I Can’t Have Anything Nice

Pee-Tah gave me a shop vac once. It’s really nice, a very manly vacuum.  It can suck the paint off the walls if you try hard enough.  I’ve broken it once by hoovering up a bunch of water with it and not turning off the filter.  Or changing the filter.  I really don’t know what I did but it was something with the filter, and Pee-Tah fixed it by purchasing a new filter and installing it.

The other day I tried to clean my dirty new car, and as I stood there with the shop vac hose suctioned to the carpet, I noticed that nothing was cleared. The same dirt I started with was the same dirt I was left with. I was dismayed, thinking that the nap on my new dirty car carpet was too tight to release the hay pieces I picked up somewhere, and I could picture me with tweezers trying to get them out.  (Not really.)

I mentioned this lack of shop vac power to more than one person, and before I tell you their suggestions, I’m going to tell you another story. I’m nothing if not a story teller.

Back ages ago, when I was young and firm (cry), I lived in Colorado. It was a glorious time because Colorado.  It was also glorious because my mother, after having driven my tiny tin foil Karmann Ghia on I-65 through Nashville rush hour traffic, traded that Karmann Ghia in on a giant Jeep Wagoneer with the paneling down the side.  Those hummers are like tanks.  There’s not a lot of damage one can do to a Jeep Wagoneer with paneling down the side in an interstate scrape. I do not know this from experience – I promise you, the only car I ever wrecked was my mother’s Suburban when I backed it into a tree.  Anyway, I had that Jeep Wagoneer which was perfect for Colorado because it had 4-wheel drive and a heater that worked really well.  It also had door locks that would randomly choose to engage and the propensity to eat a starter.  I think I bought five starters during the four-year period I owned that Jeep.

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Representation of a Grand Jeep Wagoneer

Wrecked Jeep

Representation of a wrecked Grand Jeep Wagoneer, which you can see is barely scraped.

Upon reflection, until I bought this silver SUV that looks like every other silver SUV in the world, I’ve never owned a car that didn’t need a lot of unusual vehicle maintenance. The Karmann Ghia had no heater, no defroster, windows that would not go down and an exhaust leak that made me smell great.  The Wagoneer broke starters all the time, and then in one unfortunate incident, the motor seized up which required the purchase of a new motor.  The Dodge Shadow had a paint job that would peel off in huge sheets as I was driving down the interstate and it spent a lot of time in the shop because it would never start. The Rodeo went through brakes like I can go through a bag of cherries, and then I got the Sonata.  98% of this blog is dedicated to Sonata problems so we are all familiar with that.

But! In Colorado, where I was truly on my own for the first time, I dealt with a behemoth of a vehicle that would collapse under the weight of its own greatness every now and again. It didn’t take me long to meet a nice mechanic.  Really, that should be the story of my life.

“Tell me about your life, Jimmie.”

“Well, I met a nice mechanic. Works on cars like a champ.”

Mike was the mechanic’s name, and he could handle tears well. He was responsible for the installation of one of my four starters, and also responsible for fixing my Jeep when it got stuck in 4-wheel drive.  He taught me how to navigate the automatic door locks that would randomly engage, introduced me to Van Morrison, and one day, when my Jeep wouldn’t start, Mike drove up the mountain in the snow to check it out.  I had just driven it and it was fine until it wasn’t.  Mike clambered out of his big truck, over a snowbank, and into my big Jeep.  He popped the hood, checked the 4-wheel drive, turned the key, and then suddenly laughed.

“Jimmie,” he said, “a car won’t start if it’s not in park.” He ratcheted the gear shifter into park and started it right up.  The flames on my cheeks were from the tears, sure, but also the humiliation.  Sigh.

Back to the point of this article – I asked a few people about my shop vac suddenly not sucking and one super nice person said, “I’ll just check the filter for you. Hold on.”  Out he trotted to the garage, and immediately he trotted back in as he bellowed, “Fixed your shop vac! I sucked some paint off the walls with it, just to make sure. Works great!”

He was holding my missing scarf, the silk one that Auntie Anne took from Auntie Susanne to give to Madre, the silk scarf that Madre gave to me when I got a corporate job, the silk scarf I had been looking for over the winter because it went with my nice coat and was professional. It was covered in grease and dirt and crumpled up like a grocery bag, unsalvageable. I have no idea how I sucked that thing up into the hose of my manly vacuum and DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT. How do you people even stand me?

