Cold Chicken, Hot Bun, Not What I Expected.

Why do we assume anything that includes the words “Hot Bun” is going to be about sex? At what point did radiant heat and flour/water/yeast become so licentious? I certainly don’t know, and I didn’t mean it that way.

Today’s lunch didn’t turn out as expected. I made a sandwich of cold chicken, served on a hot bun (stop giggling). Cold chicken is sublime, completely different from warm chicken, and a mini-baguette, hot and crisp, is much better than tepid white bread. Add mayonnaise and a leaf of romaine you’ve got the makings for a tasty and satisfying lunch. But it didn’t turn out that way. The crispy bread shattered upon contact, and the chicken fell out and hit my plate with a mildly wet smack. I got mayonnaise all over my face. It occurs to me that the last sentence, paired with ‘hot buns’, has the more lascivious of you rolling in the aisles. Notice that I used Licentious, and Lascivious to describe you people, as if SAT words could ameliorate your libidinous minds.

So, appearances were deceiving. I seem to have many stories about the deceit of appearances, and I doubt I’m the only one who has fallen deeply in love with someone who turned out to be as hollow as, well, that flaky bit of golden brown bread I tried to enjoy for lunch. I also seem to have a lot of stories about falling and failing in love – but hey, I’m an artiste, we’re known for the angst of our amour and besides, never since Romeo and Juliet has a tragic love story failed to entertain.

His name was Cameron. Six foot three in his bare feet, muscular, quiet in that stoic, brooding way that I can’t resist. There was a frayed denim jacket he wore everywhere. And, he drove a gold Trans Am, white firebird emblazoned across its hood. Everything about him was manly.

Now, you don’t know this, but I have sat here at my desk for an hour and have used over 700 words to explain, in a languorous and extremely boring way, how I finally ended up in that gold Trans Am with Cameron. But life is short; at least I’m sure your attention span is, so I’ll get to it. I strapped myself into that passenger seat, put my hands on the dashboard, and braced myself for the ride I’d been waiting for. I listened for those six cylinders to rev, for the squeal of rubber on pavement and the snug knock of the gearshift as Cameron slammed that thing into second for a mindboggling lurch of a jump start. It was not what I expected. Instead, Cameron carefully set his foot upon the clutch, gently turned the key, and cautiously looked both ways before he eased into the street. There was no ‘foot to the floor’ as I’d dreamed of; there was just a gingerly tap of the gas pedal. I’d thought we were going to race around the hairpin turns of the Asheville mountains, but no, Cameron chose to use the turn signal every time we went around a bend. My grandmother channels Mario Andretti compared to this guy. I have to say ‘guy’ now. I can’t say ‘man’. There was nothing manly about Cameron, he was about as lame as warm chicken on a cold bun.

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You’ll Do

Men pick women because they think they won’t change, but they do.
Women pick men because they hope that they’ll change, but they don’t.

wp-1460243538729.jpgHere is my lunch today. Looks good, yes? It should. I forced it in to submission and made it what I wanted it to be. I wanted mexcian for lunch. Specifically, tacos. But I didn’t have taco stuff, I had lentil dal and palak paneer leftovers.

So, I made do. Forced by an immediate need, I looked around and did the best I could with what I could get my hands on at the time.

I added Penzey’s Southwest seasoning to that lackluster stew-like filling. I put it in a taco shell. I topped it with cheese and nuked it until it was all melty. I had some cabbage, which is kind of like lettuce. I had plain yogurt, which is kind of like sour cream.

In the end, it tasted pretty good. Nothing you’d take home to meet your parents, but fit the bill.

Clearly, I thought about an ex-boyfriend while I made lunch today. So much potential. I got him to go to college. I bought him a suit and tie. I taught him how to play chess and balance a checking account. But, in the end, he was, although good hearted and doting, still a country bumpkin whose idea of breakfast was two king sized Reeses, a Mountain Dew Big Gulp, and a couple of Marlboro lights.

