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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Enlisted

Zuki joined the Cub Scouts. I don't know how or when they pitched it to the first grade boys but I had never seen my kid so revved up about doing something. When he came home with the application on Monday, I merely said, "Oh, the Cub Scouts," and he pounced on me like a rabid squirrel.

"Can I go, please Mommy! They make masks after school - can I go?"

Who could say no to making masks after school?

Truth is, a friend of mine had already told me how she had just signed up her son. How excited he was about the knot tying badges and learning secret hand shakes or whatever it is that Cub Scouts do to acknowledge each other. To top it off, her husband - who was a Cub Scout himself once - was equally excited about future trips and meetings that he would accompany their son to. I pictured a father wolf presenting his cub to the pack so they know not to mangle him.

Likewise, when I mentioned to my husband that I filled out a Cub Scout application for Zuki, we spent the entire dinner listening to Daddy reminisce of his Cub Scout rituals. A forty minute narrative about the proper way to fold the neckerchief and the badge placement of Cub Scout shirts and how fun it was going to be for me to sew those damned things on. Although, the first thing that caught my eye in the manual was the "Badge Magic" sold exclusively at the Cub Scout stores. It's a thing that "sticks" the badge onto the shirt. I'm sure there's ironing involved, which I hate just as much as sewing so I'm screwed either way.


And can we talk about the uniform? I was told by my friend who lives in the Boondocks of New York, it would cost fifty dollars.

Uh-huh. Maybe where you are, honey but this is New York City - try sixty dollars. Sixty Dollars! For sixty bucks I expect the friggin' badges to be sewn on for me. Oh, whatever. Daddy can't wait to see Zuki in his Cub Scout shirt. "He's going to wear it to school on meeting days," he told me.

Really?

"Yes! It's a formal shirt. It's like a Goddamned Military shirt, he can wear it to school!"

Okay, okay...curb your enthusiasm, will ya. But I snickered when he said that because my friend was actually worried about the militant curve the Scout's image portrayed, especially when a neighbor asked her if she "enlisted" her son in the Cub Scouts.

Enlistment, Draft, Brainwashing...who gives. Zuki had a one track mind when I picked him up from school to sign him up. His buddy, however wasn't too keen on joining, so Zuki threw in his pitch to persuade him.

"It's really cool! You get to make Masks!!!"

His friend looked at me and I shrugged. "They teach you how to make fire from sticks, too." I added, targeting the pyromaniac in all males. Nothing. But he came along anyway and wouldn't you know it - he enlisted.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Samu's Pockets

Boys need pockets like girls need bags. Give a boy a pair of pants with a gazillion places to store things and life's good. He don't care that his crack is showing because his pants are all bogged down from all the shit he's carrying - he found a wing nut on the sidewalk and by God, he needs a place to put it away for later and it has to go in his pants.

Zuki will actually change pants if he discovers the ones he's wearing doesn't have any pockets although, he doesn't really put things in them - he just likes to have them. The other guy, Samu is another story.

He has this knack of finding coins on the floor and believe me, I don't think it's ever too soon to bring home some "grease." I tell him to look for dollar bills while he's at it. But he refuses - he doesn't like them because they don't make noise. Whatever.

He's picked up at least two cents everyday and last Sunday, he racked up eleven whole cents just walking to the park. If he hit that kind of luck everyday, that would amount to an annual income of over forty dollars a year. I'd say that's pretty good for a Pre-K student.

Everything he finds during the course of the day, I find either that night in the washing machine or in the morning when the clothes come out of the dryer. The other day I found a wad of Silly Putty stuck to the bottom of the washing machine. This morning it was a magnetic Bakugan ball brawling with my bra in the dryer. On any given day, I might find a key, plastic seafood shapes or Jesus on a stick because his arms got torn off by the Dyson.

The contents of Samu's pockets make doing the laundry a carnival of wonder for me. I can even say part of my occupation is money laundering although, I might want to be selective of which market I advertise that to.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blatant Fate

My mother had been attending the Sunday Buddhist services for the last few weeks, as the Monk, Venerable Nakagaki had resigned. Our family had my sister's memorial service by him and then my father's, so for us it was a disheartening change. He guided us spiritually, through their passing and now he too, would be leaving. But as he had stated, it's a new beginning - a path he decided to take. Regardless of who it hurts, or who it benefits - it is Righteous.