With flaming cheeks I threw my ruined silk scarf into the garbage. Later, to celebrate, I shattered my Pyrex 8×8 pan full of cooked chicken, the pan that I use at least once a week, and dropped my cell phone into a full-of-water sink for the third time.

I’m taking applications for new friends if anyone is in the market. My old friends will surely dismiss me after this.  I bet Pee-Tah never talks to me again.

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Ruint Scarf, Complete with Grease

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Busted Pyrex, Ruint

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Pee-Tah, Ex Friend

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Must Love Dogs, Peru

Do all you get my Christmas card? If not, do you want to? Look, I know cards are pretty when they sit on your mantle spreading cheer for the three days you display them before Christmas, and they make a nice garbage can filler when you toss them, but I do understand that not everyone is enamored of them. Usually they include a poem about someone’s specialness, either the recipient or the Lord, and occasionally you get a signature that says, “Love you, XOXO” but otherwise there’s not a lot of substance. My favorites are the ones with pictures of your family, whatever that format looks like. I don’t have one of those to put on a card but I do try to make my card special with glitter and also a letter in which I am charming and funny. Sometimes I’ll make you cry, and I’ll be honest, that is intentional.

This past December I wrote in my letter about the loss of my kitty varmints, one to old age and one to a sense of adventure (hopefully). It was with no sense of regret that I threw the litter box away although it did take me six months to do it because I remained hopeful that Seamus would return with a wife and children in tow. I do know he lost his neuters at the tender age of “kitten” but a girl can dream.

Anyway, if you receive my card you already know this but if you don’t, surprise! I’m animal free and have been since September which is often really lonely. I pee alone all the time now and I sleep with all six of my pillows all to myself. It’s nice until it isn’t.

Also, since I can’t (won’t) seem to write with any regularity anymore, I’ll also tell you that I recently redid my living room. I got new paint and new furniture and a nice new rug that mostly covers the cat barf stains, and the orange fur coating that once blanketed my house has virtually disappeared. Things look nice and clean, and I’ve been very pleased. It’s just, I guess I can’t have nice things because since the orange fluffy loves of my life disappeared, all I can think about is a dog. YOU ARE NOT TO ENCOURAGE ME. My looking at the Humane Society website daily is encouragement enough. Also my Instagram stalking of all cute dogs, and my seeking out people with dogs, and my researching adoption policies for doggie rescue centers – that’s all I can take.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am not ready for a dog. I have a nice new clean living room with a new rug and new sofas. I travel way too often. I work way too far from home. I do not have expendable income to be spent on bowel surgeries after a dog eats the socks I lost under the new sofa. I don’t particularly like dog licks. My bedroom linens are solid white. I am not prepared. I still want one.

What will save me, I think, is my list of requirements for a dog. I have potential suitor requirements, found here, and I now I have dog requirements. Both of them are strict and if my ring-less left finger is any indicator of how well my strict process lends itself to actually putting a ring on it, I imagine I’ll be dog free for quite some time.

  1. The dog cannot have a dumb name. I’m really over the Hendrixes and the Cobains and the trend of naming pets after weed and then abandoning them to a shelter because you are too burnt to take care of them.
  2. My dog must wear t-shirts. Cool ones but not ones in memory of Hendrix or Cobain or weed.
  3. My dog must not be interested in showing affection by licking.
  4. My dog must not smell like Fritos.
  5. I need a tall dog, a burly dog, a dog with large feet.
  6. My dog must not have social anxiety or panic attacks or need any medication to control his mood disorder. A thunder shirt is fine, though.
  7. No puppies! I need a stately dog, with some wisdom and potty training.
  8. My dog must not need more grooming than me.
  9. My dog must be able to be a couch potato sometimes. We are not taking up distance running, no thank you.
  10. My dog must love dogs.
  11. My dog will be a rescue or adoption.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

I went to Peru, do you remember? Most of this content was a lead in for that question, and for the following photos, a collection I affectionately call “Street Dogs of Peru.” Guys, lookit them!

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I might have tricked you.  One of these might be a llama.  These dogs (and llamas) will also try to trick you. They will look at you with those sad eyes, in a posture of pitiful, but they aren’t, not even the hairless ones.  They are the most well-behaved, healthiest, cleanest dogs you have ever seen.  Happy, too.  Not when you walk by with American pizza, of course, or a street taco, because they want you to feel bad so you will share your delicious treats, those fat little beasts.  Some of them wear clothes and some wear collars. Some of them just roam all night like alley cats.  You won’t catch their names yet they have friends everywhere.  Aren’t they all so cute? Even the hairless ones!

