Snarky

This weekend I went shopping with Daisy. Often I like to shop for undergarments and often I drive my shopping partners nuts because I only wear matching sets.  Finding matching sets isn’t always easy for me despite all those cute undercracker sets you see in Target.  Those cute sets only come in size perky or petite, and this will surprise you, but I am neither.

I’ve been on a quest to find the right nude and white sets of undies. I’m sorry, this is TMI, but we are in the trenches now.  Anyway, on my quest, I’ve recently purchased and worn a set of each, only to discover that the brassieres are at minimum a size too large, despite my having been measured by an “expert.”  (“Expert” here means a shop girl holding a measuring tape and the measuring is done over the blouse, not “expert” like that high school football player who offered to “measure” me that one time because he “knows titties.”)

Daisy was off in the sized perky and petite bathing suits, rummaging for a suit for our pending Florida vacation, when a brassiere measuring “expert” approached me about the undergarments I was riffling through. “Would you like to try one of those?” she asked.  “It’s the best brand.  They fit like a dream.”

“Sure,” I said, because we all know that once a woman trails off into the bathing suit section, things can take a lengthy turn. It’s because women like being mean to themselves and criticizing all their perceived flaws, and I was going to let Daisy do that in peace because no amount of my telling her she’s perky and petite will make trying on a bathing suit any easier.  What else was I going to do with my time but try on some bras? Plus, I was in the market for one.

The “expert” trundled me off to the dressing room to give me a thorough measuring and once she got a gander at my (super cute, almost perfectly fitting) bra, she began bellowing.

“WELL NO WONDER YOU ARE IN HERE. That bra fit is AWFUL. MY GOD, THIS IS TERRIBLE.  You aren’t in the right size AT ALL.  Look at that wide back!  You need a triple D, with LOTS OF SUPPORT, GOODNESS!!!”

She waddled out of the dressing room after my thorough tongue-lashing during which I had to say, “Could you please not let everyone in the store hear my business? Could you please stop yelling?” and helped me select three bras. I picked the pretty ones and she picked the parachutes.

“Try these on,” she ordered. “They are meant to COVER THE BREAST UNLIKE THAT THING YOU HAVE ON THAT LETS THEM SHOW OUT THE TOP.” I clutched my three selections and shame-facedly made it back to the dressing room, me and my ill-fitted bosoms.

The first one, her selection, sure did fit like a dream, if a dream fits too large and droopy. My whole breast was swimming in there, and if any of you have breasts, you could have put one of yours off in there with mine.  It isn’t often I put on an undergarment that is too large, but I have to say, that was heady stuff.  I turned to the side to see how the breast just kind of pushed out from the body and then flopped over like a pancake on the lip of a plate.  That was weird because my breasts don’t do that even on their own, even unfettered.  I’m 44 but gravity hasn’t killed me yet.

The second one was just as bad. Maybe bigger in the cup size, though, and instead of making me look like I had pancakes for boobs, I looked like a little kid in my grandmother’s bra which was stuffed with pads and slightly pointy.

“How’s it going in there?” the sales lady hollered through the door.

“I look like a battle ax in these. I mean, the hooks on the back cover up the entire area between the top of my shoulder blade to the bottom of my rib cage.  And the straps are like rip cords. Very sturdy and not at all flattering.”  I was not impressed.

Neither was she. “YOUR ENTIRE BREAST IS FALLING OUT OF YOUR BRA.  These are meant to be SUPPORTIVE, something you CLEARLY NEED.”  I remembered how my breasts looked in my super cute, almost perfectly fitted t-shirt just five minutes ago when they were high and tight in my super cute, almost perfectly fitted bra and was puzzled.

I tried, though. “Sure, I’m with you, but this bra will stick out of my shirts because it comes up so high. The one I own is more of a lifter and separator, because I like my breasts placed in the breast region, not smashed down and covered to my neck, where, and this is weird, I don’t have any breasts. Does anyone have breasts up to their neck? Because this cup comes up to my neck.”

