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Friday, June 10, 2011

Eating Well.

So...has anyone been in a fast food restaurant lately?

I have to say, I haven't. The lack of funds coupled with the lack of car and, well, there's been a LOT of "dining in" the last couple of years. But, while 98% of meals are still cooked (and cleaned up after) by me, we ARE able to indulge in the occasional meal out now.

Last Sunday, the hubster had to go to a meeting in downtown L.A. The hubster (who spends a great deal of time telling people I have NO sense of direction and can't find my own way to the bathroom without a map)looked up where the meeting was and told me "It's about two blocks from where the Avon Express pick up store is." This, btw, is NOT the greatest part of town but hell, I was dropping him off and not staying myself, I figured it was HIS lookout.

After wandering around said unsavory area for a few blocks, being on the right street but the address wasn't what it should have been, I looked up at a street sign. We were on West. The address he had given me was on EAST.

Back across town we chugged. It's June here in So Cal, there's a reason they call it June gloom. It was pushing 8pm, it was chilly and it had started to rain. About 10 minutes later we found the equally unsavory area his meeting was in, dropped him off (after assuring myself that it WAS the right address and seeing someone we both knew entering the scuzzy warehouse type trendy loft in the middle of the urban blight also known as Downtown Los Angeles) the boys (who have been so long without a car they come along for rides to the garbage can) and I headed for home.

Fortunately I know my way around downtown, I worked there for many a year. I headed towards Alameda, turned left and started up towards Union Station and the freeway. We hadn't had dinner yet. I assumed the hubster would be fed at this meeting (I assumed wrong, btw, as did he)and it was now past 8, dark, cold and raining. At a red light I glanced at my wallet and considered my options.

"I've got 20 bucks" I said. Anyone got any more? The boys did, so I started thinking of inexpensive grub. I threw out a casual suggestion..."there's a Farmer Boys up here you know..." They leaped at the idea.

Farmer Boys is a favorite of ours. It's kind of a restaurant and kind of a Burger King. The menu is fairly extensive, one orders at the counter and puts your number on the table and the food is delivered. Their fried zucchini is to DIE for. And there aren't any of them remotely close to us here in the urban village, most of them are in the nouveau not-so-riche-as-they-think-they-are Inland Empire. This is what the people who live there call San Bernardino. An Empire sounds ever so much better than Corona, which just sounds like beer, don't you think? Me neither. I don't care what they call it, it's still the leading edge of the Mojave Desert. This Farmer Boys, however, is quite possibly the only one in Los Angeles County. Opposite the Produce Market, it's open 24/7. So is the Produce Market.

I parked the car in a place I could SEE it and we trooped in to order. As I said, we weren't in the best of neighborhoods. Farmer Boys seldom are, btw. But they're clean, friendly, secure and good food at a decent price. Now, will someone please explain to me WHY my standby turkey on whole grain is 870 freaking CALORIES?????

That menu board was one of the scariest things I've seen since the Wicked Witch of the West melted. All that wonderful, made to order food. Complete with calorie count right next to it. Fish and Chips. Oooooo, sounded wonderful, hot and crunchy on a cold and rainy night. All TWO THOUSAND CALORIES of it!

I started looking at the burgers. For the last 20 years or so I have shied away from burgers in favor or things like turkey on whole wheat. The burgers, however, were sitting there with numbers like "550" next to them which, compared to the turkey and the coveted Fish and Chips started looking like a real bargain. Then I saw it.


NO SHIT???????

So there we were, on a cold and rainy night in June in a semi-deserted industrial area in downtown Los Angeles snug in a booth where we could watch the parked car through the window while I went into raptures over the chili burger I had denied myself for these many years. Chili, rain and cold are made for each other anyway, but there, and the 24 hour Farmer Boys, I felt I was having one of the best meals of my life.

We found ourselves on the road home, full and content. Perhaps it was the fiber in the chili. My younger son, the recent college graduate was musing about my burger discovery and decided that the lower calorie count of the burger I had was due to the lack of mayonnaise and 1000 Island Dressing that is usually present on a straight burger and I'm inclined to agree. Works for me, anyway. So, the dilemma I face is this? What's better (or worse)? The more healthy turkey on 42 as yet undiscovered grains bread at 870 calories or the chili cheeseburger at slightly more than half the calories but every stinking one of them will end up attached to my butt?

When my son graduated we celebrated with the once a year excellent meal at the local overpriced eatery and THEY didn't have the calories next to the salmon pate on the menu. I'm guessing that the rule that states you have to put the calorie count by the food you're serving only applies to menus too big to actually hold. If it has to be screwed into a wall, you have to paint numbers other than the price on it.

It's also possible that if you pay 20 bucks for a side of creamed spinach it doesn't go straight to your thighs. Perhaps there's some sort of causal connection there.

