Sunday, December 2, 2012

Boxers Of Christmas-Past

Christmas, 2004

Dearest Zachary,

   Before you open this gift, Daddy, Abby and I have the following story for you:

  As you know, just as the shopping season thrust itself upon your father and me, Abigail had already launched this year’s First Christmas Miracle by finding The Perfect Piece of Literature to craft our family's Christmas reading-tradition (There's A Monster At The End Of This Book). 
  While similar Santa miracles continued to unfold, the Zach Gift you are about to unwrap was truly the work of a Higher Christmas Power.  
   Her name was Debbie.  She works at Walmart.
   There we were, our Zach-List in hand, in the Zach Gift Area, searching for just the right style of Gift, as per List Criteria.     
    We found the right fabric, colors, length, drape-ability, waistband softness, and other special effects. 
   Daddy magically unearthed an OPENED box so we could all feel and stretch and hold up to ourselves to model -- then cross-referenced its features to The Special Features List.
 This brand met every criterion! So we pressed on down the Aisle to find The Right Size.

  Using Spatial-Relations Skills I learned from my colleagues at the math and science academy, I can say that the Aisle was, technically, A Swath of Wall, as tall as Much-Higher-Than-I-Can-Reach, and Many Daddy-Paces long.
   Using our collective Reading Powers (Abigail) we set our sights on the bacteria-sized font that comprised the numbers of available sizes.   
   There were One Thousand sizes. 
   And the correct Zach Size was in a different part of The Wall. 
   We Daddy-Paced southward the distance of two Buicks and discovered seventeen bins labeled with The Right Zach Size.
   Empty.  Every one.
   We continued looking through every shelf from floor to Much Higher-Than-I-Can-Reach across the span of Southern Utah. We think this took six hours. 
   When all hope seemed lost, a salesclerk named Debbie appeared from...   the South Pole. 
   We asked her if she knew when the supply of the Right Sized Zach Item would be replenished.  She cheerfully reported, “You’re in luck, because this particular Zach Item comes in every night.  But I can check to make sure.”   
   She recorded the Bacteria Font Data and vanished, and announced upon her return, in tones usually reserved to announce to the bride, “The plane did not contain your fiancée,”  “I’m SO sorry, but this item won’t be in for FOUR DAYS.”
   That brought us to December 27.
   The three of us were so crestfallen, Debbie’s eyes began to mist.  
   In a polite show of support, she frowned at The Wall, pretending to look for a Zach Item our family may have missed.
   After two seconds of Perfunctory Looking, her arm of its own accord reached across and plucked from a bin at eye-level one package sitting so precariously close to the edge, it fell into her hands.  With no fanfare, she presented us with one pristine package of the Zach Item in The Right Size. 
    It was the only one in Central Massachusetts.
    Daddy and I said in unison, “How did you DO that?”
    Debbie said, “I don’t know. Just luck.” And – poof...
        … she was gone.
   We know that package had not been there before Debbie manifested it out of thin mess. Debbie, we now realize, was a Yuletide Unicorn.
    So, another Christmas Miracle blessed our family this Joyous Season.
   And Zachary, should Mommie and Daddy’s Holiday-Dimentia mean this ONE remaining package of Your Item in all of the free world has ANY incorrect features, create another miracle, by cheerfully saying, “Meh.”
   Thank you for reminding us of the MANY ‘meh-s’ in Christmehs.  We love you!!!!
XX OO  Mommie, Daddy and Abigail

Confessions of a Sushi Addict

I am well aware that I possess some addictive gene. It's strange to me that it does not translate to things like Pilates, beet smoothies or kale.

For years I have been trying to 'do fewer life-ending things' – with some success! No cigarettes, no sugar, no caffeine, limited alcohol except for holiday binging, all complemented by sporadic self-inflicted fitness-based activity.

I just re-read the paragraph above:  interesting that the only things I’ve done permanently are deleting nicotine, sugar and caffeine.  Doesn’t research say these are the most addictive things?  Should I NOT be able to conquer EVERYTHING bad and addict myself only to GOOD? The Jedi Mind Trick Plan?

In my quest for addiction-conquering (to which I have not yet addicted myself) I was recently traumatized when, after all this work, a new addiction cropped up. There I was: one day eliminating triggers, and the next ensnared by a tuna roll.


Who knew?

To be honest, I've know for some time I have the potential for food-addictions, but I thought these were isolated incidents.  Cake, for example – particularly white cake of the wedding ilk -- was a downfall my whole life. Fortunately, we attend a wedding every three years so that took care of itself.

But when I was pregnant with my second child, I developed such a thing for McNuggets, I'd drive to the closest McD's each morning, for weeks, ‘til I'd literally devoured our grocery budget. 

