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catch and release

I need a job.  Right now they call me “Budget Analyst,” which is seemingly what government contractors call the lady who orders toner and sets up the auto-attendant for the voicemail system. I should be working with food.

I’m looking for a job.  I’d like to be called “Director” or “Manager” or “The Lady Who Seemingly Knows What She’s Doing.” Any kind of start-up that calls itself hotel, restaurant, catering company, food truck, anything. I want to be working with food. I’m not picky.

I got a job.  They call me “Director of Food and Nutrition,” which is seemingly what public schools call the “Lunch Lady.” I am working with food. I should have been more picky.

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not new, not yet

I’ll make good on all this cynicism with exuberant glee come March 20, but for now I have to ask: “What about this dismal January 1st scene inspires hope?

“What about this, the view of my own backyard as I sit at my kitchen table on New Year’s morning, suggests new starts, fresh beginnings, aspirations for a better life?”

No, this scene, in my estimation, says: “Order a pizza, pile on another blanket, and binge watch a season of something on Netflix.”

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Is this a story?

If it has a beginning, a middle and an end, it’s a story, right?  Well, by that definition, I offer you this, with bonus features:

Prologue: It was 9:30pm.  I had worked ridiculously late so that I could justify taking three days away from the office, one of which was Christmas Eve, the second Christmas, and the third, a Saturday.

Beginning:    I was tired, brain-dead and pissed off that I have to justify taking a day off for Christmas. And Saturday.

Middle:  I wanted a cookie.  I wanted ice cream.  I didn’t have any cookies or ice cream in the house, and being the aforementioned tired and brain-dead, I couldn’t rally myself to go out.  So I dug through the cabinets and the fridge and got creative.

End:  I invented sweet stuff on toast.  Grilled flaxseed bread with butter, apricot jam, whipped cream and roasted pistachios.

Epilogue:  I did this routine of work late, get pissed, and have no dessert in house for two nights in a row.  Grilled flaxseed bread with butter, sliced banana, whipped cream, chocolate chips and roasted peanuts.

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Christmas Carols: A Warning

Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. They tell you that, in a song. And if it’s in a song, it must be true. It is true and you had better just get on board and believe it, missy, because he knows who’s been naughty and he knows who’s been nice and if you’re not giddy with the joy of the season, you’re going to get something a lot worse than switches and ashes. What you’re gonna get will make you wish you’d gotten a lump of coal, little girl.

Now, the songs don’t tell you that explicitly. They are far more clever than that. They’ve been around for decades, remember? Hundreds of years, some of them. Their siren songs have crushed far stronger souls than yours.

Here’s how they work: they’re chipper, they’re cheerful. They have catchy simple tunes that are easy to remember and hard to forget as they wind their way through and lodge themselves in the undulant curves of your cerebral cortex. They push out important things you’ve been saving in there, SAT words like “undulant” and “cortex.”

Having so implanted themselves within your very being, they begin to take root. They’re like that cruel cactus in Arizona, the one that sheds its seeds in pods shaped like tiny needles. The pods fall to the ground and lie there, benign, until some snake or bird or rabbit – rabbits are best– comes along. The seed pod, which has an outer shell that is spiral-grooved like a drill bit, is covered with tiny, sticky hairs which get caught in the fur of the rabbit. The seed pod, opportunist as it is, twists itself through the dense fur until it hits rabbit flesh. Then it keeps going. It bores through skin, through muscle, past veins and arteries until it hits its mark – the moist center of a vital organ. Then the pod begins to expand. It swells until the seeds burst forth and take purchase in the heart of the unsuspecting animal.

If you look closely at the base of one of these horrid cacti, where its trunk meets the earth, you will invariably find the skeleton of a bunny. That marauding plant infiltrated the innocent creature, grew itself up and through its soul, and left him there to wither, to die, in the desert.

So it is with Christmas carols.

Hum carefully, my friends.

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it was then

It was Wednesday, yes, it was Wednesday and I can only bear to speak of it now – it was Wednesday and on my way to lunch I approached a set of double glass doors, and as I was headed out, a gentleman was headed in, and as he stepped back to hold the door for me, it was then, as I looked up into the eyes of the most handsome man I have ever seen, it was then, my friends, it was then, that I tripped and stumbled and bounced the right half of my body off the adjoining glass door. And it is there that my story ends.

