Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's cookin'?

It’s tough when you can’t find your way around the kitchen. I mean, I know where the fridge is, but I do need to map quest my way from the fridge to the stove. Over the years I have attempted to cook a meal here and there. I had a few successes, but nothing I can call my own. My kids used to ask me who this Stouffer person was that made our meals every night.
I had a cookbook called 365 Ways to Cook Chicken.  That’s right – one entire year of eating chicken every single night. Who knew there could be that many ways to prepare little foghorn leghorn.  But there are, and I made them all. I decided to call it quits on the chicken frenzy when we all woke up one morning with an egg coming out of our asses.  

Some meals turned out pretty good, except for the time that one recipe called for a clove of garlic. Not being up on the cooking terms, I didn’t know that a clove was just a piece of the garlic thingy, so I threw in the entire bulby thing, or whatever it’s called. Wooooo…that was some smelly chicken when all was said and done. Needless to say, that meal went into the trash. Even our dog turned and walked away from the scraps we gave her.
One of my co-workers consistently comments on Facebook about his garden and what he is cooking for dinner. I have never heard of half the shit he is talking about. What the f**k is chard? He grows that. And he cooks with it. Or does something with it. I’m not quite sure but I am definitely impressed. Of course he could be making up half this crap and I would have no clue because all I pretty much know are ketchup and mustard and salt and pepper. I wait to read his posts just so I can gain a culinary vocabulary. I would have no idea how to use any of the words in a sentence, but what the hell. I feel like I’m gaining knowledge.
Years ago I was in the audience of the Richard Simmons show. Back in the 70’s, he had an exercise/health show. Being in advertising, we had access to a lot of free tickets to many TV shows and events. Some good, some not so good. I had two tickets to this one, which, believe it or not, was considered good at the time.  I decided to take my dad. We were sitting in the audience and I caught Richard’s eye. He asked if my dad and I wanted to be in the cooking segment of his show. Like I would say no to that! I didn’t let on that we were probably the two most cooking challenged people in his audience, let alone the world. Little did I know we had to actually help him prepare a meal.
So there I was, with my Rosanne Rosannadanna hair, my Dolphin shorts pulled up to my boobs, and my leg warmers, standing up in front of millions of people on a kitchen set on the Richard Simmons show. I was smokin’!

Then Richard asked me to peel a pear. What? Seriously? He handed me the peeler and the pear and I started peeling. Well…sort of. While he was talking about the meal and how healthy and nutritious it was, the pear slid out of my hand, onto the floor, and rolled off the stage. All while the cameras were focused on me! I was dying. All I wanted to do was hide behind his ‘fro. Richard proceeded to make total fun of me asking if I’ve ever been in a kitchen before and my answer was “absolutely…but I’ve never prepared anything in a kitchen before.”  Obviously, the nutrition segment of his show was cut short.
I can’t say I’ve gotten any better over the years…which is why I married men that could cook. Unfortunately, those didn’t last.  There’s a lot more to a marriage than a good meal, so I found out.
But I’ve gotten much better at seeking out a wider variety of frozen foods. And I make one hell of a salad! I may never be the next Rachel Ray, but I am up for the Better Homes & Gardens Cleanest Kitchen of the Year Award.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Driving me crazy