“You do what you want but I wear these all the time,” she sniffed, and then stiffly marched back to her cash register.

I tried on the pretty bra that I picked out and wouldn’t you know it really did fit like a dream. I didn’t look like a ‘ho, but then I didn’t look like Maxine either.  I turned this way and that and admired how high and tight everything was, how I could breathe normally, how nothing fell out of the bottom, and then I took it off and hung it back on the hanger.

As I walked out of the dressing room, the sales lady called, “Did you like that one?”

“I did,” I replied.

“There is a free gift with purchase,” she enticed even though she was still offended.

“Ooh,” I mulled. “Is the free gift a matching panty?” I was intrigued and would have slapped down the ridiculous $65-per-bra lickety split if she had said yes.  But she didn’t.

“No, it’s a lingerie bag. We don’t have matching panties for that bra.”

And that was that. Bra back on the rack, Daisy and I out, saleslady miffed.

That’s how it goes, folks. Never an easy answer for boobs like mine.

 

 

I Can Totally Quit You, Facebook

Are we friends on Facebook? Rather, were we?  Because now we aren’t.

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*

On New Year’s Day, I deactivated my Facebook account for good. It wasn’t a resolution really, but more of a nice round date on which to make decision.  My finger hovered over the “close” button for some truly anxious moments and I felt a little sick.  I wondered how I would keep up with everyone.  How would I know what was going on the world?  Or with my friends?  But after those first panicky thoughts, I pushed the button and felt an enormous sense of relief.  It was done.  No more would I voluntarily read things like this:

Obama, most excellent President, hated by white Christians simply because he’s black. (Not true)

You can’t take away my Second Amendment rights! Ima holster up my pistols and swagger on over to Wal-Mart and just let somebuddy try to tell me I cain’t come in.  Just let ‘em.  Swing through McDonald’s afterwards.  This is necessary, y’all!  I’ve got to prove this point right here right now! (Not true)

God took your loved one because He needed another angel! (Not true)

God took your loved one because He needed another angle! (Also not true)

This keeps happening to me! Only me! Why?! (Not true, whatever “this” is)

Jesus is weeping because you haven’t shared this on your wall nor have you typed Amen. Heathen. You’ll burn in hell, oh ye of little faith. (Most definitely not true)

Honestly, it was this coming election is what really did it for me. I know where I sit and no matter how many vitriolic memes or pictures or opinions you post about where you sit, whether I’m aligned with you or not, I’ll not change my mind or think you are a genius.  No one will, really.  You say you want to educate people but what you really want is for someone to validate your opinion (collective you, not specific you).  So instead of being annoyed about it, I changed it.  Besides, I want to continue to like the 346 people that I love and the easiest way to do that is to hold our interactions to a standard of “in person” or “a phone call away.”  And now I’m happy all the time.

Also, as a white Christian, I’d like to share this picture that I love because it tickles me all the way down to my toes. I love the man in this picture and I don’t give two shits if his skin is black or white or a saucy caramel macchiato.  This man, right here on the floor, is just lovely.

obama-halloween-party11_1

This man, too.

bushafricafinal1

*speaking of that “I escaped” up there, Phranke and I played the Escape Game with four strangers on New Year’s Eve. At 11:55 pm the clock started its one hour countdown and we frantically rushed around our tiny little room trying to figure out clues to get us out of there.  At midnight one of the strangers said, “Oh. Happy New Year,” and we all said, “Oh, sure, happy new year,” and then continued to tear the room apart for clues.  My stealthy-ness won the game for us!  It totally did!  (not true – I suck at that game.  I stood around and looked pretty and occasionally got to hold the flash light.)

It was way fun! (True)

The Escape Game

How Madre Does A Hospital Stay

A week or two ago Madre had to have some surgery to get her gut rearranged, and that surgery required an overnight stay in the hospital. Back in April she had a different gut rearranging surgery wherein parts of her that were useless were removed. That removal opened the door for other gut items to shift around and act like brats so Madre sternly opted to teach them a lesson by having them operated upon. She’s fine, so there will be no surprise ending where I exclaim, “She’s in a full body cast for approximately three months to one year but she’s hopeful and the prognosis, while grim, can be good as long as she gets regular acupuncture and never has sugar again!”