Real Peru coming soon, not just Peruvian dogs.

 

So I Went To Peru

Hey, guys! I went to Peru! I saw my little sis, Squirt!

This is a picture she took*, and honestly it needs to stand alone.

Llama

*(Not photoshopped, not filtered, not altered in any way. It was an accidental photobomb that resulted in the best picture ever taken as long as you don’t count the monkey selfie that made the rounds a few years ago.)

I have way more coming soon. Stay tuned.

Bye, Friend

Driving home from work yesterday, I passed a granny blue Hyundai Sonata on the back of a tow truck. I looked into the cab of the truck and saw the driver bouncing happily along, knowing he was making money off of that tow, and the passenger looking miserable.  I raised my fist in solidarity as a nod to the passenger and she looked over at me and sighed.

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My old friend, at home on the back of a tow truck

That raised fist would have been better accepted, I think, had I been in my own granny blue Hyundai Sonata, but I wasn’t. I was in my sporty new Toyota Rav4, boring silver in color like 90% of American SUVs.  It runs like a dream, though, and the money I would have spent over the next ten years fixing dumb stuff like the catalytic convertor, the starter (three times), the alternator (twice), the compressor, the blower motor, the bushings, the brakes (countless), etc. I spent in advance to purchase a more mechanically sound vehicle.  I love it.  I’d love it better if I could find it more easily in the Target parking lot amongst the sea of other small silver SUVs, but I do love it.

A week after Woney and I got back from Norway, where we spent all our money, the dashboard in my car lit up like Las Vegas. Every bell and whistle sounded and every light flashed and every buck a bronco could give you kicked off in the engine of my car.  It was humiliating.  I turned the ignition and rode that fair ride all the way to 5th Gear Automotive where Austin said, “Seriously, Jimmie, it is past time.”  Then he sighed and said, “Let me see what I can do.”

Turns out it was one of three things, all of them expensive, and Austin fixed one in the hopes it was the right one. It was, but only for a day, and then I drove my bucking fair ride back home and to work again.  There was no point in spending another $1000 to fix something that was just going to break again anyway and I was tired of meeting tow truck drivers.  Plus every penny I had managed to put into a savings account over the last five years was withdrawn to pay for another fix for that car.

Over the next few days I loaded up with Daisy in her nice, clean, mechanically sound vehicle and we test drove every single affordable SUV on the lot over at CarMax in Rivergate. William was my sales guy, and bless his heart, he was so patient. “Do you even know what you want,” he asked.  Nope, no I did not. I was supposed to wait another year before buying.  I had another year before I would be ready.

Here’s what I could tell William.

  • I wanted leg room
  • I wanted something that was mechanically sound
  • I wanted to be able to make out with my theoretical new boyfriend in the back seat
  • I did not want silver
  • It could not smell like dog or smoke

“That’s not a lot to go on,” he said.

Daisy said, “You don’t even have a boyfriend.”

“I know,” I said to both of them, “whatcha got?”

I drove a Mazda CX-3, a Honda CRV, a Honda HR-V, a Nissan Rogue, a Nissan Murano, and a Toyota Rav4. William kept pushing for a Ford but I wasn’t having it.  Some of them drove like bobsleds and some of them drove like marshmallows, and I realized that I cannot really afford a marshmallow drive which is a shame.  I liked those. I also drove SUVs that smelled like wet dog and smoke, SUVs that were painted silver, and SUVs that were too small to make out with anyone in any backseat.  To test that particular theory, I made William, who was no small chicken himself, get in the back seat with me and have a conversation.

He laughed the first time I asked him to do it. “I’m serious,” I said, and when he looked over at Daisy with his eyebrows raised, she simply nodded at him. He was getting no support from her. In he clambered and in I clambered and Daisy stood guard in the parking lot until I was satisfied we had ample room. Then Daisy clambered into the back seat while William and I took our regular spots and off we’d drive.

Madre came up for the last round of test driving wherein William presented me with a silver Rav4. “I don’t want silver,” I said, and William opened his mouth to let forth a torrent of expletives.  No, I’m kidding.  William had the patience of Job. Actually, I forgot to weave this in, but when driving any of the cars across the lot, William and I had to switch places so that he was the driver on their property.  He never put his seat belt on and the vehicle would ding all the way across the lot and out the gate.  It drove me nuts.  I’d say, “put on your seat belt” and he’d ask, “oh, is it dinging” and I’d roll my eyes and huff, “Yes!”

