funnierwithwine

A humorous look at the little things in life

Shopping for a bargain, for me, is the bar’s gain November 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 5:41 pm
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Recommended wine for today’s entry: Valley of the Moon chardonnay. My 21-year-old daughter bought me a bottle for my birthday, and I broke it out this week after this harrowing shopping experience. It was just the ticket – it was a Wine & Spirits Best Buy this year with an 87 rating and got a Gold at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Try some for Thanksgiving.

On Black Friday, you would have a better chance of finding me at the tippy-top of a water tower, eating a grease-dripping turkey leg and dancing to a Prince song than you would have of finding me at the mall. The only thing I hate more than heights, meat, dancing and Prince is a crowded mall.

So what was I thinking this week when I found myself at a large department store’s ONE DAY SALE!?

And of course I was there both days, because what good ONE DAY SALE! isn’t two days long?

I ventured to the mall on Day One with my friend Beth because she hates to shop too and misery loves company who is also miserable. We couldn’t take the chaos of frenzied women shouting out math problems like IF THE ORIGINAL PRICE WAS 100 DOLLARS AND THE SIGN SAYS 65 PERCENT OFF WHAT DOES THAT MAKE IT … OH, AND WAIT! I HAVE AN ADDITIONAL 20 PERCENT OFF COUPON … SO IS THAT 85 PERCENT OFF OR IS IT 20 PERCENT OFF AFTER THE 65 PERCENT HAS BEEN TAKEN OFF … OH, AND WAIT! I HAVE A SUPER SPECIAL $10 OFF A PURCHASE OF $25 OR MORE … WAIT, NOW I REALLY NEED TO KNOW IF THE ADDITIONAL 20 PERCENT …

No wonder people push people down on Black Friday.

We escaped upstairs and bought my husband a birthday present, which was just in the nick of time because his birthday was in a scant 11 hours. But that department was not participating in the ONE DAY SALE! because it is too snobby and it has a lovely hardwood floor to let you know that you have left the disgusting white-trash linoleum floor that the rest of the scuzzy, coupon-bearing animals are thundering through. So it was worth the extra money.

Then we hiked to the far end of the mall to the opposite anchor, which was empty because there was no ONE DAY SALE! and the prices were sky high. But the additional money I paid for a holiday dress was worth it, because my blood pressure stabilized and saved an expensive hospital co-pay. At least that is how I sold it to my husband.

Speaking of husband, when I got home I checked his closet and realized that the sweater I’d gotten him was, of course, the wrong size.

Which is why I was back at the mall, in the rain again, the Second Day, a day that made the First Day, in retrospect, seem like a day at the spa.

I parked a million miles from the door and was darting in and out of cars when I nearly got flattened by, you guessed it, the Mall Cop. I pulled up short and waited for him to pass.

But he stopped next to me, put down his window, pulled down his sunglasses (it was seriously dark enough out that his automatic headlights were on) and looked me up and down. Then he says, “Are you trying to get into the mall?” No, Barney, I’m just a middle-aged woman playing pedestrian chicken with irritated drivers in pouring rain. I nodded and he goes, “Please. Cross in front of me. Please.” I felt dirty. But I wasn’t afraid of him because he could barely see over the steering wheel and I have to think I could outrun his stubby little legs.

I fought through the peons thronging the first floor, made my way to the department with the special floors, exchanged the sweater without incident, and then made my escape to the escalator. But wait! Bras — buy 2, get 2 free whaaat?

Yes, I became one of the ill-mannered mob. I clawed through the merchandise, once even setting a pick on a fast-moving woman so she had to divert around the rack and in the meantime, I established my territory in front of the Vanity Fair display. If I’d been a male dog, I probably would have peed on her.

In the checkout line, the meemaw in front of me held up her tiger-print pajamas and asked me what the tag said. “100 percent polyester,” I read. She stared at me like I’d just told her I eat live kittens and she finally said, “So there’s not much cotton in there, right?” I took a cleansing breath, trying to reconcile in my head how so many stupid people had come to have so much spendable income.

But she was waiting for an answer, so I did: “Uh, no, not much … like ZERO cotton.” Apparently the wrong answer. She got out of line and threw the handsome jammies back into the wildlife section and left.

In the end I had $140 worth the bras for $57 and I was hooked. Screw my blood pressure.

Tights were 2 for $22, so I juggled my two bags, my purse and five pairs of tights and, once again, couldn’t find a cashier. I wormed my way through the store, my phone ringing incessantly in my purse, but me without an open hand to even press “reject.” Now I’m sweating and juggling and ringing and ringing and ringing, and there’s a cashier with NO ONE in line but my eye catches a smashing pink sweater with 65 PERCENT OFF screaming at me, so I divert and grab one, tucking some of the tights under my chin to free a hand.