Going relatively anywhere with Madre is a treat. She’s from whom I get my stunning and friendly personality so like me, Madre simply views strangers as friends that she has not yet met. Combine that personality with the increasing lack of filter that often comes in the aging process and you’ll understand what an adventure it is to witness Madre come out of anesthesia and recover overnight in a hospital bed.

Martie drove Madre up for the procedure and planned on spending the night in Madre’s room, ostensibly to keep an eye on Madre’s care but more honestly to make sure Madre didn’t loot the nurse’s cart or sneak down the hall for a midnight coffee run. After the surgery had been completed Madre was whisked off to the recovery room. We expected an hour’s wait but after two Martie and I began to get worried. Martie set off to the seventh floor to hunt her down. As it happens, things took a horrible turn for the nurses and also Madre when, coming out of anesthesia, Madre rubbed her eyes and in doing so, scraped the tape debris right across her cornea. The sight Martie found at the recovery room door was Madre sitting up in her recovery bed with an eye patch taped over her face, her mouth open and her finger wagging at the beleaguered staff.

“Did you put an ice pick in my eye?” she bellowed.

“No, ma’am, you just scratched your cornea with the tape.”

“Well it feels like an ice pick has been stabbed into my eye! Did you do this so I wouldn’t feel pain in my stomach? Because I don’t feel any pain down there but my eye is killing me! I can take pain, Martie, you know I can take pain, but this really hurts. I need some morphine for this! Have you put any pain meds in my IV? Did you do this on purpose? What kind of joint are you running here?”

It was a downhill slide from there.

When they finally wheeled Madre into her room, I got to hear this little tirade for myself. It was exquisite, how intently Madre could focus on her eye and ignore her lower body which had stitches and cuts and sutures. That part of the surgery made me squirm all in my intestines but Madre could give two hoots about that. She was pissed off about her eye.

The nurse who completed the transfer from recovery room to regular room and then recovery bed to regular bed got Madre all settled and then scooted quick, fast and in a hurry out of the room. “Here’s a cafeteria menu,” he hollered from the door, “she can order whatever she likes, no restrictions,” and then he was gone.

Madre’s ears perked up. “A menu?” she said. “Can I get coffee, do you think?”

After listening to the menu selections (because her eye was all patched up), Madre selected a quesadilla, brown rice, and carrots (for eye health – not joking). She also ordered a large cup of coffee, stat. The nurse had assured us that her eye would heal quickly and as we waited for her meal and coffee, Madre iced her eye and began to fully wake up.

“This hurts,” she said but she was no longer bellowing. “Wonder what really happened to my eye? I feel weird. How do I come in here to get my guts rearranged but leave with an eye patch? Did they do the surgery? Am I okay?”

We assured her that she was okay, and before long she was. She swilled down the coffee the moment it hit her tray and then attempted a few bites of dinner. She took a bite of quesadilla and happily chewed on that for about eight minutes. After quite a long time of that one mouthful, she said, “You know, I’m chewing but it isn’t really going anywhere.” We greased it up with some sour cream and that seemed to slide it down a little easier.

After a while she attempted to eat the carrots. They were cut into a small dice and with her patched eye and no glasses, she managed to pick up one cube. “These probably taste pretty good but I can’t see the damn things to pick them up. Am I eating them? Are there any on my fork? I need them to make my eye better.”

And that was dinner.

After a while, I left Madre and Martie to sleep it off in the room. I felt content with my mother’s care and her recovery so I slept the sleep of the peaceful dreamer.

Martie, on the other hand, slept terribly on the eggshell-mattressed cot, and was there when Madre awoke and decided it was time to go home.

“Madre,” she said, “you have to wait for them to remove the catheter and then take out the IV.”

“The doctor told me that as soon as I could pee on my own, we could leave. Get them in here so I can do that. And get them in here to get this damn tube out of my arm.” Madre was insistent.