What all of this means though, is that, in spite of my newly found drive-through freedom, I'm going back to cooking. The turkey sandwich may still have 870 calories, but if I don't write them down, they don't count. Yeah, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Odds and ends.

This housekeeping thing is getting to me.

I sat up late last night because my son decided to wait until after midnight for someone to give him a ride home...a ride I could have given him three hours earlier. I have NO freaking clue why the ride from his girlfriend's brother is better than a ride from his mother. I mean, sure, a ride from his GIRLFRIEND, of COURSE that's better than a ride from his mother but his girlfriend's BROTHER? Not only that, but he finally came in after 1am. He could have been sleeping at his girlfriend's apartment, which is right across the street from his place of summer employment. This would have afforded him the luxury of two extra hours of sleep, since he wouldn't have had to get up two hours early to catch a freaking bus but noooooo.

I wouldn't be bothered so much by this if he wasn't working with power tools right now. Tired and tools don't mix. Just ask Anthony Weiner.

Well, since he was in a state of flux, so was I. This means I didn't get to sleep before 1:30 either. I amused myself by watching "The Banger Sisters" on cable while I waited. Why do I watch that movie, it's awful! But I keep watching the damn thing. I keep thinking I've missed something and when I find it the movie will be good. I mean, Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon, Geoffrey Rush. Oscar winners, each and every ONE of them. Why is this movie no good? I don't get it.

Anyway, this morning, as I found myself draped over the computer doing my morning check of our lack of money in the bank the browser I opened prominently featured a link to a whole bunch of recipes. I clicked. And I found a feature on make ahead and freeze meals. It occurred to me that this might just be the answer to part of my problems. I get home between 6:15 and 6:30, as a rule. The three men I share my humble abode with are all in exactly the same place, doing exactly the same thing when I walk in. The hubster is stretched out on the loveseat with one of the back cushions removed and placed behind his head, his feet hanging over the edge, watching "The Rachel Maddow Show". My older son is in his room, watching GSN and my younger son, when home, is sitting in the hole in the broken down 40 year old sofa, texting while he plays something on his open laptop.

"Honey, I'm home!"

"What's for dinner?"

Every freaking NIGHT.

Well, anyway, I figure I can spend the week-end cooking and freezing. I've never done that but it seems to me that it would be a week-end well spent. The freezer needs to be cleaned out anyway, the kitchen needs to be cleaned and that way, when someone asks "what's for dinner?" and can say "Whatever you get off your ass and shove in the oven, I'm taking a glass of gin and going to bed."

I mean, I'm going to end up cooking anyway, right? It's not like anyone else will. If I don't, they go to Taco Bell. So now I'm looking all over the Internet for stuff one can freeze. I mean, cook and freeze. And I'm thinking WTF am I doing, spending Saturday cleaning so I have room to cook and freeze on Sunday and then go back to effing work on Monday?

I turned 57 last week and have come to the conclusion I'm too old for this crap. I've been working for the better part of my life and now I want to STOP working and start doing whatever it is everyone ELSE in my family does while I go to work. Not gonna happen.

The hubster thought maybe I shouldn't cook and clean all week-end and maybe we should plan a trip to Disneyland. Have I mentioned I HATE Disneyland? I didn't USED to. But part of my downfall was liking Disneyland and hanging out with people who didn't just LIKE Disneyland but BREATHED Disneyland. Obsession is a scary thing.

Okay, obsession on moderation isn't bad. I mean, I'm currently obsessed with "Dr. Who" because I'm absolutely CRAZY about the 11th Doctor. However, in time, he will regenerate and this phase will pass. I've been watching Dr. Who since the 4th Doctor and, frankly, I haven't been especially enamored with, oh, more than three, maybe four of them anyway. Just saying...

Anyway, I started perusing the prices to go to Disneyland. If I had 400 bucks and nothing better to do than set fire to it I would probably set fire to it before I go to Disneyland and a) spend an additional 400 bucks on food, drink and t-shirts with that idiot mouse plastered all over them and b)run into all those O.C. DINKS who have nothing better to do than buy annual passes and haul their privileged asses down to Anaheim three or four times a week so they can waste money at what passes for fine dining and twitter about their wine selections and the length of the lines in Fantasyland. These are the same people, btw, who have absolutely NO empathy for their fellow men, vote Republican and support the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy because, after all, if the rest of us had lived within our means and NOT believed our banks when our banks ASSURED us that we could actually afford a home for ourselves and our kids we would not be burdening the rest of the privileged, high class populace with out stupid little problems. Like homelessness.

