I had the telly tuned in to Guy Fierri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives last night for some background noise while finishing up a deadline, when my ears caught hold of a recipe from a joint he was visiting called Funk-N-Waffles. I looked up to see the restaurant's owner prepping a specialty of their house, a complete turkey dinner perched atop a ginormous waffle that's made of stuffing. Yup. Everything that comprises holiday stuffing - breadcrumbs, celery, onion, eggs, savory - is blended and shoved into a waffle iron and, five minutes later, it's the base for a massive feast of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce that's drowned in a ridiculous amount of gravy. No shit, I think I actually heard the sound of my own arteries hardening. But sinful and excessive as this spectacle was, I drooled the entire time I watched it.
Umberto Eco once wrote, 'we like to make lists because we don't want to die.' I don't really know who Umberto Eco is, but I do believe he's right. I love making lists. And like scores of other folks, I maintain several of them. A HOUSE list, a WORK list, a GARDEN list, a WRITING list... The process of creating a list fills me with purpose, and the act of crossing off each item delights me with a sense of accomplishment. I love hitting the pillow every night having seen proof of my achievements that day, and knowing what needs to be done when I awake. It makes me feel that I matter.
Last week, my husband did something so unthinkable, so mind-boggling, so utterly shocking and so unlike him that, initially, I wondered if it was one of those end-of-world signs like locusts and famines and dogs doing the naughty thing with cats: he purchased a GPS. (Insert scary da-duh-DUM! music here.)
This past year when I turned 50, I started saving for a Lifestyle Lift. Not that I need one - not right now, at least... but somewhere down the road I just know I'll want one. The first time I watched that infomercial, I was hooked. Those women look freaking fanTAStic! I'll bet they have great AFTER stories, but since I always have my TV muted (I can't tolerate the horrifying, paint-peeling, nails-across-a-chalkboard sound that is Debbie Boone singing You Light Up My Life), I've never heard them.
Last night, I dreamt an amazing dream. I was in a sparse, quiet room not unfamiliar to me, when someone I had never before met handed me two wooden boxes. Both simple in shape and bare of ornament, one was about the size of a clothes basket, while the other was no larger than a fingernail. In a gentle, kind voice, the stranger instructed me to fill the large box with a list of everything for which I was grateful. The small box was also to be filled, but with a list of all my prayers. His final instruction to me was to remain in the room until I’d completed this task. Then he left.
Not too long ago, Cottonelle offered a coupon for a decorative toilet paper holder inside specially marked packages of its (you guessed it) toilet paper. Now, I could completely derail this entire post before it even starts by ranting about how freaking absurd it is that toilet paper manufacturers choose to name their product clean care paper or personal wipes or even bathroom tissue and not what everyone else calls it: TOILET PAPER. But I won’t. Other than the previous sentence. And that one before it.
Every fourth Autumn, right about when the leaves turn rich shades of fall colors and there’s a delicious, crisp snap in the air that sends me running for my turtlenecks, a frenzied storm of presidential campaign ads, phone calls, speeches, emails and commentaries arrives that spews myriad promises, proclamations and propositions into that same air, making heads spin and stomachs turn. And inevitably lurking within the very eye of this storm is a simple question that’s posed and pondered time and again by pundits and pub goers alike, no matter the party or platform to which they pledge their allegiance: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"
Located along the far wall of a seldom used dining room, my mother-in-law’s china cabinet proudly displayed a vast assortment of serving pieces, glassware and a host of trinkets collected over a lifetime. When you stood at the entrance of the room - not venturing any further for fear of setting off a museum-like alarm that would loudly protest the intrusion - you could peer through the glass doors to make out countless items formally arranged in tidy rows, the smaller items positioned before a backdrop of standing plates. This perpetual exhibit was apparently intended only for display, since throughout the twenty years I knew Florence I never once saw any item in that cabinet - nor the room in which the cabinet was housed - ever used.
As a child, I always knew I was in serious trouble whenever I heard my full name booming forth from the kitchen of our house, gaining speed as it echoed down the hallway and bellowing out to our backyard where I stood paralyzed in fear as it washed over me. SSSOOOOOZZENN LOOOOOEEEEEEZZZE RRRIILEEEEE!!!!!!!!! That sound of my mother invoking my middle name set off my internal Shit-O-Meter and left me shaking in my seven-year-old Keds. In some ways it still does… just writing it here made me poop my undies a tiny bit...
Last year, when I decided to try 52 things I’d never done before, I made certain that the list included learning to swear in several languages. Because that's the kind of person I am. And because if you’re not gonna add that to a list of new things to try, was ist der verdammte punkt?