Martie dutifully trotted off to the nurse’s station where they assured her that they would be right in. They were not, of course, because they had other patients to attend to, but eventually, after much persuasion, the catheter was removed and Madre could get out of bed. Madre did her business and then marched up and down the hall with her IV pole greeting other patients and making her rounds.

“I’m ready to go. Will you remove this IV please,” she asked every staff member.

At the nurse’s station she requested a pair of scissors. “I need to cut this line, please. I’m tired of this pole,” she explained. The nurses looked at Martie with some horror and some sympathy.

“No, ma’am, you cannot be discharged until the doctor comes in for her rounds and releases you,” they explained.

Here Madre set them straight. “Oh, no,” she said, “I was told that once I could pee on my own I could go. I’ve done that, twice, and now I need to leave. I have horses to attend to. And a dog I need to pick up. Martie, call your sister and tell her to call my doctor so that she can tell them I can be released. Do that now.”

Martie made the call and I made the call and many apologies were made by Martie and by me. Shockingly, that phone call worked. In no short order, Madre’s doctor called Madre’s nurse and asked, “Is she bucking?”

Yes. Yes, she was bucking.

“Cut her loose,” she said. “Let her go home. She’s just fine.”

Madre was quickly released from her hospital prison, much to the relief of everyone. But, like it happens every time with my mother, the staff cheerfully waved her off with almost hugs and affectionate pats, a little sorry to see her go. She was and is fine. Marvelous, even.

It isn’t often you find a 72-year-old woman who will challenge you the way my mother will challenge you yet do it in such a way that you can’t help but cheer her on. Life with Madre – it’s never boring.

 

#TBT: My Boys

I was eight years old when I got brothers.  They were older than me, not babies, so I was leery at first.  A baby brother would have been a dream because I could tote him around in my dolly stroller and dress him up in my dolly clothes with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of bossiness.  (Martie never let me boss her around even though I was a full 20 months older than her.)  Instead I got these wild things who ran non-stop into and out of the woods, who double-dog dared me to launch myself into the creek from a rope swing, and who sometimes pushed me out of hammocks onto some very pointy rocks.  I was crazy about them.

Barracuda!

All the girls that we went to school with were crazy about them, too.  Martie and I got phone calls all the time from these much older girls who’d ask, “Vawn nere?”

Martie would look at me, her forehead wrinkled into a question mark, and hold out the phone to me mouthing, “I don’t know what she’s saying?”

“Hello?” I’d say, and then I’d hear, “Yah, Vawn nere?”  I’d look back at Martie, my forehead wrinkled into a question mark, and shrug.  It took us a little bit to realize that Popular Girl Tammi wasn’t really calling to talk to Martie or me, despite her asking for us, but was calling to determine if Vaughan (Brother Bear) was home.  Oh.  Vawn nere? = is Vaughan there?

“He’s fahr,” another girl said admiringly of Brother Boo.  By this point I’d caught on to the lingo.

“Yes, fire would be a good descriptor for him,” I’d say, knowing that my version of fire and her version of fire were two different fires.

Hotties

After the boys learned to drive, and it was early as they had been clamoring for that privilege since they were able to sit upright, they’d worry the mess out of Madre and Poppa to go somewhere.

“I’ll run over and get some milk from the dairy farm,” they’d promise and then roar off in the old Cadillac, always returning with the car but sometimes not with the milk.

“I’ll just go get the dog food, no problem, can I have the keys?” they’d ask, right before they disappeared down the country dirt road, not to return again for two hours.

“I’ll mow the grass,” Brother Boo yelped, and he’d drive lines up and down the yard all afternoon.

That grass mowing business left me raging with jealousy.  I had been begging to mow grass since I was too short to even reach the push mower handles.  My cousin, Reid, was tasked with that chore before we got brothers and then afterwards, the boys took care of it, so Martie and I were never allowed the privilege.

“Show me how to do that,” I remember asking Brother Boo.  “Please, I want to do that.”

Y’all, for three whole minutes he patiently taught me.