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Tots on the Georgie

No, this isn’t a story that suggests that dating is like a tater tot. Not at all. This story is about me and how sometimes I get home late and need a quick dinner.

I’ve been trying this thing where I don’t eat after 8pm. So tonight, when I got home at 7:30pm, I needed to make dinner fast. And what’s the fastest dinner of all? Besides leftover pizza. If I had had leftover pizza, I would have eaten that. The second fastest dinner is Breakfast Dinner! The ideal breakfast dinner is pancakes, or waffles, or anything that comes with butter and syrup, but the whole point tonight was ease and speed, so I went with an omelet and tater tots (pictured below). The only onerous thing about an omelet is getting it to turn over and look good, but hey, if it doesn’t turn over and it doesn’t look good you can call it a frittata. Or “loaded scrambled eggs.” Whichever applies.

You might be wondering about the tots. Why are they so flat? Why do they have grill marks? Well. You’ve probably been brought up to believe that “necessity” is the mother of invention. It is not. “Laziness” is the mother of invention. If it were “necessity” then, faced with the need to toast my tots, I would have invented a way to climb up to the uppermost cabinet where the toaster oven lives, lug it down, make room for it on the counter, etc., etc. But, being that the George Foreman is conveniently located on the counter by the coffee maker, I used it. Ergo, laziness begot the invention of Tots on the Georgie. It’s easy. Just nuke the tots to thaw them out, put them on the Georgie in a single layer, and shut the lid. Do be sure to plug in the Georgie. Serve with ketchup or mayo, if you like. Heck, try butter and syrup.

How do you know when the tots are done? Lift the lid and take a quick peek. If they’re crushed and crispy, they’re done. Oh, I’ll be damned. Dating is like a tater tot. When you’re crushed and crispy, it’s time to get out. That’s how you know you’re done. D.O.N.E. Done.wpid-20150916_193002-1.jpg

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Tear down this wall! Let’s build this wall!

If you recognize those words as having been spoken by a turncoat Lindsey Bluth in shorn hair and a business causal suit, then I am happy and sad for you. Happy because you discovered the snarky genius that is Arrested Development; sad because you watched the fourth season. You watched all the way through to the last episode of a season that should have never happened.

Walls. Walls are good. Walls keep the A/C in and the mosquitoes out. Walls define where the TV should go versus where the stove should go. Walls keep us from having to see what our neighbors look like first thing in the morning. That’s the physical walls, the ones made of brick and sticks and stones. But it’s the emotional walls that do the real work. How can something invisible be so impenetrable?

Here’s my lunch from yesterday. Please admire how the baby carrots form a wall that keeps the BBQ sauce from getting on the cherries. This is an important wall if you don’t like BBQ sauce on your cherries. But what if you’ve never had BBQ sauce on your cherries? What if, in a fit of contempt prior to investigation, you’ve dismissed BBQ sauce on your cherries as something that will taste bad and might even hurt you?

“Might even hurt you.” We’ve clearly moved beyond physical walls and into the more interesting world of emotional walls. I have emotional walls, as pointed out by every man who has ever dated me and doesn’t date me anymore. They haven’t told me anything I didn’t already know, I put up the walls intentionally. They have purpose. Emotional walls keep me from getting too chatty with the cute guy in my yoga class (he could be an axe murderer, etc., etc.) Emotional walls keep me from confiding too much in my friends (they could turn on me at any time.) The walls keep me safe. The walls ensure that I won’t get all vulnerable and end up hurt. Hurt, you know, like how you can choke on a BBQ sauce covered cherry.

I’ve experimented with lowering my walls. They’ve gone from gargoyle-festooned castle walls to chain link fences to curbs. Not the curved, bicycle-friendly curbs, mind you. They’re the old-fashioned hard right-angle curbs that can stub your toe. A stubbed toe incites a unique pain, the type of pain that can make you want to dissolve and ooze back over the curb and right down the gutter to the nearest “Chesapeake Bay Sewage” drain. I don’t want to get drained. Too risky. Let’s do it, Lindsey, let’s build that wall.

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