Friday, May 13, 2016

Ted Zeppelin and the Bored Spoon

Because fire breathing cat. 
My friend, Ted and I were having breakfast at my place.  Oatmeal.  He took a heaping spoonful of buttery steel cut oats and shoveled them into his considerable maw.  (Ted's a big guy.  So big we call him Ted Zeppelin but that's another story).  After a few chews his brows came together, his eyes widened, face reddened and he spit them across the table into my coffee cup.   

“Agh, my mouf is burning!  What the hell is in this?” he asked.

“That? Oh, that’s Tabasco,  jalapeƱo and a little white vinegar,” I said. 

“Why would you do that?  Why would you make oatmeal with liquid fire and salad dressing?”

“Keeps the spoons happy."


"Well, the spoons were upset with me because I kept giving them boring things to do like stirring coffee and dipping in soup.  They said to make life a little more exciting for them or else they’d leave with the forks and then I’d have nothing to eat with except for the butter knives because they don’t like to travel.”

Ted never ate over my house again.  

But my silverware is quite content and that’s what really counts. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stairway To Caffiene

Happy little coffee all for me. 

Mornings are a groggy affair at best.  Shake the sand out of my head, figure out where I am, wonder if I'm wearing pants.  Sometimes there isn't time for coffee so I stumble off trying to remember what day it is.  Today it's particularly bad. I'm running late and I can't think straight.  I may have put two different sneakers on the wrong feet and I could swear my underwear is bunched up on one side making each step an exhilarating exercise in patience. 

I need coffee. 

Coffee is my respite, my sanctum of sanctums.  It is where the infusion of life and clarity occur.   After that first sip the lights upstairs click on.  After the second I remember what I look like.  After the third it's, "Good morning, ladies. Fancy meeting you here." 

I drag myself around the corner to the fancy schmancy coffee shop. Fine, I'll sit for a moment and sip the haughty brew-of-the-day.  Today it was something from Mexico I think. I didn't care. All I needed was for it to be in a cup and hot. I'd settle for it in my lap at this point.  I ordered. I received. I dolled it up with milk and sugar, unrefined if you will, and sat among the tired masses.  People reading phones and tablets. People talking into earbuds. People resting weary heads on tired hands. And me. 

It was then that I heard the music, uncommon for a cafe.  Ooooh, what's this?  Why, it's Led Zeppelin, Stairway To Heaven, the live version on The Song Remains The Same.  We're at the good part where it builds into a sonic barrage of awesome.  I am reminded that my father, long gone, loved this part.

He used to call me while I was busy at work.  He'd be driving around and he'd put the phone up to the speaker and yell, "You hear that? YOU HEAR THAT?!?!  DUDE, I LOVE THIS FREAKING SONG!!"  He'd be singing and screaming the guitar parts.  I'd join him in my crowded office, onlookers be damned. It always made me wish I could ditch work and hang out with him because I knew there wasn't much time.  Alas, the things we should have done.

There I was, drowsy, cross eyed with tired and it made me smile. It made me miss him. It made me sing. In the coffee shop. Loud. 

AND AS WE WIND ON DOWN THE ROAD, (banging hands on table)
OUR SHADOWS TALLER THAN OUR SOUL, (chugging guitar part on my outstretched leg)
THERE WALKS A LADY WE ALL KNOW, (singing into sugar dispenser)
WHO SHINES WHITE LIGHT AND WANTS TO SHOW, (shaking person next to me)
HOW EVERYTHING STILL TURNS TO GOLD, (now doing all these things at once)

um, sir....





It was then that I was asked to leave the premises as I was awakening the other customers.  I got up, took a deep bow and left.   And I hadn't even had a sip yet...

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7th The first sighting of the pepperoni pizza sea monster.

Adventure ahoy!

Then there was the time Ollie took to the sea as R'Ollando the pirate in his usual search for adventure and treasure.  It was a calm cloudy day, a day wide open and full of nothing in particular.  A perfect day for the Jolly Ollie to be at sea.  

The Pirate R'Ollando sat up in the crow's nest scanning the horizon for an island or a ship to pillage.  Through his brass scope he saw nothing but calm seas and the occasional hungry seagull.  He hoped the seagulls didn't buzz the crow's nest as it was a long way down to the deck.  