“Let the clutch out slowly, you want it to be smooth,” he said as I positioned myself on the seat.

I tried slow and smooth just like he said but at nine, slow and smooth were not yet in my vocabulary.  I wobbled all over my one line, mad at him because I couldn’t get it right.

“Are you sure slow, because this isn’t working,” I snarked.

That soured Brother Boo on the game and he said, “No, actually, it’s easier if you just pop the clutch.  I was messing with you before.”

So I, ever trusting, popped the clutch and nearly flew backwards off that lawn mower.  Brother Boo laughed at me, claimed his rightful place in the driver’s seat and smoothly drove off to finish his mowing.

Glory

Later, once we all knew how to drive and had cars with which to do it, our brothers would drive theirs until they had no gasoline left, and then ask if they could borrow ours.  Brother Bear was particularly charming in his requests and he’d fly off after we handed over the keys.  Hours later, he would return from his party or his game or his date and he’d leave the car in the front yard with almost enough fuel to drive three miles to the nearest store.  Oh, it was irritating!  It happened EVERY TIME he borrowed a car yet Martie and I still willingly handed over the keys when he asked for them.

As kids do, we all grew up and turned into our own people.  My brothers started a band and played on big stages for a while.  They got married and had families and pursued other dreams when the band faded away.  Sometimes we stay in touch with regularity and sometimes we have to have marathon sessions for catching up because it’s been too long.

 

Band Member, Boo, Bear, Band Member, Band Member

Band Member, Boo, Bear, Band Member, Band Member

When Poppa got sick, Brother Bear was able to fly in to lend his support.  I picked him up from the airport and drove him to the hospital where we sat with the rest of the family in a vigil for hours.  We soon realized that the vigil would continue for longer than hours, more like days, and Brother Bear and I took turns staying overnight with Poppa because he couldn’t be left alone.  I’d drive home at midnight to sleep and then in the morning would relieve Brother Bear so he could take a turn at my house.  He’d take off in my car, pick up food and then crash for a few hours before coming back to relieve me.  It was a terrible time.

After a particularly trying night, I left the hospital, weary to my bones and sad.  The two of us knew before anyone else, I think, that Poppa as we knew him would not be coming home.  I got in my car and started it up for my drive across town.  I glanced down at my dashboard and you know what I noticed?  My brother had filled up my car.  My tank was full.  I laughed through my tears all the way home.

Handsome

This Thanksgiving, the four of us could not be any further apart.  Not one of us will see the other today.  It’s okay, though, because we don’t need to see each other to know we are loved.  Our hearts are connected by more than that.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

 

 

Jimmie Brags, Part One

You guys, I got nominated for a blogging award! I’ve never been nominated for anything in my life – never in high school when I barely spoke because I was “shy,” and never professionally because who gets nominated for booking excellent travel? Boss surely wouldn’t have nominated me for anything after my reserving a car for him in the wrong city. Twice.

Still, I was nominated for the Liebster Award and while I am much chagrined to have not yet received a plaque to hang on my wall or a fat check, I will take this award as mine. You are to ignore the fact that Martie, my sister, nominated me, and you are to embrace the fact that I was nominated for my fine, fine writing skills. Yo.

liebster21

Now, by accepting this award, I must promise to do several things. First, I am to tell you 11 things you don’t already know about me. Then I am to answer 11 questions posed by Martie. Finally, I am to nominate 11 other blogs and pose 11 questions to those writers. I’m on board with all of these things except perhaps the last one. I’m not certain that I know 11 other blogs. Does this mean I’m a snoot? I’m a snob, aren’t I? How about this – if you read me and you have a blog of your own, why don’t you reach out to me and let me know who you are. You can do that privately or publicly, but please give me the opportunity to know you.

Because I often get long-winded, I’ve decided to break this award post into installments. I’m writing like Stephen King now. You get one installment today and then two more installments later. It will be worth the wait, I promise. Plus, there’s only so much time you can waste on the innernet at work. I want you to remain productive members of society.

Now that the rules are out of the way, I will begin the promised assignment.