Today I know better than to date a man for his potential. Because, my friends, men never change. But in a pinch, they’ll do.

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Sass and Ass

Got your attention, didn’t I? Well, so did the name of the restaurant I visited last weekend, I mean, how can something called “Mulebone” not spark curiosity? Plesae know that I think it’s a horrible name for a restaurant, that’s my opinion.

All told, I had a great time at Mulebone. My friend Rebecca joined me, and there’s nothing better than catching up with a friend and criticizing a restaurant at the same time. Actually, Rebecca has never said anything bad about anything or anyone for as long as I have known her. She does laugh at my comments, though, so mark her down for collusion.

I take a sketchbook with me when I go to restaurants, and make pencil drawings of all the things I eat. Used to be I’d take a picture, but then everyone started taking pictures and the more upscale establishments (the ones I aspire to patronize) said that pictures weren’t allowed, so I started drawing. Not really “started” drawing, I do have an art degree. I never mention that when I’m drawing though, so as to protect the reputation of my alma mater. I don’t draw very well, you see.

Entering the restaurant, I was overwhelmed by the multicolored things to look at. They have all sorts of vintage items hanging from the walls and tossed over antique coat racks. I was mostly taken by the candles placed all around the foyer and the reception desk – real candles that cast a warm and inviting glow all around the room.  STOP. This post is beginning to sound woefully “Washingtonian.” A real Mulebone, if you know what I mean.

I’ll jazz it up with by telling you about my chat with the hostess. “Do you have a reservation?” she asked. “Yes, I do,” I said. “Jennifer Moore. I know, I know, you’ve probably heard of me.” I say this all the time. It is one of my favorite hobbies, outside of making diners nervous by sitting alone in a restaurant and drawing my food. I have a penchant for throwing hostesses off balance by suggesting I am some sort of celebrity. It delights me to see their faces go blank, that kind of non-committal blank one gets when the fear of not knowing something one should know sets in. I enjoy watching the proverbial wheels in their head whirl as they try to place me, as they begin to think maybe they have seen me on TV or have heard my name on NPR. They stammer a bit, struggling with their conscience as they try to decide if they want to shame themselves by admitting they don’t know me, or lay out a bald-faced lie by saying they do. It’s just then that I laugh, swat at their shoulder with a playful hand, and say “I’m just kidding, I’m nobody.” Does it make me mean that I consider this fun? I don’t think so. I think it’s what makes me fun. It certainly sets a mood. You might want to try it. In my experience, it guarantees the best table in the house and fawning waiters who are all too eager to bring you extras, like a whole bowlful of limes for your tonic water and a heaping plate of butter for your bread. Delightful.

Oh, that was the best part of the evening. The food sucked. The broccoli rabe was overcooked and tough, the shrimp on the grits was tough, and the smoked vanilla ice cream was tough to choke down. “Mulebone?” I should say so. Thank goodness for those free corn muffins.

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I’m Ready for My Close Up, Mr. El Paso

It’s all about the lighting.

Good lighting can make even the intolerable desirable. Take my lunch, for instance. Leftover burrito* with carrots and chips- monochromatic, tepid and mushy, should be disgusting. But scroll below** to see what two-o’clock afternoon sun in the northern hemisphere can do. See how the salsa glistens? Delicious, right? Can’t wait to dig in.

Yes, I’m going to parallel this to dating. It’s what I do.