I have absolutely NO clue why people like this hang out at Disneyland. They seem to have overpriced property to come home to after spending the day reading Disney websites at their "look, I'm better than you" jobs which are WAY too complicated for the rest of us mere mortals to understand. They all have cats to feed and overpriced gas to buy and overpriced restaurants to visit. Why the hell do they have to congregate, like so many lowing bovines, in Disneyland, flashing their platinum cards while they buy overpriced tsotskes on Main Street?

Anyway, I'm leaving the family park to those too selfish to HAVE families (as it would take away some of that precious income and, frankly, I'll admit there IS a kind of point to that (as kids SUCK THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF ANYTHING negotiable)and staying home to scrub my sink, clean out the freezer, make lists, shop, cook, freeze and label, all in an effort to make my life easier and frankly, when I think of what this undertaking is going to cost me in time and effort I'm not sure how THAT'S gonna work out.

On the other hand, while they're winding down yet another day at the "Happiest Place On Earth" by cleaning the litter box, I'll be sitting on my ass waiting for my frozen lasagna to bake while I watch the season finale of "Dr. Who" with my family. I've got the better part of THAT deal and that's the truth. Trust me, neither your cats nor the cast members from Peter Pan will be at your funeral. My kids, however, will be at mine, probably figuring out what's left and how they're going to come up with an equitable split but they'll be there nonetheless.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go buy some of those plastic slats that the sumo wrestlers sit on on that commercial about how these things will prop up your sagging couch in a feeble attempt to fill in the hole my son sits in while he texts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer.....

Okay, someone had to say it and now it's out of the way.

I have had an extremely busy month. Mother's Day. Yeah, that was the usual. Then I spent two weeks cleaning the apartment because my baby graduated from COLLEGE the end of May and, try as I might, I could NOT convince anyone that the garbage dump they call the living room really, really needed to be cleaned up because someone might actually SHOW UP. Not for us, mind you, but for the kid.

It also took me two weeks of manipulations and borrowing and trips to the California Department of Motor Vehicles with all of this borrowed loot (at least THREE of said trips were made by the hubster, I'll have it known) but the car was finally, after TWO years, registered and street legal. It was also FILTHY. With a capital FILTH. It had a dead battery. Well, we got THAT taken care of, which absolutely fried my buns because it was sitting there with a virtually new battery when all of this poverty hit but no one would go downstairs and turn the damn key in the ignition once or twice a week and let it fun for five freaking minutes so that the batter stayed charged.

Well, the kidlet graduated on the Tuesday before Memorial Day. I ended up taking three vacation days to a) deal with the cleaning of said apartment, b) deal with the car and c) well, hell, why not?

The graduation was WAY across the Los Angeles Basin at 8am and we were advised to get there by 7am if we wanted to sit down. This meant a departure time of no later than 6:30, which is why I hit the WALL on the damn car sitting there, in the carport, PAID FOR and unusable.

Well, we finally got the paperwork finished on Friday morning. Friday afternoon we got a very expensive battery. However, as the mechanic came to our place, jumped the battery and took the car to his place of business, thus saving me the price of a tow truck, it probably came out about the same. Saturday morning, bright and early, off I went. Yes, in the car. I went to the recycling place to get rid of about 20 bucks worth of cans and bottles that had been accumulating in the car, because that was where we had been storing the empties for the last year. I put gas in the car and hopped on the freeway. I didn't really NEED the freeway, but hell, it had been a very long time since I'd actually driven on one.

As we accelerated up the on ramp the car started to vibrate. I thought it was rough road. By the time we got it up to 50 I was feeling like I'd been put in one of those 1950s exercise machines, the kind where you stood on a little platform, put a wide belt around your read end and turned it on so it could just shake the fat off? Seems rather ridiculous now that I think of it but, on the other hand, we were a LOT thinner back then, maybe there was something to it.

Anyway, the vibrations was eclipsed only by the deafening noise. It sounded like an earthquake at full throttle. If you've never been in one, it's kind of like a roar. and the two boys got out the cell phones and started in calling tire stores. On a Saturday morning. Did I mention we were going to a party over by the coast and were going to leave about 2pm? We finally found a place with a decent price on tires although by this time I was tapped. The almost graduate and I scraped together enough for four off brand tires and spent what was left on half a dozen cans of beans and three packs of wienies, which we ate for the rest of the week and then some.

We got the tired and then hied ourselves to the car wash, the one I had the coupon for. And we staggered home a mere four hours later, about 1:30. Where the hubster, showered and dressed, was tapping his foot waiting for us because he seemed to think we'd been out for a joy ride. Now...picture this. When I left, unshowered and in yesterday's jeans at 8am to buy some fresh corn and recycle the bottles, the car was rattling, wheezing and under about a half inch of accumulated dirt.

