Granny Samaritan and the Frozen Steak Stir-Fry

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Close Encounters of the Third Aisle.

A refurbished post from 2009.

The supermarket and I have a love-hate relationship because I hate going. Although once I arrive, I love finding a story down one of the aisles.

“Should I choose door number one or door number two?” I wondered aloud, while in the frozen food section, studying boxed dinners through frosty glass.

A well-dressed elderly woman approached from the chicken pie side. “Those are quite good,” she said, pointing at a colorful package containing an Italian steak stir-fry. “In fact, that’s my favorite. It’s also a filling meal for one. Yes, it’s only me,” she said as her voice cracked.

Then, she turned away and stared out into space or, perhaps, another time in which one stir-fry was barely enough for two. When her thoughts returned back to earth, her eyes smiled with a memory of a moment gone by.

“Yes, the steak stir-fry is quite good,” she sighed, and inspected the shelf below where bags of tangy chicken stir-fry sat scrunched together in a row, as if the stock boy kept adding to a shelf that rarely had anything taken from it.

“Not my favorite. Don’t like really sweet things,” she said, and directed me to the soy sauce dinner to the left of it. “Now, that’s a good one, especially if you like Chinese food.”

“I like Chinese food,” I echoed.

She squinted at the price marked beneath the shelf. “You see. It’s less expensive than that one.” She motioned to the dinners in the case next door. “Too much money.” She shook her head. “I can’t afford that.”

“Who can?” I added.

She smiled and then glanced at my cart. “Looks like you have more than one mouth to feed. The stir-fry dinners are enough for two. If you have more than that, I would suggest buying two bags.”

“That’s good,” I said, and wondered, in a paranoid, skeptical way, if she wasn’t in fact an emissary from a frozen food company, maybe the mother of a CEO sent to supermarkets to help generate sales.

A brilliant marketing ploy but not ambitious enough, unless the company dispatched elderly women to supermarkets all across America. Now that would be brilliant. Who could resist advice from a kind grandmotherly type?

I opened the freezer door, bypassed the chicken, and grabbed two packages of the steak stir-fry.

“Good choice,” she said and shuffled away.

The tangy chicken would have to wait until the next time there was a change in the elderly lady rotation schedule.

Have you had any close encounters of the third aisle?

This was based upon a weekly prompt from Red Writing Hood to revise an old post.

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Checking the Rearview Mirror Back to Mayhem 2009.

traffic in the rearview mirrorImage by grendelkhan via Flickr

Back in May 2009, my Uncle Sam on my mother’s side, helped support me after Frank the baker cut off my dough and tossed me out the back door with the used doilies.

Although I am eternally grateful to my Uncle Sam for his financial help while we tube fed our bank account, he could do more to help the unemployed by euthanizing the voice mail system that causes brain decay and replacing it with one that doesn’t blight minds.

The funding could come from corporations with fat assets that profit from not paying taxes and hiring cheaper workers overseas.

VOICE MALEVOLENT

Try not to throw up until after pressing every voice mail option and screaming obscenities at the cyborg operator at the other end of the line.

  

I’m convinced that my Uncle Sam’s phone system was designed for the criminally insane or flat-lined deadbeats clinging to life support. Warning: batteries not included.

My brain almost melted after spending close to an hour on the phone with the New York State Unemployment office trying to speak with a live-bearing mammal or something with human DNA.

Instead, I listened to a monotonous voice prompt that made my head explode like a rear-ended Ford Pinto.

The voice mail options were something like . . .

•    If you’d like to continue in English, press 1 and click your heels three times.

•    If you’d like to continue in Mandarin Pig Latin, press 2.

•    If you’d like to file for unemployment benefits in this lifetime, press 3.

•    If you’d like to return to the previous nonexistent menu, press 4.

•    If you’d like to hear a list of frequently asked questions about lunch, press 5.

I chose option 6 and tossed my phone down the garbage disposal.

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When A Brain Goes MIA

If Only There Was a Lost and Found for Brains

A Computer Generated photo of what the Earth w...

I once had a brain but it went MIA above the yondering blue where the space ships cruise in weightlessness. That’s where my brain is — somewhere in space, the final frontier — floating in a vacuum of nothingness.

In space, there is no air or reason to put on airs. Everyone looks the same hermetically sealed inside a suit, if one is lucky enough to afford a suit and fasten their brain into the helmet before it drifts away. You know the one that got away. That’s my brain orbiting over Japan, Qatar then Afghanistan.