I have the pleasure of living near a place called Leisure Village. Leisure Village is a community of retired people. You have to be pretty old to live there.  And your driving skills have to be everything opposite of what the DMV driving test requires. At least…that’s what it appears to be.
Living near this community has been a true test of my patience. Their driving ability, or dis-ability, completely flabbergasts me. How they attain their licenses is beyond my capacity to comprehend. I guess because we are not required in California to take a driving test every few years, to assess our motor skills, allows them to keep their licenses they received when they still HAD motor skills. I’m sure there are many blue hairs out there who got their licenses in their 20’s, and have never had to retake the driving test. This is a tragedy! Every person over the age of 70 should have to retake the driving test, EVERY year, until they no longer can find their car.
Driving around town is a feat in itself. I think they are in a conspiracy to take their cars and emerge all at once onto our streets. If I see a Chrysler Town and Country, I quickly speed ahead to try to pass them. I know, for sure, it’s going to be an elderly person in there. And sure enough, the little old lady is two inches away from the steering wheel.  I’m not sure how they breathe when it’s digging into their stomachs, with their little heads poking thru the holes in the wheel. They can’t even see over the dashboard and their feet can’t reach the pedals, but miraculously the car moves. At a snail’s pace, but it moves nevertheless.
If I end up not forging ahead, sitting behind them, I’m done. Forget it. What would take me 5 minutes to reach my destination, will now take me 25 minutes. In a 45 mph zone, we are now going 15, IF we’re lucky. We are not talking like we are in the Indy 500 here. I’m not asking them to drag race. It’s a Chevy Impala. C’mon grandma…speed it up to 30!
Just accelerating when the light turns green is another 3 minutes. Gertie is sitting there waiting…“Oh…the light turned green? Let me think about pressing my foot down on the gas pedal. There we go…I think I’m moving? Ah…yes…I am. Oops…maybe a little too fast. Let me let up a little. Much better. Oh wait…I’m driving??”
The parking lot. I don’t speed in parking lots because you never know who is walking where, who’s pulling out of a space, blah, blah, blah. But please…I may as well get out and PUSH my car at the rate I’m going. I’d probably get there faster. So they drive 20 mph on the street, and ONE mph in the lot. Really? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake me up when you’re in the space, gramps. You would think they would want to speed up to 10 mph to make it in time for the early bird special.
And in the supermarket…they push their carts the same way. And for some reason I always get stuck behind them…in the skinniest aisles so that I can’t pass them. And try doing a 180 in a food aisle. Not easy. And behind them at the checkout counter. Wow! They take their groceries out one… by one… by one… by one. I’m trying to make eye contact with the bagger, practically jerking my head off my neck, motioning him to help Mildred unload the cart.

Then we get to the coupons. They carry around their little “coupon purse” and wait to find the coupons once the cashier is done. Can’t they start just a little sooner so that we are not waiting there an extra 20 minutes while they sort through their 8000 coupons, only to find out most of them are expired? Then they write a check. I don’t know if they have heard of ATM’s yet, although the elderly do hang out in the banks because they serve free coffee and cookies, so you would think they would have inquired about those machines attached to the walls outside. But they don’t really like change. And they don’t really understand the new technology…so they still write checks. Which takes them just a little longer than the average person. So we have now tacked on an extra 7 minutes. What should have taken 15 minutes, has turned into a two hour excursion.
In all honesty, I love being around the elderly and do everything I can to help them when possible. We are all going to be there one day and should treat others as we would want others to treat us.
And I have to say, the great thing about living here?  I’m considered the youngster! How’s that for irony! 


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tongue Bashing

Can there be a more annoying habit then sucking the food out of one’s teeth? My ex-father-in-law (may he rest in peace) used to suck the life out of his teeth and it would drive me nuts. It was something I looked so forward to every time we would get together for a family meal. Without fail, after eating, that sucking noise would be heard near and far. I would look around and there he was. Mouth and moustache contorted in ways only a tongue sucking vampire could imagine. I tried it once to see if there was pleasure in it and I thought my incisors were being pulled from their roots and getting vacuumed down my throat only to be lodged in my esophagus. Get a frickin’ toothpick. That’s why they were invented. Dental floss maybe? I once handed out dental floss at a barbeque after serving corn on the cob so I didn’t have to listen to teeth sucking in stereo. Everyone was quite grateful. Wish we had youtube back then. It was quite a sight to see 30 people quietly flossing in unison….little kernels flying through the air.