Eleven Things You Don’t Know About Me: A List
By Jimmie

1. When I lived in Colorado, I used to hitchhike all the time. And I picked up hitchhikers all the time. Before you get your panties in a twist, you need to understand that I lived in a tiny little ski town called Crested Butte, and the permanent residents totaled 1500 people. Plus, everyone who lived there, either permanently or temporarily, was either a full blown hippie or at least hovering right on the edge of it. It was a peaceful place, and there was always someone who had a vehicle equipped with better snow tires than mine – a necessity for living on a snow-covered mountain.

2. I dated a man from Kenya for a brief time. He was 6’9” and had legs like tree trunks. I cannot tell you what he looked like or whether or not I thought he was handsome. I only know that for the only time in my dating history, I felt tiny. It was glorious.

3. I think fresh fruit in a salad is an abomination. And I think that citrus flavorings in a wet dessert (for example, pie or cheesecake) is barf. However, fresh fruit and/or citrus flavoring in a cake is divine.

4. Michelangelo’s David, up close and in person, makes me lose my breath. I saw it when I was 19, and it was all I could do to walk away from him when I was summoned. Never has a piece of sculpture or any other artist’s work moved me in such a way.

5. When I was a child, I never ate plain potato chips. I loathed them. Barbeque? Lovely. Sour Cream and Onion? Fabulous. Plain? Ick. I have since mended my ways.

6. Once upon a time I lived in Alabama, and I had a group of friends that loved me beyond reason. I was poor and it was Christmastime and I very much wanted a tree. Unfortunately, I could not afford one. One night while at work, two of that group of friends drove over to see me on my lunch break. In the back of their pickup truck was a live tree, purchased just for me. We decided to make that our group tree and once it was set up in my tiny two-room apartment, we had a Christmas party and decorated our tree with donated ornaments. It was one of the best Christmases of my life. I’d lie in bed and gaze at that tree all night and thank God that He had given me such lovely friends.

7. I gigged a frog once.

8. My cousin won a photo contest with a picture he took of me.

Ice Cream

9. I have had one broken bone. Four years ago on Thanksgiving Day, Martie dropped a skillet lid onto my pinkie toe and broke it. It hurt like a mother-, no. It hurt like the dickens, but I didn’t care. I had my first broken bone and I carried that with some pride. I survived a broken bone. I had a purple toe. I walked, upright, with a broken body part. Y’all, I was a peacock. I am annoying.

10. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was ten. Madre bought us bikes, pink ones with pretty streamers, and she spent hours running up and down the road, holding on to our seats as Martie and I attempted to learn to ride them. And then Daddy-O bought me a vintage bike, painted it yellow at my request, and put a blue sparkly seat on it and some blue sparkly handles. He spent hours running up and down the road, holding onto my seat as I attempted to learn to ride. None of that worked. I gave up. And then one day a couple of years later, I was talking to Jeanie Sloane in her front yard and I said, “You know what, I’m going to get my bike.” And I got on that rusty blue and yellow thing and rode, just like that.

11. Jesus once spoke to me, in a voice that I could hear. He said, “Amanda, I know everything there is to know about you. I still love you.” I laid myself face down on the floor and cried for the joy of it.

Thus endeth my list, and thus endeth my post for today. Tune back in on Thursday for the second installment of “Jimmie Wins an Award and Crows about It: Part Deux.”

Thank you to Martie over at Is That A Hair In My Biscuit for the nomination. She nominated me because of my FINE WRITING, y’all, gah!

What’s Wrong With An Old-Fashioned Hamburger?

Anyone want to guess what this is?

Butter

If you guessed butter, you’d be partially correct. The official name for this is “pork fat butter with a hint of honey,” and you can get it at Husk, a trendy new farm-to-table restaurant in Nashville. I took my dinner group of senior citizens there recently, and I have to tell you that “pork fat butter with a hint of honey” is wasted on them. It’s wasted on me, too. Perhaps my palate is not discerning enough or perhaps it just tasted a whole lot like regular butter, but I’d prefer to spend my $40 fancy dinner budget at a restaurant with exotic cheesecakes instead of at a restaurant with snooty butter.

