest that you recall where you stow them, however.  And buy something to get out the chocolate stains.)
What now?  My hand was still ganached and my pocket still full of melted goodie.  Licking my fingers was not an option.  Can you imagine what that would have looked like to my already shocked section of the plane?  Euwww!  Gross!
Thankfully I remembered the sani-wipes in my purse and maneuvered one out of its plastic wrapper.  Two or three, actually.  I wiped out my pocket to the best of my ability and then my fingers and palm.  They looked clean, so I raised my fingers to my nose and smelled.  Chocolate. 
I heard a gasp and then I thought.  Crap!  Can you imagine what sniffing my formerly brown fingers looked like?  Euwww!  Gross!
Did I sink into my seat in humiliation?
Of course not.
I got up and locked myself in the bathroom.  I peed.  It was my turn.
I washed my hands.  I walked back to my seat, head held high.  Maybe my seat mate and aisle mates wondered what I did in there since I’d obviously already done some duty in my pocket.  But what did I care?
Instead of reading the in-flight magazine or finishing the crossword or sleeping, I had made use of my time in-flight.  I had learned something.
Do not put a wrapped chocolate into your pocket for later, no matter what.  Delayed gratification is not a good thing.
P.S.  I think this should be a movie, don’t you?