Carlos Castaneda taught me likewise, through his "Don Juan" books. "There's no way to put a limit on what one may accomplish individually if the intent is an impeccable intent."

Even Aleister Crowley said it, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Do that and no other shall say nay."

And what had occurred to me in the face of near catastrophe recently, is that intent or will, can be upfront and conscious or hidden deep down and subconscious. Either way, we decide our own fate. What happens to us as a result of that is never truly a surprise. It only seems as if we're blindsided if we had been ignoring it.

Need an example? A person stays at a crappy job - she knows she needs to move on but putzes around because of money, responsibilities, etc. Then one day she shows up at work and gets handed a pink slip. That's God saying, there you go girl...let me give you a head start! It happens with unhappy relationships, shitty apartments and even iPhones. Bottom line is, if you don't get your ass movin' fate is going to move it for you...it's blatant like that.

With that said, I'll get a move on and spare you the boring details. My challenge to you is, will you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vampire Repellant

Did you know that basil plants can't stand the cold? Well, they don't. They are like that skinny, wet kitten who just took a bath - shivering and mewing. Only plants can't shiver...or mew. So they do the next best thing - they start to die.

After a whole summer of enjoying Caprese Salad (otherwise known as Buffalo Tomato and Mozzarella) made with fresh basil from our herb garden, I was threatened with losing my Basil Emporium by the recent drop in temperature. What's a sloth to do?

We cut the whole thing down and ground it into pesto sauce. My kids love it on everything from chicken and pasta to zucchini. I'm going to try it on fish next. The only downfall is, their breath reeks like garlic the next day. Jeepers! Thank God I'm not a vampire because I still need my sophomoric kisses.

Here's the wee recipe:

Fresh Basil
1 small tin of Anchovies with capers or separate
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of minced garlic or two - three garlic cloves
A dash of salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse-chop a couple of times and Pesto! Yes, that was corny.

I skipped adding too much olive oil because it separates when you store it. Plus, I tend to cook with olive oil so I figured add it then. Something like sauteed spinach or string beans - heck, why not tofu? My mother would kill me, but she's not your mother so what do you care?

Just be prepared with some mints the next day and you'll be fine. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Armeggedon Fanatasy

I wish the Government would just come out and say it. The world is going to end. That's why we're ruining the economy, destroying our food and letting bed bugs rule the city. I know what they're afraid of: Anarchy. But even if society went all out in a Wild West kind of looting spree, it would still be better than going to a boring job every day - saving money that's deflating by the minute or paying a heavy premium on insurance that ain't worth shit.

Give us the count down guys and we'll handle the rest, that's what I got to say. Instead of stressing out over health, weight and parental discretion, I'd let the kids eat chips, cookies and pizza all day and watch R rated movies. I'd drink myself into oblivion with an endless supply of hot wings and fries all charged to my credit card whilst waiting for the Tsunami that drowned New York.

But that's just my little fantasy. It's as stupid as those fantasies people harbor about what they'd buy if they'd won the Lottery.

In the end, I have to face reality and learn how to deal with this anvil made of taxes, bills and loose Bakugan balls that are weighing down my otherwise upbeat demeanor.

Desperate for good news, I decided to take the advice of a good friend. She suggested washing my hands with salt to get rid of bad karma. It's some sort of Feng Shui, Asian ritual that sounded harmless enough, but of course when I tried it, the result was my eczema flared up.

I'm more than a loser, I'm a nebbish.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

THE HAMBURGER MEDIUM

Contest number twelve at First Line Fiction took a line from one of my favorite authors, Hunter S. Thompson. At first, the challenge was too daunting - Thompson has such a specific voice that to write on top of that you would be railroaded into just re-writing "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas."

But it turned out to be a lot of fun. Eventually, I incorporated a short story I was stuck on the longest time. So in essence, I killed two birds with one stone.

The basis of the original story revolved around a tragic accident that happened at the Grand Canyon some twenty years ago. A group of young college students who were sightseeing, stopped for a picture at point where there were no rails. One of the students just "slipped" out of the group and before anyone realized what happened she had fallen to her death.

Hope you enjoy my story, The Hamburger Medium.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Snapple For A Laptop?