I’ve noticed an alarming trend with higher end, uber-hip, painfully trendy restaurants lately. The number of descriptives found on the menu directly correlates with the price of the dinner. “Hand-torn lettuce” will add an extra two dollars to that regular old chicken sandwich you just ordered, and “house-made ranch” will cost an extra dollar seventy-five no matter if it’s poured over the crappy old iceberg or over the “embered artichoke hearts,” of which you get one and that one will cost you three dollars. In addition, farm-to-table concepts offer wildly expensive menu items even though the restaurant saves money on shipping and refrigeration by growing half the menu in the back yard. Not only are the storage costs reduced because everything you need to prepare all side items is found in the garden, but you no longer need handlers and middlemen as the staff can just pick a few tomatoes for the grass-fed, organically-milked, humanely killed bison burger that was manually processed and skillfully yet tenderly patted into a “ground meat round” for your consumption.

Also, the fact that all these restaurants have now begun to refer to the head guy as “Chef” is a tad disconcerting. “Chef has requested no substitutions as the menu he created is of a specific design and intent. Removing the basil harms the integrity of Chef’s dish. Chef is certain you understand.”

Now I’m not one to throw ketchup on a steak, of course, but if Joe wants Heinz 57 on his fried catfish, Joe should be allowed to have Heinz 57 on his fried catfish, especially if he’s going to pay $34 of his hard-earned retirement money for that catfish. Wait, his “corporate-saved post-career lifestyle funds.” Also, I’m going to need all of you to start referring to me as “Executive Assistant.”

“Executive Assistant, would you like to go to dinner?” Yes, like that.

Isn't it gorgeous?  It was . . . . okay . . . . Totally had a fancy name, though.

Isn’t it gorgeous? It was . . . . okay . . . . Totally had a fancy name, though.

And speaking of Joe, bless his heart, I’ve got a story to tell. Joe has been coming to these dinners for the last four years. He signs up every month and will go anywhere we choose. He brings his budgeted $28 every time, so when we go somewhere fancy, I have to call and let him know to bring more money. This upsets him. When Joe gets upset, he goes on a rant, and I’ve learned that the only thing I can do is let that rant run its course. Two months ago Joe was upset with Kroger and for the entire three hours we were together, our conversation went something like this.

“Jimmie, where do you shop for groceries?”

“Well, several places actually. I like Trader Joe’s, Publix and Kroger. I probably do most of my shopping at Kroger, though. Why, Joe? Where do you shop?”

“Never at Kroger! I hate Kroger! I’d be so embarrassed if my friends ever saw me set foot in Kroger. Kroger is embarrassing. They are terrible. I don’t want to give them a dime. It’s awful. Do you agree it’s awful? Publix is so much better. I think one of my friends saw me going in to Kroger the other day and I can’t even talk to him, I’m so embarrassed. Jimmie, it’s just terrible.”

(Note the distinct lack of explanation for Kroger’s inadequacy as a grocery store.)

I was surprised. Just the month before Joe was telling us how Kroger had their ice cream on sale and how he bought so much that he wasn’t even going to splurge on dessert that night. He was going home after the dinner to eat a big bowl of ice cream, it was so good.

Another thing about Joe’s rants is just when you think he has wound down and found something else to occupy his attention, his food, for example, he’ll pick back up where he left off between bites.

“Jimmie, I just can’t believe how embarrassing Kroger is. I cannot be seen in there. My life’s value will decrease if I go in there. I’d be mortified.” And then he will resume eating. This discourse continues until he exits the van for the night and clambers into his own vehicle for his quarter of a mile journey home.

This past month, his rant was about shingles, how you must receive a shot to get rid of them but the shot doesn’t work. If any of you want to know about shingles shots, let me know. I’m well versed in that subject. I’m certain next month will be a series of gripes about our expensive dinners of late. I can feel that one coming.

