Thursday, December 11, 2014

Humpty Dumpty Fell

She was a pleasant enough woman on first meeting. Her appearance was that of a Humpty Dumpty; round stout body with short arms that flapped without any direction, looking older than her actual years. 

The rumor was in dog years she was about 8 or 9. 

She talked the talk and never missed a beat. Smooth. Like satin.  

But that first impression had a slight crack in it. Something was amiss. Something not good. 

She sat perched against the wall in her office with her computer inches from her face.  

She typed all day.  Her stubby little fingers banged the keyboard loudly echoing in her bare, cold, unadorned, unfriendly office. 

Grunts. Guttural grunts. Not the least bit lady-like. 

Those near her said she farted often. 

So frugal and cheap she would re-use tissues over and over again.

Late one night her gall bladder decided to fight her. Hard angry gallstones. It caused her lots of pain she couldn’t release so she took it out on everyone around her. 

That slight crack traveled all around her Humpty Dumpty shell. Seeping through the crack was her one true self…

Mean. Angry. Hateful.

One sunny afternoon a fire engine siren was piercing the air.  She stepped down from her perch and stood in the window to watch it race by.  She loved the possibility of other people’s misery.

Then something happened…

The hateful Humpty Dumpty lady fell out the window. Was she pushed? Was she shoved? 

No one’s talking. 

She hit the sidewalk with a thud.  Scattered pieces everywhere.  

Passersby stepped over her broken-ness. 

We had a choice. We could pick her up and put her back together or…  
Then someone remembered the next day was street cleaning day.  

We decided to let the street sweeping truck do it. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Woman in Apartment 6

I don’t socialize with neighbors. I believe in being friendly. If I see them around the building I say hello and sometimes follow it with short friendly chit-chat.

When I moved into my apartment I smiled to everyone, and I still do. Hello. Beautiful day!  How’s it going?  Everyone responds in kind. Well, almost everyone… 

One day shortly after I moved in I went to the mailbox. There was a woman, 40s, well-groomed, getting her mail. 

I said hello.  

She didn’t look at me or respond. 

I thought she didn’t hear me.  I said hello again, but this time a little louder.  

She didn’t look at me or respond.  

I thought she might be deaf so I waved my hand to get her attention. I smiled and said hello being sure to move my lips so she could read what I was saying. 

She didn’t look at me or respond.  Not a word. Not a grunt. Not a smile. 

I thought her behavior rude. 

A week later I happened to come out of my apartment to check my mail when I noticed her carrying grocery bags from the lobby into her apartment one bag at a time.  She went inside with one bag and left the others in the lobby.  I decided to see if she would speak when she came for the other bags.  I even thought I’d offer to help. 

I pretended to read my mail.  I waited and I waited and she never came out. If there was frozen food in any of the bags it would have melted.  As soon as I went back into my apartment I peeked out the door and there she was racing down the hall to get her groceries. 

She’s been living in the building over 20 years and she’s never been friendly to any of the neighbors. No one in the building knows her name. They all have similar stories of her lack of friendliness. 

She lives alone with her cat. Occasionally there’s a guy or two but they never last long. I’m sure they get offended by her unfriendliness. 

Just yesterday I was walking by her door as she was coming out. Our bodies almost touched as we passed each other.  I smiled to say hello but there was no eye contact. 

No word. No grunt. No smile. 

So sad. 

She’s the mean ‘ole bitch in Apartment 6. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Unhappy Toaster

There is nothing worse than having an unhappy kitchen appliance. 

Mine is my toaster.  And it’s my fault it’s unhappy. 

All my other kitchen appliances seem quite content with me these days. The blender. The Cuisinart. The coffee maker. The whole bean coffee grinder. 

I will admit I do have issues with my microwave. Every time I turn it on I feel a strange tingling down below, in my testicles. I’ve tried ignoring it but I just can’t. That tingling doesn’t tickle the testes the way I like my testes tickled. It’s somewhat alarming. 

I don’t want to alienate my microwave altogether so I use its timer as much as possible. Sometimes I set the timer without any specific reason. I think it’s very important to practice good appliance ownership, not showing favoritism to the appliances that bring the most joy, but loving them equally.

The other day I decided for lunch I wanted a Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger with Black Beans & Roasted Corn. With other brands of veggie burgers I toss them in the toaster and when they pop up I put them between slices of bread and have a mmm mmm good sandwich. 