And when I get back to cashier, there is a scrawny lady with Albert Einstein’s hair gesticulating wildly and bitching about the computer saying there was a pair of size 2 in the store somewhere and WHERE ARE THEY … and second in line is a very nice man, or I think he was very nice because he kept asking me something in a language I have never heard but he was smiling so I think he must have been nice. But he smelled like the men’s locker room after the Anti-anti-perspirant Basketball Tournament.

Now I was sweating, juggling, ringing, ringing, ringing and g-a-g-g-i-n-g (literally). The “manager” even came by and thanked me for my patience and I nodded, dislodging a pair of tights. But after ten more minutes (and I am not kidding, Einstein was still demanding to know the locale of those damn jeans) … I had to breathe. I headed toward the perfume department where I intended to grab one of those sample bottles and use it like nose spray, when I found a little, hidden cashier and I threw my shit on the counter and grabbed my wad of coupons and threw them at her and finally pushed REJECT on my damn phone.

I am sure I got some good deals but I paid for it with my blood pressure.

I can’t help but note that the word BARGAIN is made up of bar and gain. Let’s just say that that night, the alcohol industry benefitted from my day of shopping.

 

Of stupid signage, stupid weeds and stupid Anita July 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 2:25 pm
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Recommended wine for today’s entry: 2007 Monte Antico Toscana IGT. A confession: I jacked this recommendation from an article at cobizmag.com written by Cathie Beck, the author of Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship (which I also recommend) … anyway, SHE got the recommendation from bargainredwines.com, so peruse the whole list at your leisure! They describe this choice as “a medium-bodied, almost light wine. It’s flavorful from start to finish with tastes of sun-dried tomato and faint oak or black pepper, or maybe even worcestershire sauce. It’s extremely versatile, good by itself or with almost any food, especially dishes with cheese or strong vegetable flavor, where you want a wine that complements and doesn’t try to overpower.” Best of all, it’s widely available and only around $11!

Here just a few random things that have given me pause lately.

1) Recently, this sign was posted at the end of one of the state roads out here in the sticks. Oh, wait — these two signs were posted. I always wondered if roads could have split personalities.

Sybil works for the KY Dept of Transportation

I hate to tell ANYONE how to do their jobs, but I can’t help but think that the same DOT worker who hauled out to our neck of the woods to install the high-faluting flashy sign announcing that the road had reopened MIGHT JUST HAVE BEEN THE PERFECT PERSON to remove the OTHER sign that announced the road closed. 

Just a thought.

2) And this is what happens when you think like an SAT test and you are totally bored, pulling weeds in 130-degree heat.

If foot size is related to human height, and root length is related to weed height, how tall would this dandelion have gotten?

If Foot size: Height and Root length: Dandelion Height, just how HUGE was this sucker headed?

Now, I’m no mathmetician, but if that’s my foot and I grew to be 5’5″ tall, that dandelion was headed for about 6’2″.

3) I recently got a super-nice e-mail from Anita, who said she is 25 years of knowing me. She saw me and zoosk.com and GUESS WHAT? She has interesting in get to know me better!!

Just in case I was getting a big head from all the unsought attention, she also let me know in plain terms that she “doesn’t think that age and appearance are very much matter.”

Well, Anita, at the risk of seeming like a skeptic right here in the face of your direct and honest flirtation, I have to admit that it seems you are just trying to woo me with your astounding sensitivity before you send your request for 100,000 US dollars to be deposited to an account in Mozambique. Because if that’s your goal in get to know me better — as if you could, considering you have 25 years of knowing me already — I have to tell you, I am not your type. And I happen to think that age and appearance matter very much. Also, I am married. To a man.

I really don’t think Anita has 25 years of knowing me AT ALL and perhaps she is a liar.

… oh, and what the hell is ZOOSK.com? I’m assuming it stands for Zero Other Options, Screw Kentuckians.

Well, little missy, not this wise woman. I know you too well for that.

 

Oh NO … Now I’ve misplaced my mojo. July 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 1:54 pm

Recommended wine for today’s entry: At first I was going to recommend a Chianti to go with the yummy baked ziti that I’m actually going to cook tonight … but it is soooooo hot that I decided to look for a refreshing white instead. And I’ve found it! It is the Cline Marsanne Roussanne. I really like everything I’ve tried from the Cline vineyards and this one had recently been reviewed at cheapwineratings.com, who said: “The nose on this wine presents an earthy fusion of mineral, herbal and floral aromas.  The palate is vibrant and tangy, with lemon, lime and melon flavors.  It finishes with lingering melon, peach and mineral flavors.  This is a fun wine, but be warned that it’s quite different from other Californian white wines that you may be used to, like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.  This wine is less about the fruit and more about mineral and crisp acidity.” It’s even under $20! You can read more at http://cheapwineratings.com/2011/07/07/cline-marsanne-roussanne/ Oh, and if you want my ziti recipe, let me know!