When I came back said car was parked in front, shining, clean inside AND outside, four brand new tires and raring to go. We were going to a party we had missed the year before because we didn't HAVE a car to get there. As we trooped downstairs and the hubster approached the passenger side door he stopped dead. "What the hell did you do to the CAR? LOOK at these scratches!" Okay, I shouldn't have been surprised. He can't read the clock but he's got a "Y" chromosome and that means that he can see a fingerprint on a car from three blocks away. I mentioned that the guy at the car wash had seen them too and he said they could be easily buffed out for about 90 bucks (this is with my generous local employee company i.d.) and I would have that done but I had neither the time nor the extra cash to do it that week-end.

He then accused me of scratching the hood of the car myself. And then finished the tirade by claiming I smash the car for the fun of it and then announce that it's only a "thing" and isn't important. THIS is a bone of contention, I'll admit. The hubster has apoplexy if someone scratches the furniture. He once told the boys that I lined the burners on the stove with aluminum foil because if evened out the heat and reflected it up to the bottom of the pan. Nice try. I explained that I lined them with foil because it was a pain in the ass to clean them. He then said "I wish you wouldn't do that, it's like covering the furniture with plastic."

Well, I stopped lining the drip pans with foil and spent the next six years scraping burned on bubbled over food off of the pans. I notice HE never scrubbed the damn things. Not only that, he decided that the way to properly revere the TV credenza was to take what was left of my rubberized shelf liner and drape it over the top of the thing, thus protecting it from scratches made by the television, DVD player and the occasional human. It looked a LOT like furniture, wrapped in plastic. When I'd had enough and took the damn thing off I found that it had adhered to the wood. After an hour of scraping and scrubbing I gave up, it's now textured maple. Whatever, as they say.

This is where his screaming about "things" comes into play. It's weird looking now. It also has some nicks in it, some of them from moving and some of them from living. Shit happens. If you're lucky, it happens to the furniture and not to you. The hubster has always interpreted my basic "Oh, chill OUT, it's a TABLE for crissake" to mean "I'm going to throw this into the middle of the street and drive your car over it six or seven times." Which is probably what he thinks caused the scratches on the hood because it SURE as hell couldn't have been the THREE two trucks or the car carrier transport now, could it? It couldn't have happened when the two thugs showed up and 2am and threatened us with jail if we didn't let them repossess it...the same two thugs who freaking STOLE personal property out of the inside and I hope you get lead poisoning from the expensive personal thermos you're now drinking your coffee out of you sticky fingered a**hole. It couldn't have happened during the four weeks sit sat out in the open an some impound lot in another county, could it? Nah...I did it. And let's not even get INTO the fact that when we had to get rid of one of the cars we got rid of MINE, not HIS...but I digress. Oh, and btw, he's very welcome for all the work I did to get that car back out on the road. He never said "thanks" but what the hell...

Now...what does all of this have to do with Weiner? He's a man, that's what. He took a picture of his crotch in tighty whities and sent it through the Internet and now all anyone can talk about is Weiner's wiener. Really? And now every Republican is yelling "off with his head!" Yes, I did intend to say that. Now, this needs to be broken down into it's basic differences here. In the first place, Representative Weiner at least kept it in his pants. Okay, his underpants, but my point stands. Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, hell, even Strom Thurmond couldn't do that. In the second place, Rep. Weiner has not made a career of espousing morality and the sanctity of marriage. Nor did John Edwards, currently under indictment. Say what you will, John Edwards may be (hell, IS) a scumbag but he's not a hypocrite. A crook? Yeah, probably. In the third place, if you're going to send a picture of yourself in your jockey shorts to someone there should be a ruler somewhere in the .jpg. No ruler, no point to the pic, it's really a waste of every one's time. In the fourth place, did he learn NOTHING from Chris Lee? In case you forgot, he's the one who ended up resigning because he posted pictures of himself shirtless on Craig's List. Frankly, I'd rather see Chris Lee without his shirt than pretty much any guy without his jeans. Abs are hot. Underwear? Not so much.

Only a guy would send pictures of his privates out into cyberspace and get flustered when someone comes across them. No woman would be that stupid. If a woman sends lewd pictures of herself over the Internet she knows she's taking a chance and probably WANTS someone to check it out. Men? I have NO freaking CLUE what they all think.

I blame this entire mess on digital cameras. You take a digital picture and you post it. You really need to be aware of the fact that nothing is sacred online. Nothing. Think about it. Before digital cameras, if you wanted to take pictures of your dick you didn't use a Kodak. You used a Polaroid. Because that way you didn't have to put up with the college kid in the Photomat booth checking out the quality of your photography and then calling you "Mr. Johnson" when you stopped in to pick them up.

Buy a VOWEL, guys. You use the Interwebs, some one, some where, is gonna see it.

And in the fifth and most important place...if the guys name wasn't Weiner, no one west of the Hudson would have heard about it. QUICK...what's his FIRST name?

I rest my case.