Friday, November 2, 2012

Adventures in Early Voting and the Possible Sequel To Memento

It's interesting how we seem to block the negative aspects of an experience because we have a selective memory for the sake of the greater good. I suppose that's what happens to women who voluntarily subject themselves to pregnancies and childbirth more than once.  Ladies, you are braver than I, and I admire you greatly.  But this story is less about womb aliens, and more about fulfilling civic duties.  It's election time once again and I was really excited to cast my ballot.

So once upon an early Monday afternoon, I headed to the polls, smile on my face, notes in hand, and ready to stand in line until I had my say or I got hungry, whichever came first.  When I arrived, I made my way to the back of the line.  It was busier than I thought it would be for 3 PM on a workday.  I wondered if the 8% of the population that's unemployed had decided to come out to vote on the same day as me.  Then I wondered if that figure was right, but decided that it doesn't matter in the end because I'm not gonna let my blog be dictated by fact checkers.  With my book in hand and over two hours to kill before I had to pick up my offspring, I had nothing to worry about.

And then it all came back to me like a Celine Dion ballad featuring a guy named after a baked ground meat dish.  All the local candidates were there, ready to interrupt any quiet activity that I had planned on pursuing during my wait.  NOW I remembered why last time I had decided that next time I would just order an absentee ballot.  Palm meet face.  V - you NEVER learn.  Mind you that by the time I make it to that line I've already made up my mind regarding my selections.  Candidates have about as much of a chance of changing my mind as any crazy, emotionally charged political post of Facebook.  You know which posts I'm referring to, the ones that make you wonder if your friends have been replaced by body snatchers or a thinner version of Rush Limbaugh.  So as folks start approaching me, obviously oblivious to the very important Soduku match I was trying to finish, I suddenly got the same feeling that I get when I'm rushing through the mall, avoiding eye contact with kiosk employees, except here there's nowhere to power walk to.  I'm stuck like Chuck, who I'm assuming was very stuck, because I'm always hearing about it.  I tried texting, reading my book, keeping my eyes closed for unusually long periods of time, but nothing worked.  These folks and their extended families were set on persuading me why they were the best person for the job.

My original objective was to fill out my nifty scantron sheet to get my sticker.  That goal, however, changed as soon as I ran out of smiles, nods, and phrases I never use like, "You got it", "I was voting for you already", "Don't I know you from somewhere?", "Yes, I just met your wife."  Little did they know that their words had about as much effect on me as a waiter reciting daily specials - white noise.  My new goal was to make it to that line on the ground that said "no campaigning beyond this point."  So close, yet so far.  Finally, I decided that I would just open my book and stare at it...I would stare at it HARD and not look up.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of bringing Jenny Lawson's (a.k.a The Bloggess)  "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" which made it hard to stare without reading, and I started to laugh uncontrollably.

Almost immediately, candidate Nosy approaches me and says, "Wow, what are you reading?  Sounds like fun."

Me:  Oh, I'm just laughing because the author's dog died."

Candidate Nosy: "Oh."

Me: "It's not what it sounds like.  I mean, the dog is dead, but the circumstances were peculiar.  You know those things you say, 'One day, we'll be laughing about this?'  Not that your dog dying should ever be funny, should just read the book."  I tend to babble when I feel pressure, and I have to mentally cue myself to just STOP talking.

Now, I know how bad that sounds, but I was telling the truth.  In my defense, there were other elements in the story that made it funny; machetes, stone graves, vultures, and other things you'd see in a Conan movie. I've never really watched Conan, and I always confuse it with The Beastmaster, so my description may or may not be accurate.

So candidate Nosy starts to introduce herself and I say, "I know who you are, you came to my house."

Candidate Nosy: "Yes, I've been trying to visit as many..."

Me: "You came over twice."

Candidate Nosy: "Oh, so we've already spoken."

Me: "Yes, you promised a Whole Foods and Chipotle, I'm counting on you."

I was now close to the magical line that would separate me from the metaphorical mall kiosks.  She said her goodbyes and finally, I crossed the line. I wasn't inappropriate - I literally crossed the line.  Angels sang, doves flew into the sky, and all was right in the world again....except I still had to wait like 45 minutes, but it was much more bearable without all the distractions.  I'm seriously considering getting a tattoo reminding me to get an absentee ballot next time around.  If it's good enough for Guy Pierce, it's good enough for me.  Also good for me, would be Guy Pierce, but that's a topic for a different day.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Talk to Strangers

 I've come to accept that I'm a walking stranger magnet.  It happens all the time - especially on airplanes when I want to read, sleep, or pretend that I'm watching the in-flight movie.  People feel the odd need to speak to me.  I must have one of those faces that looks like it wants to listen, like it wants to know your problems, but for the most part contact with strangers makes me a bit uncomfortable.  And they never ask easy questions like "where is the library?" (unless they're young, in which case they would probably ask, "what is a library?")  It's always some off-the-wall question that tells me they've assumed I actually know things.  It's obvious when someone is a stranger if they ask me for directions.  Anyone that knows me and my one weakness, a sort of Achilles' heel some would say, would NEVER ask me for directions.  Not unless they like getting lost  unexpected adventures.  The funny part is that in spite of the invasion of my comfort zone, my personality usually gets the best of me and I end up talking back with little control over my words, and also that sentences that start with "the funny part is"  never actually tell you the funny part.