This is a sad story about a 50-year-old and her group of 50-ish friends who tried to party like rock stars but found themselves dragging around like bridge club members without Geritol the next day.

Oh, and I looked up mojo (just to make sure it wasn’t like a sick-o sex term) and one meaning is “power, charisma” … just to clarify, that is the mojo that I seem to have lost. I never had any drugs, thus I have not lost them.

My friends Beth and Tippi and I took a quick weekend jaunt to Nashville to listen to some of the up-and-coming country music talent.  We met up with an old college friend of mine, Katie, who lives in Nashville now, and it was great fun to get caught up and chit chat and oops, before we knew it, we’d already had two glasses of wine before we even left the hotel room.

Eventually we sallied forth and fortunately got some food or things could have been much uglier than they were. We eventually found ourselves sitting at the bar at Rippy’s, listening to some good music, sipping longneck beers and … deluding ourselves that we still had it. 

OK, well, not like the 20-year-old crowd in their cute sundresses and boots. And maybe not like the 30-year-olds with the cute jeans and cowboy hats. But we CERTAINLY didn’t look like the pathetically trashy chicks in tube tops across the bar from us. I mean, these were scary old women, way older than us, with long stringy hair that reminded Tippi of Michael Caine in Dressed to Kill. Also, they had back fat that flapped when they threw their icky old arms over their head and danced with their empty barstools.

Now that I think about, Michael Caine was a prettier woman.

 

Anyway, it was loud in there but I’d been sitting next to a nice, clean-cut guy who was about 25 and was obviously with a group of guys that looked to be enjoying, and I mean really enjoying, a few beverages at someone’s bachelor party. After awhile he asked me if I was from Nashville. This is how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: No, I’m from a couple hours up the road. You?

Him: Ohio. Here for the weekend.

Me: Oh, good. Y’all sure seem to be having fun. (I knew he was having fun because you could actually see his pupils dilating and retracting as he struggled to focus on my face, which was, I don’t know, maybe 18 inches away.)

Him: Yeah. Do you know where Ohio is? (Well, there goes my assumption that I appeared to be a learned and interesting conversationalist.)

Me: Well, I think I do. I have two daughters who go to college up there.

At this, he opened his mouth to speak, then closed it, folded his arms on the bar and then … he just thunked his head down — loudly and with enough force to bounce it a bit — onto the wood, narrowly missing impaling himself of the neck of his Bud Light. 

Now I have totally bored people out of their minds at many a bar. I have never, though, had a conversation that led someone to try to knock himself out.

As they say in Nashville, God is great, beer is good … and people are crazy.

Mind you, I had absolutely no intention of trying to woo this young man; rather, I was merely being a polite and gracious barfly. So I have to think his rude reaction was a result of the 12 pack he had apparently consumed.

Or I’ve lost my mojo.

You’ll be relieved to know that Ohio boy did eventually pull his head off the table, but I was already engrossed in a conversation with my girlfriends, which, I later found out, was completely pointless, because the next day they told me that they had heard absolutely ZERO of what I said at the bar the night before. And that is a bloody shame, because I often have astounding epiphanies that solve many if not most of the world’s problems after a couple Miller Lites.

Anyway, I finally turned back to the band and … you probably know where this is going. Yep. Ohio boy was dancing with Michael Caine. Blond wig and back fat flapping to the beat. They were either dancing pretty closely or they were holding each other up.

Y. I. K. E. S.

The next day, we slept until like 11, ate some greasy food, shopped a bit and took a nap. Well, except for Tippi, who awakened at 7, jogged about five miles, read a classic, ate some greasy food, shopped a bit and read more of her classic. (She is a freakshow.) Anyway, we finally felt up to doing it all again on Saturday night.

We were a little more — uh, reserved — with our beverage intake on Saturday, because unless I’m getting a new liver for Christmas, I’m gonna have to keep using this one for a number of years. Also, after college graduation, that kind of fun takes its toll, leaving a residual feeling of malaise and taste of stale beer. Oh, and my friend Beth was going to ride the mechanical bull because that was on her bucket list.

I have a bucket list but I put the list aside and filled the bucket with beer for the weekend.

Anyway, Beth was smart and only had one beer before bullriding. This was not necessarily the case with the guy who rode right before she did. There could be no way he was sober when he elected to don rolled-up shorts, a fringed Daniel Boone jacket and like go-go boots.