My dog has a habit of constantly licking her chops. Again, drives me insane. Especially in the middle of the night when she keeps licking and licking. In fact, I’m writing this at 3AM because her disgusting lip licking woke me up and she is still doing it like the energizer bunny that keeps going and going. S-T-O-P!!! I WANNA SLEEP!

My grandmother (may she also rest in peace) used to have this awful habit of opening and closing her lips while her tongue would make some sucking noise on her palate. She would tend to really go at it in her sleep and one night, when I was little, my parents decided to grant me the pleasure of rooming with her. Big mistake! That, too, woke me in the middle of the night and kept me up. I was ready to stick my hand down her throat and rip out her tongue…but I thought she may choke and I loved her. So I didn’t. I just went over to her bed and gently held her lips together with both my hands til she stopped.  We had to revive her a few minutes later.
What is it about the tongue that causes these annoying, disgusting habits?  The tongue is supposed to be used for good things…like tasting, and kissing, and rolling your “R’s”, and being able to contort it in ways others can’t. I have the good fortune of being able to touch my nose. Something I’ve always been very proud of.

But my tongue betrayed me. Big time! And I was so angry at it. It was awful since all through my life I always took pride in my tongue since I could do all those things I listed above.  And then BAM…the biggest betrayal of all…I lost my taste. My buds were stolen. All 4 of them. Not just bitter, sour and salty. But it stole sweet, too! It couldn’t just leave sweet alone?  My sweet bud is my favorite bud. But noooooooo…sweet was gone.   
For four months, 4 taste buds were MIA.  It made no difference what I ate. It came to a point that I only ate because I thought living was kind of in my destiny at that point. A group of us were out to dinner one night and everyone was ordering all this delicious food. The waiter came over to take our order. He started at the other end of the table… “I’ll have the Osso Bucco”.  “I’ll have linguine with clams”.  “I’ll have the veal scallopini”. And then it was my turn…”I’ll have the shit on a stick, and a glass of urine on ice with a twist, please”.
The tongue is way underrated.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bite me

How I love my dental visits.  Before I leave on my journey to hell, I floss between every tooth like 8 times, and brush til my gums bleed, just so he can’t say “I see you haven’t been taking care of your teeth.”  I’m not sure what it is about little chunks of food flinging onto the mirror when I floss that’s satisfying…but I look forward to seeing them stick, as if I’ve made progress on the “cleaning” chart. I check for any clinging particles, and off I go.
The ziziziz sound of the drill coming from behind the office door, as I approach, just makes me cringe with delight.  There’s also a certain aroma in the air. I’m not sure what to attribute it to, but I honestly don’t really care. It’s the smell of a dentist and any smell is not a good smell. So I sit in the waiting room, making small talk with the receptionist, and reading the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records. I have to give them credit…at least his office is current with the world record breakers. I always wanted to know who could snort up the longest piece of spaghetti through their nose and pull it out of their mouth. It’s a definite need to know.
As my dentist opens the door to allow me in, with his perfectly straight, white, glistening teeth, I just want to shove a drill down his throat.  But I hold back. I figure I shouldn’t do anything nasty prior to the cleaning. You never know if he is revengeful.  I would rather wait and see what kind of pain he is going to inflict on me before I take action.  I sit in the chair, he puts the little blue bib on me and catches my hair in the clip as he attaches it, already causing pain before we even start. I try to flick my hair out of the way pulling out a big chunk that is left hanging on the bib. Off to a great start.
As he presses on the floor pedal, the chair reclines…and reclines…and reclines, and the blood is already rushing to my head. Do I really need to be inverted? Can’t I just be parallel to the floor instead of at an upside down 45 degree angle where my face is turning bright red and ready to explode?  I guess not.
He puts his mask on, as if some germ infested foreign object is going to come projecting out of my mouth onto his face. Or maybe he just doesn’t want me to smell his breath, and vice versa, as half his face is inside my mouth. And that light. It feels like I'm going to walk out of there with a sunburn.
Open wide.  Can you open a little wider, please?  Uh…nope. That’s about as wide as I can go. I’m not a hippopotamus. He pulls out one of his sharp, probing instruments and starts poking around my gums, in between my teeth.  As I’ve gotten older, even that part of the cleaning bothers me because gums recede and nerves start to manifest themselves…only to the dentist’s eye but my pain level is well known by that time.  Each time he hits a nerve in my tooth, it’s all I can do to stop the reflex of my fist striking his arm. But I’m also worried that if I did strike a blow, his instrument of torture could be permanently lodged in my gums. So I allow him to continue with his journey through my orifice.
Now to the scraping. You may as well drag your fingernails on a chalkboard or scrape metal on the ground because the sound of plaque being cleaned off my teeth makes me cringe even more.  
“So how are the kids?” “uh ey r ate, an urs?” “Mine are fine. Did you have a nice New Years?” “es, idnt o uch, an oo?”  “We had a quiet evening, just had people over. When does your daughter go back to school?” “a ew ays.  It as ice avin er ome.” I love our conversations when we see each other.  
The polishing after the cleaning with that gritty stuff that I'm sure is going to sand my teeth down to little points is also fun. The vibration makes my lips itch but I suppose my shiny teeth will make up for it. He hands me that little funnel to spit into after I rinse and it takes everything I have not to projectile vomit in his face.
I'm not quite sure what it is about getting a brand, new toothbrush at the end of the visit, but it seems to make it all worthwhile. At least til next time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Here's lookin' at you