It had been a boring adventure so far.  There was nothing to pillage and no treasure to find.  R'Ollando's tummy rumbled as lunchtime approached.  He was about to climb down the mast when something in the distance caught his eye.  He looked through the scope off to starboard when he saw it; something moving on the surface far away.  

Something tasty this way comes...
"Creature ahoy!" he called down to his crew.  "Starboard, um, that way." And pointed toward the horizon.  The ship made it's way toward the object on the surface.  The Pirate R'Ollando wondered with anticipation what it could be.  Maybe a ship adrift full of cookies.  Maybe a small uncharted island with something buried in the sand.   Maybe it was s sea monster.  He shuddered with the thought.  There were no such things as sea monsters, right?   

As they approached, the thing on the surface disappeared in the foamy salt water.  The crew was puzzled.  Perhaps it was nothing, a trick of the light on the water.  They prepared to turn back when there was a shuddering through the ship as it was tossed on sudden waves.  

From the depths, rising higher than the mast of the Jolly Ollie the giant mythical ugly pepperoni pizza sea monster surfaced with a roar (which sounded more like a giant burp). 

What would our heroes do now?  Could they escape?  Could they tame the beast?  Did they find lunch or did lunch find them?  

The answers to those questions are the story for another day...

* If you liked this little tale there are plenty more on Ollie's site where the adventure and mischief continue...

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Some thoughts on smashing things with a hammer.

Don't let this happen to you!

I saw this today and chuckled myself into a coughing fit.  I can relate to it very well as I'm sure you can.   As I was laughing thinking on all the times I had this feeling when something stuck me; I hadn't felt that for a long time.  

I don't mean I can't remember the last time something went catastrophic on me, that was about 20 minutes ago with a pot of boiling coffee.  I mean I can't remember the last time I had the typical reaction.

CHARACTER REVEAL: I used to be pretty hair-trigger.  If something went wrong I'd explode in a fit of chaotic rage and throw anything in my vicinity that wasn't bolted to the floor.  Sometimes I tried to lift something bolted to the floor and watched as my testicles rolled under a bookshelf leaving me writhing in pain.  

That hasn't happened in quite some time.  Here's the thing; I can't figure out why.  My father was hardwired to over react.  If he dropped his keys he'd put his foot through the wall.  I learned that.  It was easy, it was fun and it drove everyone away from me.  

The sequence would go something like this: I'd have something in my shirt pocket.  I'd drop my keys, bend to grab them and on the way up, I'd drop what was in my shirt pocket.  On trip to the floor number 2 I'd hit my head on something on the way back up.  The coffee flew, I'd rip the pocket off my shirt and my keys would be vibrating to a stop, stuck in the wall (or on one case, a window).  

TIP: The above-mentioned behavior is a great way to make sure your friend list hovered around zero to one.  

Why don't I react like that anymore?  I had to think for a second, then a minute.  Then it occurred to me, chaos occurs every day.  Something is always going wrong.  I just simply stopped keeping track of it or letting it get to me.  Because it always happens.  Because it can always get worse and sometimes it does but so what?  When it got really bad I'd find myself paralyzed staring out the window muttering to myself but now when disaster strikes I find myself actually solving the problem without destroying something.

Today's example; Last week, I took a 30 minute drive to the art supply store to replace the  permanent markers I use  for Ollie's paintings.  I tried a less expensive brand.  I got home, did my drawing and started painting - and watched the black ink bleed all over the page I just spent an hour working on. 

LESSON: "Permanent" doesn't necessarily mean "waterproof".  

Old me would have reveled in the challenge of tearing the page into uncountable microscopic bits then smashing the markers with my father's "special" hammer.  However - I took a breath, just one and retraced the drawing with the old marker.  

Part II- The next day I took the 30 minute trip to the store to make an exchange.  Their site said they open at 9AM.  I got there at 10:30 to find they really open at noon.  Old me would have driven the car through the window, exchanged the markers and left an apologetic note about the window.  Instead, I took a breath, two, drove home, did another drawing and went back at noon.  Case closed. 
This new transformation may seem mundane to you because you're not a lunatic raised by lunatics but for me it was a huge step.  

What's the lesson here?  Chaos, unpredictable disappointment and unwanted deviations are a constant.  When it strikes you, take a second to evaluate the ease of a solution.  Chances are it's not as bad as you think.  

How you choose to react to them makes the difference between getting on with your day or spending it reaching for your testicles under a bookshelf while you try to bring your voice back down to a normal register.