Beth was pretty impressive. She stayed on for 38 seconds and I snapped pictures of her like a proud mother at the Easter pageant.

We were less social on Saturday too. We only spoke to strangers to ask them to take a picture of us. And that was only after we decided to just try a little bitty splash of Jack Daniels Honey bourbon. I have to say, it tasted really, really good. But it didn’t do much for my photography. I really wish I knew what I was thinking as I looked through the viewfinder or whatever that’s called on these newfangled camera-type thingies.

suitable for framing

Anyway, we actually had a great couple days and didn’t do anything too humiliating. Unless you count getting trumped by a decrepit redneck in a tube top as humiliating.

Aw, who cares? I wasn’t really using my mojo all that much anyway.

 

The easiest way to achieve one’s goals is to amend them regularly. July 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 11:53 am
Tags: , , ,

Recommended wine for today’s entry: Much to my surprise, I found that not only do 7-11 stores sell wine (in areas where wine sales are not still limited to liquor stores, like Kentucky) … but they actually sell cheap, decent wine! This link to an article in the Huffington Post gives the Consumer Reports’ take on the offering: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/08/7-11-chardonnay-consumer_n_601094.html. Wow. Who knew? For those readers who can access these $3.99 beauties, let me know if they’re really OK. I mean, we all went through our Riunite phase and lived to tell about it – this sounds like a step up!                

So today is a totally LUCKY day. 7-11-11. Not only does it hold the promise of endless riches for those surrounding the craps tables in Vegas … it must also be a high holiday for those lucky workers of the 7-11 convenience store chain who have not, at least yet, been the victim of a holdup. I am no expert on the odds of a 7-11 worker being the victim of a holdup; I am, though, an observer of doorways and, in my estimation, the presence of a multi-colored yardstick that determines a fleeing outlaw’s approximate height leads me to believe that a reasonable amount of risk does exist.

 Today, though, I would like to speak about goals and the way they change over time.

 As children, our goals are as lofty as our deluded imaginations allow. We could be prima ballerinas, NBA stars, creative advertising geniuses, writing things FAR more memorable and insightful than I can’t believe I ate the whole thing … and  Where’s the beef? (which was, I might add, a heinous, heinous mockery of an old woman in who needed way more calcium than a hamburger offered).

Then for those of us lucky enough to attend college, we are often oriented directly toward our goals. For awhile. But then BAM! Some buffoon puts an ice-cold keg of Budweiser right in our path. Most of us can maneuver our way around it, but it’s not without effort. Those of us whose parents made it abundantly clear that not graduating on time was NOT an option, did just that. But the poignant lesson was learned: everyone else in college is like 900 times smarter and more driven than we are.

 And so we work harder.

 Nooooo, silly. We adjust our goals. Let’s be realistic. At this point, we’re already 21 years old … ancient by Aboriginal standards. But we can still achieve great things. Just amended great. Now we can be superior middle managers, the bad asses of the corporate slow-pitch league, perfect corporate wives. (OK, for me, that last one never really got off the ground…so I changed my goal to just not be the direct cause of his demise.)

 And then we have children. Our primary goal is for them to be happy and productive and support us in our old age, which suddenly feels much closer than it did before labor started. This is, I believe, is known as passing the baton, living vicariously, giving up, retiring. Personally, my goals were for my daughters to be princesses. No, don’t be stupid. Those were their goals. I wanted them to be Olympic gymnasts and Julia Roberts. Wait. Those were their goals too. I guess our goals are for them to determine and achieve their own goals. They can do something on their damn own.

After our children head for college with our sage words about the pitfalls of the Bud keg ringing in their ears, we adopt our Empty-Nest Goals. Like for me, I decided I will write the next classic novel, the coming-of-age novel that defines life in the 2000s the way Jane Austen delivered the complexities and contemplations of life in the early 1800s. 

… or I’ll write a stream-of-consciousness blog about possums, wine, cat vomit and friends who push coolers through carpool line with their SUV. 

See, things are truly advancing nicely, aren’t they? 

Now I set goals one day at a time. It makes it easier to find fulfillment. For example, yesterday I achieved all my goals.

 They included: 

Successful grocery shopping. This wasn’t easy because Kroger was swarming with angry elders yesterday. First I had to accelerate to 35 mph in the parking lot to get to the close space before this mean old lady (who later had a hissing fight with the checkout girl) could maneuver her mammoth vehicle into my favorite spot. When she glared at me in the store, I gave her my best Seriously meemaw? Look at me – I’m no spring chicken myself look. Then I faked a limp and ran into the salad bar like I didn’t see it. Later, I had to beat this other like-90-year-old lady to checkout line 3, because I knew she would take forever to unload her cart. So I had my daughter set a screen and I slithered right past her.