“Jimmie,” he’d say, “I’m a man. I can tune out any noise.  I can drive this thing from here to Arkansas with no seat belt and never once hear that ding.” I am not that patient.

Anyway, I said, “I don’t want silver” and William said, “We can keep looking.” He meant it.  He was in this with me.  I looked over at my granny blue Hyundai Sonata and remembered how it bucked and rattled and made a disgrace of me and a nuisance of itself, and then I signed the paperwork on my new silver Rav4 while Madre wandered around looking at all the cars I had driven over the last few days.

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My new friend, dirty and mechanically sound

The Sonata now belongs to Pooh who will be 16 soon enough and can use a car. I know you feel some horror upon reading that, but look.  Giving a 16-year-old a nice car is the worst thing you can do.  They get a sense of entitlement and snooty pride which having a car that breaks all the time will destroy.  Standing on the side of the road waiting for your daddy to come get you builds character and makes you appreciate things later in life like silver Rav4s that run great and have plenty of room and don’t smell like dog.  I am slightly shamed by the fact that the door handles have all fallen off the Sonata now.  Only one left on the passenger side back seat door, and it’s likely hanging on by a thread.  Coach is looking into buying new ones but he can only find chrome or black ones, so Pooh is going to be rolling in style.  Builds character.

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I asked Pooh and Tigger the other day this question – if you could pick any car in the world for your first one, what would you choose? Tigger had some elaborate something or other that I cannot recall, but Pooh said, “the Sonata, the same one you gave me.”

I was aghast. “Why?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “but I really like it.”

That kid has character.

How To Create And Participate In A Praise And Worship Band: A Theory According to Jimmie

Madre has in recent history had an experience at my church during which she’ll tell you she enjoyed herself immensely. She’s not lying.  The message was really good that day, and someone had a Word for her about belonging.  Everyone wants to belong, right?  What Madre will politely fail to mention in her enthusiastic praise for my church is that she cannot abide the music.  I cannot fault her for that.  It’s an acquired taste.

Martie and I grew up in a Presbyterian church with also a side of Methodist because that is what Madre and Daddy-O chose for our formative spiritual years. Traditionally your Presbyterian and Methodist churches operate as Catholic-light so there is an order to everything.  Hymns are sung from the hymnal which offers songs in the standard 3-4 stanza form, with piano accompaniment, or in lucky churches, with a pipe organ.  I love a pipe organ.  These hymns are sung with gusto if you have a good pianist and a modestly large congregation, always nice for a good rendition of “Amazing Grace.”  Sometimes your pianist is just okay or your congregation is small, but in that case, you still bleat out two or three of the stanzas, getting louder on the last one because everyone knows that the last verse is the tear-jerker.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.

 

Man, I can barely type that one without getting teary.

It’s when you get into the Baptist-type religions (do not confuse with Church of Christ – there’s no musical accompaniment in Church of Christ churches) that you start seeing a move away from stanza hymns to more consistent emotional offerings, songs where someone with a set of pipes modeled after heavenly angels can really show their stuff. Everybody knows that the Baptists like to thrum your emotions, just tinkle on those feelings like a really good piano trill, and what a better way to do that than with music!  Get a bunch of very good solo artists on the stage and boy howdy, do you have a party!  I’ve never cried as much as in a Baptist church when the choir swells up after a truly gut-wrenching solo to sing “It is Well with My Soul.”  My voice reaches that fever pitch where only dogs can hear me at the end, and I have to go home after to take a nap, I’m so spiritually exhausted.  It’s fantastic!

In the last few years, I’ve found myself moving away from the Baptist church to a more Apostolic one and my emotions show it. You can’t find an Apostolic church without a really good praise and worship band, and that is partly because Apostolics like to get you in the feels before the service, during the service, and after the service.  If you don’t leave emotionally wrung out, totally spent, well, then you’ve got yourself a dud.  I’ve seen grown men cry, do cartwheels and literally run laps around the sanctuary.  My eyes are puffier than they ever have been and while you may chalk it up to age, I say it’s because I cry more often at church.  It’s not a good Sunday unless I’ve used four Kleenex.