Have you ever really studied your face?  I’m staring in the mirror right now and not really liking the reflection. In fact, I feel like I’m looking at one of those computer generated programs that shows what you would look like in the future.  It’s subtle, but gravitating, nevertheless.
Do your ears hang low? Check out your lobes. When did my ear lobes have enough room for 10 earrings at one time? I purposely didn’t ever wear heavy earrings just so they wouldn’t hang down to my boobs. In spite of that…the lobes are hangin’. I never wanted to have floppy ears, but I’m giving Eeyore some competition.

The peach fuzz now sprouting is a nice look. I try not to stand with the sunlight directly behind me so others can’t see the blanket of fuzz that has graced my face. My silhouette is very flattering.
I’m still attempting to find my eye lids. We started playing hide and seek about five years ago. They show themselves every now and then when I have a look of surprise and raise my eyebrows.
Speaking of eyebrows. They now grow to Andy Rooney lengths. I don’t have a unibrow, but geez…I have to do the Donald Trump sweep to keep them in line.

Putting on eye make-up is a feat. Try getting eye pencil on your lids as the skin is attaching itself to the pencil and being pulled along as you draw.  Trying to put eye shadow on those hard-to-find lids is virtually impossible. It’s a game I play to see which lid has a smoother look and which has a mosaic design as I try to unfold the creases. 
I used to like the prominent points on my upper lip, but those have flattened out over the years. I’m thinking of doing the Lucille Ball…drawing on the lipstick a half inch above my lip to make my lips appear fuller.  Not sure who wouldn’t think I had some 5 year old experimenting with lipstick on my face.

From the side, my nose still looks the same, but I am noticing a slight spread starting to take place below the bridge. I walk around sniffing in as hard as possible so that it sucks in the sides of my nose to look thinner, but once I start hyperventilating, I stop for a while.
When I’m bored, I try to connect the lines under my lip to the crevices in my chin. Each week displays a new design as the lines multiply.
My hair is the only thing to remain the same. Well…with a little help from a bottle. But it hasn’t thinned or fallen out and it allows me to keep a little piece of my youth (since I haven’t changed the style in 30 years!)
Who would have ever thought I would morph into a female Woody Allen.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

missing you

i miss writing my blog. but sadness has taken over our household and i have people to take care of. since i don't want to bring all of you down, and my mood hasn't allowed for me to write an uplifting blog, i have taken a break. but i will be back soon. i need to write to bring me back up and laugh. this weekend. that's my goal. til next time. miss you roscoe.