 Successful meal planning, prep and clean-up. The key here was to unload the dishwasher before serving dinner, even if it was already 10:00, because then everyone could load their own dirty dishes when they finished. Again, they can do something on their damn own. Also, by holding off dinner until the whole family is starving, they seem to think it tastes better.

Mental exercise. Well, my goal was to get at least TWO words on the Wall Street Journal cryptic puzzle that I have been working on for – and I am not exaggerating here – three full weeks. I have to confess that I only got one.

 Physical exercise. If you don’t give me credit for climbing back onto my pool raft when I tumped over by accident, you have to agree that flicking at least 40 Japanese beetles into soapy water took some exertion. I even managed to do it while sipping a glass of wine. 

See? There are a LOT of things left to achieve when one reaches age 50. It’s all a matter of managing expectations. Today’s goals, for example, were to write a blog entry and get to Vegas to take advantage of 7-11-11.

I’m not sure how that one’s gonna work out. Maybe I’ll get a bottle of 7-11 wine and play poker on my computer. Adjusting goals.

 

Club Women don’t live like this. June 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 1:05 pm
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Recommended wine for today’s entry: Creme de Lys Chardonnay. This is a buttery, lightly oaked chardonnay that has substantial flavor. If you like a Murphy Goode or Kendall Jackson chardonnay, you’ll like this. It’s only around $12 — give it a try. Here’s another blogger’s more sophisticated assessment: http://kmwinediary.blogspot.com/2010/11/2009-creme-de-lys-california-chardonnay.html.

Long ago I was a member of a woman’s club. We had monthly luncheons where many of the ladies wore beautiful hats to complement their natural-fiber suits, and had French-manicured nails to highlight their diamond rings which were generally larger than a Smart Car. The luncheons also featured fascinating — albeit often long-winded — speakers. And a serving staff who refilled your iced tea glass after virtually every sip.

I remember one of the last meetings I went to. I was hoping the luncheon would go quickly because there was an NCAA basketball game I wanted to see. But my hopes were dashed when the line for Members With An Important Announcement consisted of everyone except me and the bustling serving staff.

After about the eighth announcement, drawing the eighth mandatory round of applause, I began to see just how poorly I fit in.

When the lady came to fill my tea glass for the tenth time, I almost offered her twenty bucks for a Miller Lite. But I didn’t. I fixed my slumping posture and focused on the chick who was perkily relaying the report from the Happy Committee or something. Finallyyyyyyyyyyyyyy the announcements ended. I was swinging my legs like a four-year-old in church by this time, because I was so incredibly hopped up on caffeine that I had an urge to get up and weave my way, willy-nilly, through the lovely dining tables, swooping the centerpieces to the ground as I did.

But then I realized that I had no time for such juvenile actions because I was seconds away from wetting my pants. I got up from my seat near the podium, determined to sneak to the potty before the speaker started, but as I stood, another polite round of applause began in the audience and I was just guessing it wasn’t for me. The speaker was from a wonderful area drug and alcohol rehab place, which left me now: feeling guilty for wishing my tea was beer; feeling guilty for caring more about the basketball game than helping this good cause; and seconds from wetting my pants in front of every upper-crust female under age 40 in the whole city.

As I recall, I made the bathroom but missed the game. And I quit the club. Because I don’t think those women have days like mine.

A recent sunny summer day:

8:45 a.m. Shower

9:15 a.m. Step solidly on a deceased mouse or mole on brick terrace. Still sleepy brain fails to send signal to foot to move until it has had time to 1) register the feeling of little claws and 2) register the presence of a liquid emanating from said mouse/mole.

9:18 a.m. Dispose of carcass in woods; on way back, discover Japanese Beetles — my nemesis — invading beloved weeping cherry.

9:20-9:40 a.m. Gleefully flick the little bastards into a Beer Pong Cup filled with soapy water. Get a little extra pleasure from nabbing the horny ones who give me a 2-for-1 homicide.

9:45 a.m. Shower again, with extra emphasis on gut-laden foot.

10:00 a.m. Clean the cat litter. Take trash to end of driveway. Get pooped on by a stupid bird with no social skills. Try to determine whether he has recently eaten red berries or is suffering from serious internal hemmoraging. Realize that examining bird poop on my shirt is too gross even for me.

10:10 a.m. Change clothes.

10:15 a.m. Daughter #1 calls, running errand for work, lost and on verge of hyperventilation. Talk her to the highway.

10:30 a.m. Get in car, open sunroof, head to Lowe’s to buy colorful flowers to perk up the mouse/mole morgue.