For the Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger with Black Beans & Roasted Corn the toaster did cook it but in the process the burger crumbled. 

There was a faint odor of something burning, and when I looked inside the toaster I saw pieces of burger had fallen to the bottom of the toaster and other pieces had clung to the heating coils.

I had to lay the toaster on its side and slowly guide as many pieces out as I could. My poor toaster was choking on the pieces and couldn’t regurgitate all of it. Some pieces were too charred to be saved.

Dear Toaster… I could blame the Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger with Black Beans & Roasted Corn for being limp and weak and not as strong as a Boca Burger, but I won’t. I should have know better, and for that I am very sorry.

Tomorrow I promise to have tuna fish for lunch. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Tweeting Not Tweaking

I've been tweeting a lot lately. That's T-W-E-E-T-I-N-G not tweaking. There’s a difference. Did you know that?  I didn’t but now I do. 

On Twitter I’m @mc528.  

If you need a little persuasion to follow me and my witticisms-of-life I present to you some of my recent tweets:

I want to write a book and call it "The Secret Sex Lives of My Office Mates." I know many of their #secrets and I'm ready to tell the world.

#LawrenceWelk  reruns on a Saturday night. The gowns, The blow dried hair.  The songs. Total cheese. Total joy. Totally retro.

So many movies. So little time.  So many books. So little time. So many donuts... well... I find the time.

Does anyone remember the #DefrancoFamily 's "Heartbeat It's a Lovebeat"? Listening to it now. I have an urge to get up and gyrate.

I watch what I eat. I exercise. I walk miles.  But when I look in the mirror I frown. I'm guilty of looking at myself thru a jaundiced eye.

Listening to #BobbyVinton 's "Melody of Love."  I suddenly walk to #polka all night long. Care to join me?

It's time for me to find a new hobby.  I'm thinking #Thimble collecting.  They're small and easy to hide when friends come over.

I never saw an episode of #HoneyBooBoo . I'm not interested in being a voyeur to white trash living.

Internet Radio just played a #DonJohnson song called When You Only Loved Me.  Wow... a throwback to a time I'd rather forget.

Pride Greed Envy Anger Lust Gluttony Sloth... Yep, I'm guilty.

Every time I closed my eyes last night I kept seeing dolphins swimming in my sleep.  I woke up craving the ocean. Go figure.

Did #CrystalGayle ever cut her hair, or does it now trail a couple of miles behind her?

In honor of Native American Day I've been listening to #BuffySainteMarie - Pow Wow Rock!

I'm just a simple suburban boy with a dream. A big dream. A really big dream.

Follow me.
I’ll follow you. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Saga of Evelyn and Arnie

Evelyn had the body of a cheerleader when she got married. Everything about her was perky including her perfectly formed cupcake breasts. 

Arnie had tight abs, bodybuilder pecs and big biceps when he got married. He loved wearing a speedo and he wore it well. 

Together Evelyn and Arnie had beautiful nights together. They oohed and aahed in unison until the first signs of dawn. 

Neighbors listened through the walls and were jealous they never oohed and aahed as well as Evelyn and Arnie.  

In the morning Evelyn and Arnie went to work tired. 

As the years wore on Evelyn developed flabby thighs. Her belly was no longer cheerleader tight.  It had a donut appeal. Her perky cupcake breasts sagged and bounced aimlessly if she didn’t wear a bra. 

Arnie fared no better.  His tight abs gave way to a sagging sugar beer belly. A 32 inch waist was long gone. Elastic waist pants replaced the speedo. He needed a man-bra.

At night they slept soundly.

Then one day Evelyn received a gift certificate for being Employee of the Month. When she went to the store to redeem it she couldn’t find anything she wanted. 

As she was leaving the store she noticed a display for the Fitbit, the activity tracker that measures steps taken.  On an unexplained whim she bought two.  

For weeks the Fitbits stayed on the counter between take-out containers of eggplant parmesan and orange bacon chicken. 

One bright sunny Saturday they decided to open the Fitbits.  They gasped at the suggestion of 10,000 steps per day. But since they had them they decided to give them a one week trial. 

One week became two… then three… then four… 

They walked together. They walked alone. In rain. In snow. They walked.  
They walked to the farmers market and bought organic food.  

Evelyn’s thighs got thinner. Her belly less doughy. Her breasts stopped wandering aimlessly without a bra. 

Arnie’s sugar beer belly got less jiggy.  He stopped sporting elastic waist pants.  His man boobs got more manly. He secretly bought a speedo.  