So once upon a time, because this happened weeks ago and I kept saying, "I'll blog it tomorrow," because I'm a horrible procrastinator ever so busy, I was at Publix skipping down the dairy aisle when I was approached by a man.  I should probably clarify that I wasn't actually skipping as I hate grocery shopping.  Anyone that talks to a girl that's skipping down a supermarket aisle is just asking for it.  I guess I could have gone back and deleted that sentence instead of resorting to clarifications, but that seemed like more work than writing this sentence, though it actually wasn't.  Anyway, Mr. Anonymous Shopper (he didn't ask to be anonymous, I just didn't get his name) approached me, and the conversation went something like this.  Actually, it went exactly like this, because I wrote it all down after it happened and my memory is awesome for trivial things.    

Anonymous Shopper: "Why are these eggs vegetarian?"

Me: (*After looking around for someone who cared, like a Publix employee, his nutritionist, or a wife, any wife.) "Because it says so on the box and you're about to pay four bucks?"

Anonymous Shopper: "But I thought vegetarians didn't eat eggs."

Me: (*Damn, sarcasm didn't work.  The force is strong in this one.*) "Some do.  They're technically unfertilized chicken ovums, so it's only half the guilt."

Anonymous Shopper: "Really?"

Me: (*Jesus H. Christ - it's gonna be a minute.  Think fast - give him more fractions.*) No, not really.  I'm pretty sure it has to do with the chicken's diet and not the shopper's.  So it's really half a chicken and that half chicken is vegetarian, so it's actually a quarter of the guilt."

I accepted the awkward moment of silence that followed while he did math in his head, that he was probably not very good at because he looked most confused, as my queue to move on to the next aisle.  So the moral of the story is: Never talk to strangers - if that stranger is me.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Recipe: Grandma's Tortilla de Espinaca (spinach pie/omelet thingamajig)

So I'm pretty sure this is not actually a pie, but we call it a pie in Spanish and we eat it as a side dish, aka "not breakfast". You'll have to bear with me being a transplanted Argentine and play along with my misnaming of spinach concoctions and misuse of words like "concoction".  This is something grandma used to whip up in like 10 minutes.  It takes me longer because I'm not as awesome as she is and there's a part of me that's convinced she owned a magical kitchen oven, since my exact replicas of her creations are usually nothing like hers.  I think I got the hang of this one though.  I like to think that grandma was a slow cook in her 30s, too, but we all know better.  Let's face it - the woman probably came out of the womb holding a skillet and a spatula.  

What you'll need: 
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil 
  • 5 - 6 oz bag of spinach.
  • 1/2 yellow onion (chopped small)
  • 1/2 red pepper   (chopped small) 
  • 1 tsp almond meal 
  • 1 egg
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • Optional - Parmesan cheese to taste. 

Steam spinach for a couple of minutes and drain as much of the water from it as you can.  Chop spinach.  Beat egg and add spinach and other ingredients.  Mix well.  

On a small, non-stick skillet, heat up the olive oil over medium heat.  Add mix.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the bottom of your omelet pie thingamajig is a light golden brown.  

Using a plate (or another trick you may know) flip the omelet over and return to pan to cook bottom.  Cook for about another five minutes or until the egg in the mix seems thoroughly cooked.  Buen provecho! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mirror, Mirror - The Weakness of Overconfidence

I remember having a good chuckle when I read the original story which featured what I perceived to be an overconfident, self centered egomaniac.  Those of you who know me know I laughed, I laughed a lot.  The woman's tale made it clear why she was having trouble building healthy female relationships - she suffered from narcissistic entitlement syndrome her charming personality was getting in the way.  After reading the article I felt sorry for her not for the reasons she intended, but because the last thing I wanted was to be her friend.  In the spirit of not judging, I kept it to myself,  but this article by Christina Patterson, who I would love to be friends with, brings up some valid points regarding confidence, or maybe excess thereof. I do believe that confidence can help you accomplish goals, but you better have something to back it up with, and even then, you should be delicate in its delivery - nobody likes a showoff.  

This line in the narrative rings true: "If you want people to like you, and if you want to shine at what you do, then what you need isn't confidence, but doubt. You need to know, if you want to make friends, that you aren't more special than anyone else. And you need to know that to do something well, you need to be constantly trying to do it better."

So no - fear and doubt are not roadblocks; they're a fork in the road.  You can let them take over and become stagnant , or overcome them with courage - not blind confidence.