I know what you are thinking. I know you are saying, “I bet Jimmie is super fun to go to a concert with, what with all her crying at the songs.  I bet Jimmie is a hoot after church song number three, a basket case after church song number four, and worthless by the end of the service.  I bet Jimmie never even hears the sermon, she’s so busy blowing her nose.”  You are wrong.  It’s not the music, it’s the Lord.  You think your Lord and Savior isn’t worth a few tears? Think again.

Truth is, I’m not a big fan of live music. I find concerts and the like to be the most exquisite form of torture.  I spend the entire evening wondering how long I have to stay and regretting the fact that I didn’t drive alone so I could plead ovary explosion and go home already.  I make very few exceptions for this general loathing, one of which is Martie’s live music and one of which is some Rockabilly guy I saw 10 years ago at 3rd and Lindsley.

I can be gracious and truthfully say that I do like the music at my church, and I do cry often instead of sing. Listen to “Forever” by Kari Jobe sometime and tell me that doesn’t get you in the gut.  Ultimately,  though, I find myself having a difficult time with the praise and worship bands employed at Apostolic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and non-denominational churches everywhere (but not Church of Christ because that is forbidden.)  I love the Holy Spirit.  I believe people get caught up in it.  I believe that music is an excellent way to worship the Lord.  I believe music provides one of the easiest expressions to feel and convey love.  But I also believe that we all too often use praise and worship, aka live music, at the expense of solid teaching, solid following, pastoring, communicating and relating to people.  Plus it plucks at my very nerve endings, like someone is taking a razor blade to my sciatic nerve and making tiny little cuts over and over again until I want to scream or pass out, both of which would render the music unhearable to me.  In some cases I would consider it a relief.

I do realize that I sound cynical and jaded and that I belong firmly where I sit – in the minority with the other old ladies shaking my cane. That is fair.  So that you may see my point of view clearly, so that you don’t judge me too harshly, I offer you my theory on how to create and sustain and praise and worship band of your very own.

How To Create and Participate In A Praise And Worship Band

A Theory According to Jimmie

  • Get the right wardrobe. It’s either rock star jeans with shiny stuff on the butt or hipster jeans that are so tight your audience can tell you wear boxer briefs. No mom jeans! Unless mom jeans are making a comeback amongst the uber-hip crowd, then you can wear mom jeans. Shoes are not required because the music stage is holy ground and no one wants you to desecrate holy ground except in cases where shoes are part of the ensemble.
  • Employ as many band members as you can, mostly guitarists but definitely a drummer, a bassist, a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar, and a keyboardist.
  • Employ as many decent vocalists as you can, but only one or two really good ones. Stamina is more important than talent if you want the truth of it. Give them all a microphone if you can afford that many.
  • Set the stage lights to “mood” and paint the stage itself black. Other lights may be utilized to laser around the room but none of them may be bright white lights. Purple, blue, green, and aqua are recommended.
  • Pick a song and then sort of learn the words. The screen that displays the words for the congregation (no hymnals allowed!) will never match what you actually sing anyway, because everyone knows you are so full of the Spirit (or they will after you butcher the lyrics) that you couldn’t possibly follow a song as written, even if the Spirit gave you the lyrics Himself.
  • You must speak the words you are about to sing before you actually sing them. For example, you say with feeling “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,” and THEN you sing “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,” preferably with your eyes closed and all breathy, as if your emotions are overtaking you. They may be, I’m not saying they aren’t, but if you are not conveying emotion with your lungs, you are doing it wrong.
  • Speaking of breathing the words, it is also important to learn how to sigh the words so that it sounds as if you are going to burst into tears in short order, particularly during the refrain. If you can kind of start every word with an H, bonus points to you! “Huh-Mazing Gr-huh-race, Huh hhhsweet, the-huh huh-sound . . .” See how it sounds like you are crying?
  • Once you’ve made your point with your emotions (you’re so spuritul, yo), you can really being to wail. Wait until the refrain, though. Wait for the crescendo. When crescendo beginning is nigh, prepare to repeat the refrain a minimum of 15 times with each repetition becoming progressively louder. If you can manage it, the refrain can last for up to 40 repetitions without congregants actively looking for an opportunity to sit down. It’s important that no matter how many repetitions you make, you sing with gusto! Sing your heart out. This is the time to improvise and warble up and down the notes so that no one could ever hope to follow your lead, so that those who try give up in embarrassment and shame because the one time your microphone doesn’t drown them out will be the one time they ventured to match your enthusiasm and they did it alone not knowing the crescendo was over. They were trying to follow the words on the screen but the woman in the back whose job is to put the right words up there gave up a long time ago trying to keep up so that when they sheepishly look around to see who heard them butcher that line, they see that she’s filing her nails now.
  • After the crescendo repetitions have petered out, begin them anew but this time at a whisper so that you may properly convey your reverence and respect for the Lord. This! This is where you eke out tears if you can! Hands are up in the air unless you are holding an instrument and your body should be down on the floor unless, of course, being on the floor renders you unable to reach your instrument or be seen by the audience. From your prone position you may repeat this whispered refrain four times. No more, no less.
  • A pregnant pause in the singing completes song number one. Only three more to go!
  • Once you are musically spent, you offer up a pearl of wisdom gleaned either in your Bible reading the night before or during one of your crescendo repetitions. At this point, you may now turn the service over the pastor who may say, as in one unfortunate incident at a church I never visited again, “I like where the Spirit is leading us. Let’s just stay in this posture for the rest of the service, okay? Music team, continue for the remainder of our time.” (I then realize that the pastor didn’t prepare a message for the week because he was out at the downtown concert venues every night getting fed with the latest praise and worship bands. At that point I pack up my Bible and go home. I’ve got prayer to attend to.)