10:40 a.m. Speak to doddering old lady who is trying to carry a hanging basket while maneuvering her walker through Garden Center. Offer to help, because it’s a nice day, I’ve showered enough to be fully awake and … dang it, I can be nice to this lady.

10:41 a.m. After the sound of my voice apparently startles the living shit out of the woman, she drives her walker into the corner of a pallet of geraniums, knocking over not only about $50 worth the plants and un-planting them, but in her desperation to get away from me, she is somehow able to knock over a giant concrete block, which she then flails herself over, thus rendering a scene which began with a smile and a “Can I help you?” and ended in a pile of dirt, roots, broken stems, a fallen walker with wheels spinning and an angry old lady on the ground whose Depends are showing. I picked up her walker and the plants. She got herself up. My work there was clearly done.

10:50 Back in car, Daughter #1 is still lost, just in different part of town. I help her until Daughter #2 buzzes in, wanting to do something, I can’t remember what, but as I recall it was dangerous and stupid. So I said fine. As you can imagine, I was already flustered. Back on the phone with Daughter #1, I remember we need bottled water and salad. But since I’d been to Kroger like every day for the previous five days, I was too embarrassed to go in there again. So I went to the gross little hick grocery near our house, where the produce has generally been in place long enough to be dusty.

10:55 a.m. Because logistics is my strong suit, I pick up the case of bottled water, which weighs as much as a small pony, and carry it with me across to the far corner of the store, where I select the bag of salad that has expired most recently. I perch the case of water on the edge of the produce stand to load the salad on top, but it slides on something (and dust is the least gross thing I can imagine) and the right side of the case lands solidly on my right foot. I scream the F word but it doesn’t matter because no one has shopped in this store since the mid-1950s.

11:00 a.m. The express lane takes a full six minutes because the chick who works there hasn’t seen another living soul in days, so I get to hear about her foot surgery. I started my day with mole guts between my toes; I just dropped this anvil disguised as water onto the little bitty bones atop my right foot, and you are freaking whining to ME about your feet?

11:10 a.m. NOW I’m grumpy. As I labor to the car with the water, a man who could have offered to help me passes by and quite probably sees the substantial-sized bug maneuver its way into my left nostril. Still carrying the water, I try to rub my nose on my shoulder, which does nothing but scare it up into my sinus cavity, where it will reside, I presume, for the rest of both of our lives.

11:15 a.m. I start the 10-minute drive toward home, but after about 15 seconds, the seat belt light and warning chimes begin a display that can only be compared to the giant slot machines in front of the Vegas casinos alerting the entire strip that some drunk has hit the jackpot. The commotion was caused because, when the bug reached my brain, it told me to put the 50-pound water in the front seat. The chimes continue, and continue, and continue the whole way home. And, because I have the audacity to endanger 15 liters of water by leaving them unsecured in the front seat, BMW has decided that not only am I not allowed to listen to my radio, but the Bluetooth on my phone is also disabled, so when my phone rings — and it does, about 8 times — I can’t answer it. But I can see that it is Daughter #1, who is undoubtedly still lost, probably in full hyperventilation, and determined to share her misery.

I could have pulled over, moved the water, and answered. But I didn’t. Because I was having such a pleasant day, I decided to have a little ME TIME. 

Just me and the bug wedged somewhere near my septum, the incessant chiming and the open road.

 

My father was not the kind of guy you’d forget. Even if you tried. June 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 4:27 pm

Recommended wine for today’s entry: Fathers do more than support and raise their two-legged children. My husband, for example, shares the responsibility of our two dogs and six cats. So when I found this really cute blog (,http://theradioblog.marthastewart.com/2011/06/world-wine-guys-choose-wines-for-fathers-day-gift-giving.html), I decided to get my spouse the wine recommended “For the Dog Lover: Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2007: This South African Bordeaux-style blend is named for a pooch who loyally kept watch over the vineyards for many years. He’s right there on the label.($20)”

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d relate the story of the first time I brought home a college boyfriend (now my husband) to meet my parents.

It was just like a scene out of Father Knows Best.

As instructed, I let my mother know when we left Nashville, headed due North on I-65. They could expect to see us in 2 1/2-3 hours. Remember, this was in the late 1970s; there were no cell phones.

With a loud Yabba Dabba Dooooo, we were on the road. Straight shot. Traffic was light — we would surely make our 7 p.m. ETA.

Except when I calculated travel time, I forgot to allow for my calorie refill. There I was, solidly in the middle of packing on my Freshman 10, and driving burns calories. And I was driving fast, so I was probably burning DOUBLE the calories. I needed to stop for a Coke. And some French fries to balance the sweetness of the Coke.