Scott Adams's Dilbert 8/21/97

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So You Had a Bad Day and Other Crimes Against the Fragile

I just heard "Bad Day" on the radio and suddenly I wanted to cry.  Like really, REALLY cry.  The urge was there, waiting right behind my eyeballs with its shaky metaphorical hand ready to turn the faucet. Luckily, my spider senses kicked in (yeah, I have those) and helped me realize what was happening.  I started laughing at the absurdity of the whole situation.  It was a good laugh; the kind where you have to wipe that one tear that escaped from your right eye when it's over.

While I had a rough day indeed, it's common knowledge that the human race was desensitized to the effects of Daniel Powter's pout after its 6 billion plays on American Idol.  After coming to the conclusion that it could be worse (I could have been subjected to Adele's sappy "Someone Like You"(^O^☆♪  or James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" instead), I felt much better and nearly forgot why I was stressed in the first place.  I had somehow succeeded in distracting myself - like a "look over there" moment.  Those of you with toddlers know precisely what I'm talking about.

Try laughing at yourself once in a while - it helps you detach and put things into perspective.

 Laughing at yourself may also inspire you to blog and ignore your laundry pile. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Recipe: Paleo Oven-Crisped Pork Chops

Last November, I started eating Paleo. So what does that mean? The Paleo diet, also referred to as the caveman or primal diet, consists of fresh meats (preferably organic, grass-fed animals), fresh organic produce, nuts and lots of chocolate. This, accompanied by exercising in short intense bursts, mimics the diet and lifestyle of our paleolithic ancestors. It's a fun way to exercise. I like to pretend I'm walking through the forest picking berries, minding my own business when suddenly, "DINOSAUR!" So then I run like hell until I can barely breathe. Which, lucky for me, is exactly the same amount of time that it takes to lose a dinosaur. But I digress.

For the last 11 months, I've not always successfully avoided processed foods, grains, gluten, dairy products, and cheese fries. I had also given up on one of my favorite recipes, oven-crisped pork chops. The recipe required flour and cornmeal - both mortal enemies of the protohuman. A couple of nights ago I decided it was time to club this recipe over the head and Paleonize it! I cut down on the amount of butter, replaced the flour and cornmeal with almond meal et voilà!

It was so delicious I decided it needed to be shared. If you like spicy, you will love this recipe. It definitely has a kick, but I promise it won't feel like you swallowed the sun or anything of the sort. Bon appétit!


4 tbsp of organic butter

1 cup almond meal

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt

1 egg white

6-8 pork chops


  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a baking sheet with butter. 
  2. Combine almond meal, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt in in a bowl and mix well until it's a light brown color. 
  3. Beat egg white in a shallow bowl. Dip pork chops in egg white mixture. 
  4. Coat pork chops with almond meal mix. 
  5. Melt remaining butter. Drizzle evenly over pork chops. 
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning halfway. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You Should Have a Blog...

I'm tired of hearing those words.  Yes, I agree - I should blog.  The problem is that I never know what to write about.  Sure, I agree with you guys; it's like my spawn likes to say, "Mom, you're really funny...sometimes."  The thing is that my humor comes to me spontaneously.  I don't think about half the things I say.  The words flow effortlessly when I don't have to think about them; like a reflex if reflexes were comedic, slightly sarcastic, and somewhat disturbed.   When I sit in front of this blank screen, I've got nothing.  In my fantasy world, I like to pretend the likes of Stephen King and  Anne Rice suffer from the same woes.  Then I realize that the last time Stephen King had writer's block he probably looked around his garage, found a giant hammer, and Bamm! he found Emeril.  No, he didn't really find Emeril, but he probably wrote Misery.  And let's face it, it would take Mrs. Rice, who I admire greatly, an average of 900 pages to describe how tortured her writer's block is.

So why can't I commit to this blog?  Is this just not my calling?  Will the world ever know? And why does Roland Martin insist on wearing ascots?  I always have something to say, except now when staring blankly at this screen where thoughts go to die.  There has to be a way to get motivated.  Maybe I'm just not getting it, like Twitter.  When I first started tweeting, I had no idea what to tweet.  It made no sense to edit my thoughts to 140 characters to share them with a bunch of strangers.  I honestly don't care what any of you had for breakfast, unless it was illegal and then I care a little, so why should you care about me?  And then one fine summer day, or maybe some other season (my perception of time is as lacking as my blogging skills), I got it.  The tweets were not for anyone else.  They're just a collection of narcissistic one liners to keep for myself, except of course for the occasional rant to Comcast, AT&T or US Air. It's a sort of character limited memoir.

What I need, is a plan.  What I'll do, is the following:  I'll move a few old entries that I've written elsewhere before, just to keep some activity here.  The next time that something interesting happens to me and I think "I should blog about this," I'll write it down so I don't forget.  I must do this; I need to tell my stories in a place where my right to unlimited character use is respected.  I'm going to make this happen and if all else fails, there's always the backup plan; we should buy a bar...we should totally buy a bar.