Some starched white shirts below may think my brain is a UFO. It’s happened before. We all know about Roswell, but that didn’t end well for the extraterrestrial, a.k.a. weather balloon. They’re easy to confuse when blinded by the light of a desert moon.

Luckily, my brain is stuck in orbit circumventing the earth. Still on course. Not a chance it will plummet through the atmosphere—an ambience of sorts without mahogany wood decor and the scent of brandy wafting from bore to bore. 

Out here in space, a glorious scent is benched for a view of the first string team of shooting stars, whooshing by at the speed of light through deepest dark, except for an occasional gaseous substance, a.k.a. the sun spinning on its axis. My brain has no axis to grind, soaring above the third planet from the sun, mistaking particles below for empty souls. 

If I could only see, but the fog and red tinted clouds obscure breathtaking views. I find myself pondering what I could have seen lurking beneath the convoluted atmosphere—some good, some bad, some particularly scenic overlooks off the highway. 

Perhaps rocks, and grass, fragments of automobiles and shattered glass scattered across the shoulder. I can only imagine what happened to those inside—bones and more bones vibrating against flesh, as the car smashed through a barrier and tumbled around amid shrieks and prayers and what might have beens. It’s sad really. But I don’t have the luxury of pain. My brain says it best. Keep the signals pulsating from one synapses to the next, and I will continue drifting through space, orbiting above the distant place below also known as home.

 – Have you ever lost your brain?  Inquiring minds want to know –

A Foot Faux Pas.

I took off my shoes before entering the house. Homeowner foot fetish I suspect. I’ve been down this path before, literally, and should have been more foot smart this time. But I forgot about the “no shoe” rule and the corn wrap air bag on my pinkie toe.


Because I got lost, I was the last one to arrive, having left my house without direction or directions. I asked three people on the way to guide me to house #35;  luckily two of the three Wiseman that stopped had GPS.

“It’s this way,” Wiseman #2 yelled from an open car window. “Follow me!”

I nodded and tailed him down a street with no name. Then with a wave of a hand he was gone, leaving me stranded in uncharted burb territory. Since I was hesitant to take a chance in a “no sign” zone, I continued on my quest to find another Wiseman with GPS.

This time, a truck, not a car came to my rescue, a Peapod Truck in fact, with the food already delivered. I knew this since I had stalked the driver earlier when I spotted the truck on the side of the road (I have a nose for that). With patient exuberance, I waited for Peapod Guy to finish unloading the goods.

“I’m lost,” I said.

After inputting #35 into the GPS, Peapod guy pointed down the block.

“That’s it. Over there!”

He directed me toward a familiar place. The road with no name I had hesitated to take before was in fact a portal to the shoeless universe, a suburban time continuum of sorts.

As I beamed into the foyer with all my molecules in order, I waited for the other shoe to drop, while gauging the pinkie toe situation down below.

Extricating the corn wrap by hand seemed like a viable plan, and so I gave the go ahead to special ops. But then the notion of foot-odor fingers forced me to stop. I decided to remove the wrap with my foot instead, struggling a bit until the wrap sprang from my toe, landing somewhere in the foyer.

After pinpointing the location of the wrap, I conducted living room reconnaissance on the level above. Did anyone hear the corn wrap drop? No horrified looks on the faces in the crowd. It was safe to proceed.

I snatched the wrap, clenching it in a toe death grip, and dropped it back into the shoe.

Bare feet first, I started up the stairs and approached the group with my talons in full view. Everyone sat locked in a circle of chairs, all barefooted with perfectly groomed toes. I was self conscious of mine. When was the last time I filed? I didn’t know. Likely, I needed to lop off excess nail with a hedge clipper or an electric saw.

I plopped onto the couch in between a pregnant lady and a white haired chap. I avoided temptation to assess the state of their feet then dropped my purse onto my toes to hide my unsightly claws. Good call I thought.

Across from me, a woman in shorts crossed her legs with pristine painted toes exposed. How audacious. She sat with feet pointed out toward the circle, proud of her painted toes, while I hid mine, ashamed of my deformity.

I sat with fingers clasped on my lap, afraid to move, hoping I wouldn’t get nailed. I flexed my toes beneath my purse allowing them some wiggle room, as Miss Painted Toenails dazzled the group in red acrylic splendor, her freedom feet mingling with the other toes.