You can picture me, can’t you, over here with my feet firmly planted on my soap box, in my sturdy shoes with my knee highs rolled down around my ankles, leaning heavily on my cane. I know I picked Nashville.  I know I came voluntarily to Music City.  I know I picked my church, every church I’ve ever attended as an adult.  I know I’m in the minority.  I accept my status as a curmudgeon.  I’ll still invite you to the Lord, and to my church.  Y’all come any time.  I’ll bet you’ll love it.

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Amazing Grace

It Is Well With My Soul

Forever

 

Healthy Eating

Mary Ann and I went to Newk’s for lunch today and enjoyed enormous Greek chicken salads. That salad features lots of goodies like lettuce (the spiny kind which I love and Daisy hates and also the wimpy leafy kind which Daisy loves and I hate), grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta, red onion (barf), slices of pepperoncini peppers, and artichoke hearts, something I can eat by the jarful.  There’s a delightful vinaigrette poured over it and you are welcome to supplement your lunch with Newk’s very own pickles, capers, jalapeños, parmesan shreds, roasted whole garlic cloves, crunchy bread sticks and/or croutons.  Newk’s also plays it fast and loose with their tea selections so really, it’s a very interesting lunch place no matter how you cut it.  I love tea.

Mary Ann and I yapped about changes at work while we ate to the very last lettuce leaf, yes even the wimpy leafy kind, and as we were leaving we saw a couple of men having the same kind of earnest conversations we just had. I’d say that they were enjoying salads with lots of additions but the truth is, only one of them was doing that.  The other man had the saddest looking salad I’ve ever seen in my whole life.  He had ordered the kale Caesar with no croutons, light cheese (apparently) and dressing on the side, so basically he had a bowl of raw kale fluff with four shreds of parmesan.  You could tell he thought it was sad, too, because mostly he sat at the table with his arms crossed while he talked and very occasionally he’d load up his fork with a wad of stiff kale and one corner of parmesan shred, delicately dip one kale curly into his dressing-on-the-side, and chew for six minutes while he tried to choke it down.  Look, I’m into health, truly, but you cannot convince me no how no way that a bowl of raw kale is an excellent lunch.  It’s not even an excellent side item.  I think he’s in the midst of a mid-life crisis, to be honest. He looked like the sort.

Speaking of men, and follow me here, I have a new roommate. He got here in September and then promptly got sent away for work so basically he pays me to store his things while he Armys off to protect dams and other federal structures.  In the month he actually resided in my home, I learned that he’s a huge fan of German food and also cake, which I can get on board with.  What I’m struggling with is that he enjoys cooking the German food and also baking the cake, and on the first pass I can see why you’d look at me in askance.

“Jimmie, everyone knows a man working in the kitchen is hot, hot, fire, and then usually there’s food afterwards, so why the struggle?”

Right. First, this is just one example of what my table looks like after his cooking is done.

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A tablecloth is not a cutting board, nor is it a napkin. You should see my floor, too, holy moly.

Secondly, new roomie wants to eat healthy. Again, “Jimmie, you have moaned about your extra hips for years, why is this a problem, you high maintenance heifer?”