Actually, this month I took the group to the Omni Hut. I’ve written about it before. It’s a great little place. There are no surprises with the menu – it’s been the same for 54 years. The staff has been there for 54 years also, as has the décor. The cost has probably gone up due to inflation but again, no one is caught off guard. Omni Hut is a Fifty Forward favorite and for once, I got a group photo. Well, I sort of got a group shot. You can see the top four inches of my head in the back, towards the middle. Aren’t we the cutest group?

Mood lighting at Omni Hut

Mood lighting at Omni Hut

Below is the list of places we’ve recently eaten and my opinion of whether or not you should try them yourself.

Omni Hut – Of course you should go there. As long as you like teriyaki and pineapple, it’s fabulous.

Husk – Do not bother. The concept is outstanding. The execution is not. I did try curds and whey there. It was far better than I expected but nothing I’d ever need to have again.

Urban Grub – Go, absolutely. Just don’t listen to Chef when he tells you that half-cooking the salmon is the best way to prepare it.

Ted’s Montana Grill – Add this to your yes list. Get the cranberry chicken. Whimper.

I’ve got our restaurants planned for the next month or so, but anyone got other suggestions? Most of us are totally game.

Now this was delicious.  Pavlova, one of Woney's favorites.

Now this was delicious. Pavlova, one of Woney’s favorites.

All my best advice . . .

Love,
Executive Assistant

Stuff I’ve Read and Stories I’ve Heard – Snippets from Jimmie’s Life

A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from Thor.

“Jimmie, I was thinking it’s time to take better care of myself, and I remember someone saying that they cook once a week for the whole week. Is that you?”

“It is me,” I said, “and if you like I can tell you about it or you could just come over and cook with me one Sunday afternoon. I’ll send you home with lots of food.”

“That’d be great,” Thor said, and we made a plan.

A week later, Thor relegated a group of his friends with the story of how he recently melted his microwave.

“I had a pan of oil on the stove, see, and I had it pretty hot. I left the room for just a minute and when I wandered back into the kitchen I saw the fire in the pan. I panicked, of course, and vaguely remembered my mom telling me that grease fires need to be smothered. With flour.”

At this point in the story everyone in the room sucked in a collective horrified gasp.

“Yep,” he nodded, “exactly. Turns out flour is one of the most flammable materials out there, and I’ve since learned that the amount of flour I used to put out my fire is pretty much the equivalent to two sticks of dynamite. So I melted the microwave and had an entire weekend of grease fire/smoke clean up. Want to see the pictures?” And then he passed around his phone with the evidence of his handiwork.

For the record, Thor has been de-invited from my house for a mass cooking lesson, and you put out grease fires with baking soda.

A few days later, I went for a walk on my Greenway, and when I was going around the last bend, almost at the end of the path, I ran across a gigantic, enormous, humongous snake. I’m not one to freak out about a snake really, but this snake was hogging almost the whole path. That snake and I stared each other down for a while and I conceded by waiting for another person to step over the snake before I attempted it. Once I was across it, I congratulated myself. “At least it wasn’t a giant spider,” I said in a soothing manner to myself. “I can handle a snake, but no giant spiders.”

That night as I checked my social media, I ran across this post from one of my friends, Chelsea.

I think everybody has that moment in life when they see a spider so big that they’re in disbelief that they’re seeing it in real life and not in a picture or through a TV screen. I just had that moment. I doused it in bug spray. That didn’t work. It just kept standing still and waited as I sprayed it. Like, “Are you done?” . . . . and then started crawling again. This happened a few times. So finally I grabbed a wooden chair and did the inevitable . . . I went to work. After breaking the chair and a fingernail in the process . . . I believe it is finished. Unrecognizable by even its own mother. Sorry, dear arachnids. I guess I don’t love you.

I shrieked, threw my phone, then retrieved it to tentatively tap out a message to Chelsea telling her what a brave, brave soul she is.

And finally, I received this text from Roxanne yesterday:

I’ve been at work for two hours and JUST realized I’m wearing two different shoes.

IMG_1741

I seriously have like, the best friends.

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