Oh, how I wanted to wiggle my digits with the other happy toes but kept them sequestered until the end of the meeting.

When the other feet landed and began their exodus across the room, my toes and I ran for the entry and the safety of our shoes. Once I slipped my Quasimodo foot inside, I fled the scene of my toenail felony.

Never again, I cried on the drive back home. Before attending another meet up of naked feet, I would tow my nails to the body shop for an overhaul and paint job. 

Are you ashamed of your toes? 

Totally Retro-spective!

Some simple cutout cookie cuttersImage via Wikipedia

When I started blogging two plus years ago, I had zero readers but that was irrelevant. Having an outlet to keep me sane was my prime directive.

Earthly writing also kept me sane but required at least 5,000 words, the typical length of a short story, my chosen literary genre.

Whereas, blog posts averaged 300 words, a shorter less formal vehicle for spewing my thoughts. No fuss. No muss. No rejections from editors. During that emotionally fragile time, I couldn’t handle failure on a creative level when I had already been leveled on the 9-5 playing field.

Current playing field hours 11-4 — Priceless!

This weird trip I’m on began two years ago after I left my job of nearly ten years for what I thought would be an opportunity working as a customer service rep for a bakery where the cupcakes were nut-free, but the owner was not.

Image via Wikipedia
Three months later, as I sifted through online job sites for other employment opportunities, I saw my job posted on Craigslist. When I confronted the head pistachio in charge, he confirmed my suspicions.

I learned through a clandestine call from the production manager, who was hiding off site in the bakery, that the gal who preceded me was also let go at the three month mark, which also turned out to be true with gal number three, who followed me … out the door. They say that bad things happen in threes.  

One of these days, we’ll find out who they are.

In the bakery business, they also like to say, “That’s how the cookie crumbles,” an old cookie cutter proverb.

If only my days had cookie cutter boundaries. A wise old woman, who also happens to be my mother, once said, “You need structure.” Mothers always seem to know. After all, they have eyes in the back of their heads. At least most moms do. I’m a mother, too, but don’t possess rear-view vision. The only object that appears larger in my mirror is my butt.  I can’t see ten feet in front of me or ten feet behind my behind.

That is why the road I travel in life requires a GPS system and a street with double yellow lines. Without lines, my ADD mind veers off onto the breakdown lane or takes the next exit to windy back roads.

ADD tangents lead my thoughts astray, a directionless joyride that never ends. On an ADD trip, Point A never leads to Point B and usually ends up at Point P, Q, or Z. All the while the calendar on the wall and clock just laugh at me.

Soon after the bakery owner cut off my dough, I moved into a blog lot in Blogger Shanty town and started writing about my daze while sending out hundreds of resumes into the employment black hole.

My first post on Friday, May 29, 2009 summed up my predisposition for getting lost in my head, the ADD road map to nowhere.

Today Friday

A day without work. At home trying to get organized. A problem. Always. Can’t reign in my thoughts to stabilize the content in my head. The executive function in my brain takes too many coffee breaks, gets in late, and leaves early. The proverbial cluttered mind with a desk by the window. I look outside and see trees but can’t see the forest through them …

As I look out the window at 12:00 a.m., all I see is the black glut of night. I know the trees are there somewhere. I guess I’ll have to wait until daylight to see them.

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Random Thoughts: Land of Lost Moments

Fontaine de Vaucluse or Spring of Vaucluse in ...Image via Wikipedia

 
Poetry

Land of Lost Moments

I hold the answer in my hand held tight in a fist.
Inside it, I carry the weight of years lost in quiet introspection.
Dreams discarded,
like tufts of dead grass tossed on the side of the road,
laying in a pile that grows higher every day,
now too unwieldy to take away.
I gaze at the brown spots that litter my lawn,
exposing my flaws for all to see.
I know that snow laden winters and warm spring waters
can no longer give sustenance here.
The years have been cruel to my land, my house,
my lot of moments castaway in impulsiveness.

I have spent too many afternoons looking across the road.
In doing so, I have neglected what was intrinsically mine.
My creations, my livelihood of moments gone by without regret,
until now. I know the grass will never grow here again.
I lost the fight the day the grass died,
and I hurled the scraps across the yard like words
promised in haste and then forgotten.
The responsibility was mine and mine alone.
I own all the mistakes, the blemishes that proliferate.
Only when night falls will I find salvation. Only when darkness
covers the dead brown spots that litter my lawn.