The squeaky wheel does get the oil. I've learned that if you complain enough in a blog - people respond. It's the greatest thing. I wrote a post - okay, two posts - about all my shit breaking down, including my bread and butter laptop and poof! My sister-in-law gives me one of her laptops. She has idle laptops like I have empty peanut butter jars. I'm going to have to send her a Snapple or something.

It couldn't have come a day sooner. I was neglecting my writing schedule, ignoring my e-mails and skipping my workouts. Between you and me, the laptop fiasco was turning me into a manic depressive slacker. Okay...I admit I was already a slacker but lying on my bed feeling sorry for myself is not my usual pass time.

So, after a brief course on finding a stupid application called "Rosetta" my laptop is set up...finally. It's bigger, better, yes - even sexier than the last and this is my first blog post on it. Hip-hip-hooray!

Now I have no excuse for sleeping in.

P.S.: Thanks to my sister-in-law for kind of donating it, my husband for delivering it and my former brother-in-law for taking my call to answer dumb computer questions. Thanks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Show Me The "Grease"

I love to eavesdrop on people's conversations. This is New York, however and on the rare occasion that a conversation is conducted in English, I can't help but listen. Yesterday, two stock men were busy at their jobs stocking yogurt and ice at Stop n' Shop.

As Yogurt man passed Ice Man, the usual how ya doin' ensued. Then Yogurt man asked Ice man what time he was working til.

"Closing." Said Ice man.

"That's a long time," Yogurt man observed.

"Gotta bring home the grease! Know what I mean?"

Grease. I guess that's a new term? Used to be bacon but I guess that's reserved for referring to cops now. But I get it: bacon when you cook it, makes grease. Then again I could be dead wrong.

So as they parted ways, Yogurt man making his way to the yogurt section asked Ice man, "Hey, what are you doin' for Labor day?"

"Workin'." Ice man says, not missing a beat loading the bags of ice into the ice locker.

"Working? That sucks!"

Ice man stops loading his ice, puts his hands on his hips and says, "Well it is Labor day!"

It doesn't get any more real than that. Thanks for the words of wisdom, Ice man. Now I feel secure that coolers stocking beer at picnics this Labor day will have no shortage of ice as long as you are working at Stop n' Shop.

Happy Labor Day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Life Error

It started with the car battery. A couple of weeks ago, it died. Just like that. It's not surprising considering we had to jump it on two different occasions for leaving the panel lights on. It was a matter of time but truly, the timing sucked. Then again, the timing always sucks when you're on a low budget.

Of course in the program of life, when it rains it pours - that was just the spark that fueled the fire. Following that, I dropped my detested iPhone and cracked the screen. It still worked, if you consider a phone that no one can hear you as working, but the cracked screen rubbing against my ear was physically annoying as well.

Then the whole water boarding incident happened with my laptop. Rather than pay the "anywhere from four hundred to seven hundred dollars" it would cost to fix it, we swapped the hard drive to another household laptop. Now it doesn't shut down when it's unplugged but for some reason, the battery only lasts about an hour before it needs to be recharged. Can you say, high maintenance?

And since misfortune comes in threes, my digital camera started giving me attitude lately. I went to turn it on the other day and the screen flashed a "Lens Error" message. I've noticed in the world of technology, all a device has to say when it doesn't feel like working is "Error." It's a passive-aggressive message when you think about it because it's not blaming you directly but it's not giving you any options of what to do about it either.

Instead, you're going through the motions of repeating the same actions like an insane geek performing button ballet - hold CTRL-Shift-C while booting your computer with the pointer on the same hand as the pinky that's up your butt.

Seriously, I'm just about ready to go Pilgrim and get rid of all these electronic hoo-ha's. But you know I won't.

If anything, I've learned something from all this: electronics, single-handedly shaped society to be the wanton consumer. There was a time when the people who fixed your mechanical piece-of-shit charged less than the people who put it together but that's simply not the case anymore. Why would I pay seven hundred dollars to "possibly" fix an old computer when a newer, sleeker, faster one would cost me nine?

It's all about upgrade. Either way, you're getting it.

All things considered, I'm lucky that this funk my life is contained to trivial things like a dying battery. Laptops, iPhones, cameras...they can all be replaced. And though this old brain is getting too cluttered to learn yet a new menu and change settings and so forth, things could be worse - I'll count my lucky stars until I get the app to do it for me.
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