Right. It’s just that his idea of eating healthy is to add red onion to everything.  Also, if we are being specific, garlic.  And then he substitutes the pork, beef, and chicken with turkey, the vegetables with spinach, any bread items with crushed Triscuits, sugar with agave nectar, flour with coconut flour, baking powder with tapioca starch, chocolate chips with grated unsweetened baker’s chocolate, and sugar free jelly for fruit. Plus he doesn’t read instructions so things like “add three whole cloves to the sauce” somehow means, “the recipe called for cloves but I’m not sure the quantity so since I have a full package, I guess 1/4 of it will work.”

“Would you like beef rouladen for dinner? You can have turkey with spinach, onion, and garlic but we will call it rouladen because it’s rolled.”*

“How about schnitzel with a potato dumpling? Sounds great!  Have this turkey with spinach, onion, and garlic!  It’s just like the rouladen but this one has a crispy Triscuit coating that got burned in the skillet.”*

“Want some cake? Pictured is a slab of chocolatey goodness covered in a fudge-like ganache but I subbed a few things and this patty of coconut flour sadness features lemon curd, a custard that never set but pooled in the center of the cake plate and on to your tablecloth, and more maraschino cherries than is good for a person.  It’s delicious and has a delicate clove essence!”*

*I might be paraphrasing.

*And he does eat a lot of red cabbage so maybe I’m slightly unfair.

You can tell he doesn’t even see the problem because he presents each dish with a flourish by waving the plate in your general direction and wafting the steam towards you with his hand. He also says, “TA DA!” and then struts around the house like a peacock while I drag the tablecloth to the washing machine for another bleaching. The first time he made a cream sauce with coconut flour, he poured the sauce over the turkey schnitzel and took a giant bite.  As his mouth worked against the glue the coconut flour created, he wrinkled his nose slightly and gave an involuntary, nearly imperceptible shudder as he said, “It works!  It’s good! Want some?”

I demurred, “I already ate, I’m stuffed, I couldn’t possibly take food from you as my tenant.” Look, I ate Roomie’s food all the time, and also Daniel’s and my cousin’s and the other roommate I never told you about, Amy.  It’s just, coconut.  Ugh.  You know?

I will say this – he’s as skinny as a bean, much like Peter, so perhaps there is a lesson in here that I’m too obtuse to see?

We had a snow day recently wherein I got house bound by an entire inch of white powder. I took that opportunity to clean and organize the pantry, the spice cabinet, the cabinets under the sink, and the closet that holds all my books.  I also tackled the refrigerator and as I threw away my enormous bag of fermenting kale I truly had intended to use in a Caesar salad, I noticed several containers stuffed in the back of the fridge, hidden behind Roommate’s delicious Cherry Cokes.  Old containers of every cream sauce he has made with coconut flour, an entire bowl of crushed almonds that had been sweetened with agave nectar and left to harden into an almond mold that would not let go of the sides of the bowl, and a red onion growing fur crowded the shelf.  The true lesson here is that he doesn’t want to eat that crap either.  When he serves it, we sit at the table with our arms crossed while we have earnest conversations and very occasionally load up our forks with a wad of his “ta da” offerings to delicately dip one burnt turkey corner into our coconut flour cream sauce and chew for six minutes while we try to choke it down.

It’s great! Please bring dinner.

Speaking Of Hotties In Norway . . . .

Did you know that it rains 215 days per year in Norway? We didn’t either, but now we do.  This is probably why I didn’t come home with hottie hot hot Lasse, because everyone knows what happens to my hair when it rains.

Ima go kick rocks.  While I do, lookit us!  We so cute.

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Jimmie and Woney with pre-rain hair. Ain’t it glorious?

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Day one – Rain.  Also the day Jimmie lost Marco for ever. 

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The only day with no rain.  Please to note how great Jimmie’s hair looks.

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Jimmie and Cat, in the rain.

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Woney and Jimmie, tryna make rain coats look sexy.

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Woney and Troll, in the rain.

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Jimmie and Moose, just before a rainfall.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jimmie and Woney, after sitting out a rainfall.

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Woney, tryna be a Viking while it rained.

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Norway, bitches!  It’s hard to look mean in the rain.

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Jimmie, talking on the phone in the  . . . . for crying out loud, you know it was raining.

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A Beauty captured, in a lone moment of sunshine.  It’s perfect, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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