I’ve been going through so many changes lately. 

My thoughts continue to take me through different levels of my mind. One day I’ll find the answers.

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Old Moldy Post – Stuff Gets Stuck In My Head and Grows There.

Barbed wire fence with snow.Image via Wikipedia

Found this buried in the back of my blog.

Next Exit Past Asylum Street.

On the road, Mom, Dad, and son head to college admissions. We’re watching all the signs.

Just passed Asylum Street.

A warning.

On the shoulder, a discarded sneaker left standing.

Farther down the road, another sneaker on its side.

Where are the feet? I dare not ask.

Strange roadside happenstance up ahead.

Minimum security prison on the left. Prisoners trapped in gray jumpsuits jogging in line across a yard, or not. It’s more like concrete grass. Prisoners like concrete, especially the shoes.

In the side view mirror, barbed wire fades into glass.

Now gone.

We continue past moo moo cows and cornfields, past boonie towns and weathered barns. On the road to infinite asphalt sky. Zero. Nothing, but gray ribbons twisting in the wind.

Luckily, GPS Gladys is our gal. Her voice, calm and reassuring.

“Continue along route 666 for another mile,” she says.

We follow.

Close to our destination we are told.

A sign confirms it. “Cheer up your lawn with manure.” It says. I say, “WTF?” We’re heading toward Crazy 8 Campus, stuck in mud beneath morphine sky.

“You’ll be taking a right in one mile,” pipes Gladys.

In exactly a mile, we turn onto Crazy 8 Road behind a slow moving Honda, with a bumper sticker on the back that brags, “You just got passed by a girl.”

We pass the Honda. A guy is at the wheel.

“Destination on the left in 500 feet.”

“Thanks, Gladys.”

Click.

She takes a nap.

We take a seat in Crazy 8 hall.

Taken any road trips lately?

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Two-Year Blogiversary Head Cleaning

The wind, depicted by a fir tree at Lake Ivacs...Image via Wikipedia

 Airing My Thoughts.

Two years of windy words waft through the blogosphere. Losing altitude, accelerating toward earth, cyber air whooshes through my window screen.

Cold air slams hot, as parallel universes collide. A rogue gust of wind rips the screen from the frame, whacking the side of my head.

I pass out on the bed, then later, open my eyes inside the eye of a tornado; the house spins in the sky. Outside my window, a witch zips by on a Dyson.

Where’s Toto?

Woof. Woof. Yelp! Sssssssssssst.

Poor Toto. Got sucked into the vacuum. He was mistaken for a fur ball.  

A contemporary twist!

Click your heels three times.

I’m back!

Two years went by like – Snap! Or Crack! – Rather quickly, factoring in the days spent unemployed in my warm up suit ensemble that turned rancid by the end of days – Wasn’t that two-weeks ago? Missed the locusts and tidal wave, although we did get a lot of rain. Coincidence? I think not.

Recently, I’ve been spending my days in Harriet the Spy mode. No, not flat or middle grade, but in three-dimensional investigative mode, searching for clues in a dubious deal that’s all about the dirt. To avoid suspicion, I adopted a dumb blond persona. No one discovered my true identity despite the fact that I’m a brunette.

Does Dirt Travel from the Ground up or Fall from the Top of the Tree? 

It’s probably a “Who comes first, the chicken or the egg?” scenario unless the yolk broke, then it’s an omelet. All I know. Something stinks in my quaint New England town, and it’s not horse manure.

I know you must be on life support by now hearing about the cell tower, but that’s where the speckulation of dirt began because the tower people (sounds like a sci fi movie) want to blast a hole in sacred wetlands ground in order to plant the faux pine death tree.

The trajectory of the killer ray will travel a horizontal path toward my house, situated at the top of the mountain. The good news. We’ll be able to microwave TV dinners on the TV or on my head. Good times!

I also think the tower people are responsible for citrus flavored toothpaste that glows like an extraterrestrial element on my toothbrush. Citrus is a tangy tooth treat that wakes up my mouth in the morning, to which my tongue responds, “WTF?” My feelings on the aberrant flavor a.k.a. freak of nature. Citrus should stay in the fruit where it belongs.

Have you dazzled your teeth with citrus?
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