It was hideous, sitting in my own guilt each morning inside what I’d come to view as "my parking space" – the one around back where employees park, with a birds-eye view of the Drive-Thru Line, snaking around secret corners and Disney-esque turns.  I sat there impatiently tapping my wristwatch, hoping to time-travel to 'soon' or ‘now’ or ‘FINALLY’ when McDs migrated from breakfast to lunch …

  so I could be first in line for my Thirty-Pack Family-Sized Trough O’ McYummy.  It was a Hefty-bag sized portion -- the bulk of which I could hardly get into my mouth fast enough while speeding past window-staff.

It was this past Halloween that I became addicted to sushi.  I thought I was doing the right thing:  instead of annually purchasing 20 pounds of our personal favorite Halloween chocolate bars (knowing full well no child has trick-or-treated on our street in half a decade), I decided to buy nothing.  Sugar is not good for myeloma or menopause -- the two things my household caters to these days -- so we called another couple (also sans trick-or-treaters) and asked them to pick the restaurant.

Halloween fell on a Wednesday this year, and this couple explained that for months now, they have indulged in Mai Tai Wednesdays at a wonderful Asian Fusion place the next town over. 

It didn’t take long for the Mai Tai to lend itself to words I never thought I’d speak.

 “Can I try a piece of your sushi?  Maybe this ricey one right here with wasabi and ginger soy and OH MY GAWD LET’S SUPER-SIZE THIS PLATTER. Get me the menu … BRING ME THE CHEF … AND MY DEBIT CARD, NOW!”

The next day, the 36-tuna-roll-hangover could not stop me from obsessing over my next sushi hookup.

Such is the nature of addiction.

In fact, I instantly reconnected with friends I had not seen in more than 15 months.  “I miss you! Let’s do lunch!  Dinner – snacks. I know a place.”

Without a proper income, it was the McNugget Hell all over.

But in the same way that I was able to divert my attention from Halloween “Leftovers” by distracting us with something new … I was able to go cold turkey (or cold sushi).  

Although that wasn’t my intent.

I intended a few Tuesdays ago to serve a trial-run Thanksgiving turkey using a stuffing recipe that included smoked oysters.  It was so rocket-fuel-tasting awful that I bundled up the meal, tossed on extra eyeliner and spirited my spouse back to Sushi Hut.

(You realize the trial run Thanksgiving meal was perfectly fine.  Such are the lies addicts tell…)

Returning to that sushi menu was like going home: it made me salivate and tap my foot ... like a happy dog wagging its tail.

I was rehearsing my instructions for rolling my Sushi inside out, so the rice is on the OUTSIDE of my spicy yellow-tail rolls... and was ALMOST ready to inquire about something called eel sauce when the server appeared out of nowhere, so I inhaled to deliver my Request Speech.

I didn't even eek out a partial syllable.

She was a psychic server (or else she saw the drool on the open page of The Dragon Tail with eel sauce).

"There is no Sushi on Mondays and Tuesdays."


 -- after all that rehearsing --

"I cannot accept that," was all I eventually mustered, so she calmly repeated that there is --  no  --  sushi.

I would have none of her broken-record routine. I sent her away so I could begin my search afresh, but she would not be dismissed so readily.  She inquired, with sincerity, whether we wanted to order drinks.

I had chosen the first half of November to engage in physical fitness and alcohol abstinence, to prepare my liver and hormones for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But the denial of sushi … the rage?

I ordered a Sake-Tini: sake, absolut, vermouth.  Big Glass.  Chilled. Yum.

By the time the server returned for my non-sushi order, my mood was markedly improved.

"I see," I said, smiling up at her, "that your menu offers nothing in the way of anything that I want."

 I motioned that she should take my spouse’s order and I closed the menu and morbidly fondled my Sake-Tini.

She took his order for something with a number, then regarded me closely. After a pause, she said, "You know, we can PREPARE for you anything that you like."

Well, this was good news.  I told her I wanted sushi.

Then I began randomly calling out ingredients, and she kept PACE with me, with pen and a completely separate order pad. I think she moonlights as a court stenographer.

"Green pepper, garlic, onion, celery, string beans, in a white wine sauce with Ponzu, SPICY ZECHAUN-HOT with SHRIMP. And no carbs … no noodle." 

"Thank you," she said, and returned later with THE MOST delicious entree... I have ever consumed.  It was genius.  Next to sushi, the nameless entrée was, and I quote myself, “THE MOST DELICIOUS THING I HAVE EVER CONSUMED,” but I’ve lately been saying that a lot.  

We are going again on Non-Sushi Nights, of which there are several each week, to capture the talents of our Dictation-Steno Server and Their Direction-Following Chef.  

I have not hit bottom yet; but I am practicing really hard, getting to the bottom of those sushi-platters and hot-shrimp entrée bowls at increasingly lightning-speeds. 

... and you KNOW I’ll keep you posted …