Also, I’m lying because it was really the Freshman 20 and I was, by that time, far past the middle of the endeavor.

Anyway, the reason I bring up the Drive-Thru experience is because somehow, while driving the straight shot between Nashville and Louisville that I’d driven at least 20 times previously, I failed to get back onto I-65 North. Not only that, but it wasn’t until we found ourselves approaching a toll booth that we even knew we were lost. By then we had been catapulting due East on the Cumberland Parkway for about 40 minutes.

If you’re a math major, you now know that we are going to be at least 80 minutes late. 

So when we finally reached my parents’ house, we were more than an hour and a half late (don’t forget the slow down while I searched for the perfect fast-food joint). Luckily, my mother hadn’t planned dinner for the second we walked in the door. So it was just about ready. Mom greeted us and I made the proper introductions. Then the Springer Spaniel stuck his nose firmly in Jeff’s crotch and the neurotic Lhasa Apso brought special items from the bathroom trash as a little welcome present. He’s a lucky man.

Then I inquired about my father’s whereabouts.

“Well, he was so excited for y’all to get here that he made a bourbon and water. After that, he was getting nervous because you were late and he made another bourbon and water and went downstairs to shoot some Japs.”

Perhaps I should point out that: 1) My dad grew up in the era of WWII; 2) He didn’t mean his statement to be prejudicial; and 3) What he was actually doing was playing an old arcade-version of Asteroids, shooting alien spaceships or something and actually, he generally wasn’t shooting very much of anything, gauging by the way he cussed and beat on the machine.

Anyway, Jeff and I grabbed a beer and headed down to the basement. I had spent much of the drive preparing him for my father. I don’t remember exactly what I told him, but the gist was that dad was a big man, he said exactly what he thought, the lawyer in him made him tend to argue things that he didn’t really give a damn about either way, and he enjoyed scaring my boyfriends.

So I’m sure Jeff was drinking his beer faster than I was.

When we got to the basement, the Asteroids machine was blinking at us from the corner, whistling its crash-and-burn noises. But my dad was nowhere to be seen. An empty bourbon glass sat on the table by the game. We walked over that way.

Just as we passed the pool table, a hand — a GIANT hand — flew out from beneath it and grabbed Jeff by the ankle.

Nothing I had told him had warned him of that particular possibility and we both jumped. Well, I jumped. Jeff was shackled to the burnt orange shag carpeting by way of a really hairy hand.

Then my dad, laughing, somehow extracted his 6-foot-5, 250-pound body from its hiding place. He shook Jeff’s hand and quizzed him on our reasons for being late (because in his eyes it HAD to be the fault of the lust-filled, 19-year-old NORTHERNER and certainly not the fault of his rapidly-expanding, beer-swigging, class-skipping, directionally-challenged, perfect little girl).

I was mortified. But Jeff was patient and handled the unusual situation with aplomb.

As we made our way upstairs, Jeff leading the way, my dad looks at me and bellows in his booming voice, “SO WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GET THE BOOBS?”

Oh. My. God.

Then we sat down in the giant dining room that looked like 60 feet long thanks to the smoky mirrors lining one wall. Remember, this was the late ’70s. The room was pitch black except for the flickering light of a candleabra. Mom sat and one end of the loooong rectangular table; dad sat at the other end; Jeff and I sat along one side.

Dad held out the platter of meat. “Take whichever piece you want, Jefferson. (That’s not his name, mind you.) Go ahead. You’re the guest. Take whichever piece of meat you’d like.”

So Jeff did. But dad still held the plate in the air, right in front of Jeff’s face.

“I guess you know you just took the best piece, Jefferson. That’s the tenderloin. The best piece of the whole damn thing. The one you took.”

So far things were going swimmingly.

After answering about a thousand questions, I saw Jeff peering through the darkness to my dad. The candlelight was reflecting off his bald head. Then he glanced down at my mother, who, with her very dark coloring, was difficult to discern in the low light. Finally he leaned over to me and whispered …

This is like dining with Uncle Fester and Morticia.

"Take whichever piece of meat you like."

In retrospect, I’m not sure he was just talking about the physical similarities.

 

You might have noticed I didn’t add any new friends from Spain to my Facebook list. June 15, 2011

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Recommended wine for today’s entry: I looked for a suggestion of a good wine to pair with our summer favorite — grilled salmon. Ifound this in a recent Wall Street Journal’s Oenofile column. They recommend a 2009 Melville Pinot Noir Estate, citing “a nice fruit, a freshness and silky tannins which do not distract the wines too much.” And it’s a good domestic wine — and I’m a proud American!