The other night while watching “Modern Family” Arnie looked at Evelyn and she looked at him.  There was a spark, a familiar spark reminiscent of how they used to look at each other.  

Before “Modern Family” was over Arnie turned off the TV and took Evelyn’s hand. He led her upstairs. 

The next morning they went to work tired.

They now easily surpass 10,000 steps each per day, and on the weekends between many oohs and aahs they hit 16,000 steps each. 

For Evelyn and Arnie the Fitbit revitalized their marriage. 

Ooh.  Aah. 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Perfect Party Pistachio Cake

I love cake. 

I love ice cream.

I love a scoop of ice cream resting comfortably on a slice of cake as my utensil-of-choice gently slices through for a perfect ratio of cake to ice cream. I slowly bring it to the tip of my lips. I part my lips and savor the glory that is ice cream and cake. It’s a party in the mouth.

Mmm, mmm good…

Way back in the 70s my mother made a Pistachio Cake that was totally delicious.  It was a simple cake, and the recipe came from one of the popular women's magazines of the day.  I assume it was the 70s but it could easily have been from the late 60s.  Through the years whenever she made it I would, as a husky boy with a huskier appetite, devour piece after piece with the appropriate amount of vanilla ice cream. 

When I moved to California the Pistachio Cake became a fond memory, and truth be told, I never thought about making it myself.  I don’t know why. It just happened. 

After my mother died I was going through her recipes, all neatly typed on 3x5 index cards, and came across the Pistachio Cake recipe.  My fingers trembled at the thought of making it. In my hand was the secret recipe. I could feel the happy memories engulfing me. I even had a tear release itself from my eye. A tear of pistachio joy. 

In my snotty way I have considered myself a real good cook, a real good baker who only uses fresh ingredients and makes everything from scratch. In my kitchen the rule is no “package” ingredients whatsoever,  It would be like Picasso using a paint-by-numbers kit. 

Now I make one tiny exception:  The Pistachio Cake 

I’ve made it for friends and they all love it and they’ve asked for the recipe. So without any further explanation I have decided to share it with all of you: 

1 pkg. white cake mix
1 pkg. Royal Instant Pistachio pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup Crisco Oil
3/4 cup water
4 tsp. almond extract

Combine all in bowl. Beat for 3 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. 

When cooled cover with powdered sugar. 

If you really want to give it an even more 60s/70s throwback feel instead of vanilla ice cream use a big scope of Cool Whip.  

The Pistachio Cake is a perfect way for me to remember my Mom… maybe your Mom too. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Doing the Sidewalk Walk

I like to sidewalk walk a lot.  It keeps me fit and sexy.  It keeps me from tripping into the gutter and  chipping a tooth. It keeps from getting hit by speedings cars with drivers too busy texting to pay attention to someone on the street. 

I guess you could say I have a deep love of sidewalks. 

This past weekend I was sidewalk walking in my neighborhood when I stumbled across a side street I was going to have to cross.  As I slowed myself to look left and to look right for any cars I happened to look down. And there right before my feet was the following: 

And yes, those are my feet, size 10 1/2, in their Reebok sneakers with day-glow green laces observing the message that lay below me. 

What was I to do? If this was the end of the sidewalk then what was I going to meet across the street? Was this an omen?  Was something deadly waiting for me? 

Now I’m not one to be scared of messages scrawled across cement. I know all about graffiti. I’ve seen walks and pavements gang tagged. This was different. The penmanship was crisp and clear and easy to read.  The author spelled everything correctly.  There was even a period at the end. 

This was a strong statement that could not be ignored. 

Now I assume you must be thinking I’m insane. Sure I’ve crossed many streets before.  Thousands of streets in thousands of neighborhoods, but never was a message written on the sidewalk warning me the sidewalk has ended.  

Was this what Nostradamus meant, and was it intended specifically for me? 

I could easily have turned around and returned from where I came, but I refused to let a message stop me from going where I needed to go.  And I needed to go ASAP. I was getting the shakes,,, the shivers… and a pounding in my head.  

I took a deep breath and leaped across the street. And once across the street this is what I saw:  

Phew!  Nostradamus be damned. It wasn’t the end of my world. I was where the sidewalk starts.

I wiped the sweat from my brow and quickly ran to my destination… The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

I am Michael hear me roar and nothing — not even a sidewalk warning — comes between me and my coffee.