Take that mediocre guy from accounting. As he walks down the alley of cubicles and turns the corner toward reception, you see him eclipse the morning sun as it streams through the window. In his silhouette, you see no pocket protector, no black smear where the pocket protector failed. You don’t see the worn, shiny ass of his Dockers, nor the bit of jelly on the back of his left hand. No, what you see is the dark shape of a man, sun glistening around his tall, narrow form, and your mind wanders…

Then there is that lackluster friend of your sister’s. And here he is, at the family picnic once again, another valiant effort by your sister to orchestrate a Certs encounter between the two of you. And this time, it might just work. The sun is setting, the men are wrapping up their game of touch football, and as your man draws back his arm in what will surely be another botched pass, the setting sun breaks through the clouds, and he is haloed by brilliant rays of gold, azure, and ruby red. Your mind wanders…

And, let’s jump in the time machine for a bit, back to those days of our youth. Was it not lighting, pure and simple, that drove us to make our decisions vis a vis romance? Prom, with its strobe light flashing; roller rink and its laser show; the dusky bar illuminated by nothing more than the neon glow of the Budweiser and Jose Curevo signs. Your mind wanders more than it already was wandering, what with the beer and tequila and all. Yes, it was lighting that made the good look better and the better look great. Never underestimate the lighting.

‘* Yes, I eat leftover burritos every Saturday. I have dinner at Tacqueria Pablano in Arlington every Thursday night, and leftovers are pre-planned frugality.

‘**I put the pictures at the bottom so you can read the good stuff without having to scroll down down down past dozens of glamor shots of food before you get to anything interesting. I hate when they do that.

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but she has a great personality and she makes her own clothes

We can’t all be pretty. Some of us have to count on our abilities and that something ‘inner’ to draw people to us. You know, those qualities your great aunt would be sure to point out as she introduces you to the most handsome man at your cousin’s wake.

If they’ve told you beauty is fleeting, then you are not one of the beautiful ones. They’re right though, a quick search on Facebook reveals that the beauty of the high school quarterbacks and prom queens has, indeed, fleeted.

It turns out that all those dreadful clichés about “pretty being as pretty does” are right. Take last night’s meal, for example. Not much to look at, but if my great aunt described it, you’d invite yourself right over for dinner and volunteer to do the dishes.

Baked salmon with garlic, steamed broccoli with orange zest and pomegranate molasses, fresh gnocchi dripping in butter.  A salad of cool, crisp romaine and plump blackberries sprinkled with piquant blue cheese… Tasty, right?  And so very good for you. But, just like at your first boy/girl party in grade school, when that bottle spun and landed on Steve Keller and his acne-riddled nose, you’ll need to close your eyes before you go for it.

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Breakfast: I Know Who You Are

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you are what you eat, then I know everything I need to know about you by what you had for breakfast.  Now, you might find this offensive if, for example, you had a donut and mocha something gwapachino this morning. Or if your typical breakfast involves gnawing on a Power Bar as you sit in traffic.  Please know that I don’t judge. I just observe. And sometimes shake my head and sigh. But that’s not you, it’s me.

Here’s an example of what can be learned from someone’s breakfast. I’ll use myself. Every morning for the last 15 years (excepting the few days I traveled or had waffles) I have eaten the same thing for breakfast: spinach salad with diced apple, almonds, and a lemon yogurt dressing.  I sprinkle on some raw oats so it looks like breakfast, and then I eat it with a spoon so it doesn’t look like salad.

What this says about me:

  1. I cling to routine. I need safety and security
  2. I am health conscious
  3. I am visual: I like color, texture, shape
  4. I am a little off-base
  5. I care way too much about what people think of me

See?  Accurate self appraisal brought on by examination of breakfast.  Try it, Mikey. Try it, you’ll like it.

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stories are everywhere

for example, my life today:

We had a blizzard.  Mid-storm my neighbor shoveled his front walk. He left his shovel outside overnight and it was buried by morning, so he borrowed my shovel and dug out not only his walk but mine, too.  There’s a story in there.

My cat might be bulimic. She ate kibble and puked and then ate more kibble and puked again three times within 25 minutes this morning. A few more adjectives and that story is good to go.

I decided to paint my nails Carolina blue for the Super Bowl, although I  have no allegiance to either team – light blue nail polish was all I had in the closet. But now I see that the color is gray, not blue, so I’m worried what that says about me as a football fan and what my friends will think. Further, the minute I got wet polish on all ten of my nails I had to pee like a fiend. That story writes itself.

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