I have FINALLY gotten caught up from our two-week trip that took me six weeks. Two weeks preparation, two weeks in Spain, and two weeks recovery — laundry, restocking the refrigerator, reassuring anxious pets, and putting away suitcases. Oh. I lied. Both daughters still have their suitcases open and filled with shoes and hair appliances, splayed out on their floors.

Except for tripping over the suitcases, though, the trip seems far in the past. Caring for a post-surgical Lab (torn ACL) and a cancer-laden 17-year-old cat who is committed to a hunger strike has taken over. So I decided to start a scrapbook from our trip in the time between medicating, walking and attempting to feed the ailing members of the menegerie.

It reminded me that I never told you all the other embarrassing moments of our trip:

1) Another restaurant debacle:  At the pizza restaurant on our street in Villanova, where we ordered a 15 Euro (like 20 dollar) salad for the four of us, very carefully explaining that two of us were vegetarians and we could have no meat and no fish … even saying no ham. Got a lot of nodding out of the little dwarf lady who never smiled. Or plucked her chin hairs, but that’s neither here nor there. No carne, no peces, no jamon. Si, si. She looked at us like we were idiots.

Then she brought out a separate plate bearing the anchovies that were apparently supposed to be served on the salad. Good for her. They were neatly arranged in a clever design that didn’t make them look any less dead, but did make us believe that she’d actually understood us.

Ahh…the salad. My daughter was giddy. Until we found out that “the sauce” — which we had assumed was salad dressing — was actually an oily can of tuna tumped over and touching every single lettuce leaf.

apparently tuna is not a fish in Spain

          

 Because the waitress 1) didn’t speak English; 2) disappeared; and 3) scared the bejesus out of us, we elected to just have the no-fish-eating daughter skip the salad. She held out for the pizza.

The rest of us risked our dental work on the pit-laden olives. In the meantime, we got a bottle of wine, which the mean and hairy waitress put on the table with one of those little freezer packs that wrap around the bottle’s shoulders like my grandma’s old fur “wrap.”

Well, it worked pretty well, and the wine was cold and tasty, until my husband lifted the bottle by its little shrug to gallantly refill glasses, but in a rebellious move, the wine pulled itself right out of the jacket and flung itself down — hard — on my husband’s dinner plate.

Yes, of course the plate broke and one large chunk of it, along with some gloppy remnants of greasy tuna “sauce”, skittered across the floor of the (formerly) quiet restaurant.

Stupid Americans. We ate our pizza quickly, preparing to make our second quick departure in two days (the first was the paella debacle). Then, trying to soothe everyone’s shattered nerves, I conceded to our waitress, telling her we were sorry, but we didn’t know much Spanish.

Which would have been nice if, right after I said “Lo siento. No sabes mucho,” both my daughter and the mean waitress didn’t gasp.

Because I guess I really do suck at Spanish since I said, “I’m sorry you don’t know much.”

Escape children! Run like the wind! Mommy’s done it again

2) Train and metro scenes. At the train station for a day trip to Sitges, we successfully found our way to Platform 6, where the train was supposed to arrive in about 3 minutes. But then they rattled off some announcement and people fled from our platform down the stairs, presumedly heading for a new departure location. Hmm.

I decided to ask a man who seemed to know what was going on. I asked him what number they had said. My Spanish-speaking daughter grabbed me by the shirt and hauled me away.

Apparently I asked him for his number.

You’ll be surprised to hear that he didn’t give it to me.

Then, getting onto the underground Metro for another excursion, we had one ticket that was loaded with 10 trips. You didn’t need to know the language to work it — you simply fed the ticket in the front, grabbed it after it spit out the top, then hand the ticket to the next family member and move on through the turnstile. Duh.

But in Barcelona, one of the turnstiles was broken. It wasn’t turning. So, time being of the essence, my husband told me to just go under the arm of the turnstile. In what can only be considered a bold and nimble move for a 50-year-old, I squatted and duck-walked right under the non-functioning machinery. As I (OK, a little slowly) rose back to full height on the other side, I heard a man over the loudspeaker. He was saying, “On the right! You go on the right! Look at the arrows!” And sure enough, there was a row of green arrows, flashing, pointing to the turnstile one over from the one the stupid Americans were using.

I started to add up the amount of money that has been spent educating the four family members combined and it made me weepy so I stopped.

3) Promenading. As I mentioned in another blog, the main drag in Villanova was called the Principal Rambla, and it was a lovely avenue, dotted with charming outdoor cafes and bustling with beautiful people. We were very aware that people noticed us — undoubtedly because there were very few people in town with our coloring.

That and I was wearing a tube top that, because of middle-aged sagging issues, was strategically placed almost around my waist.

No, not really. Gross. They just stared at us because my daughters are pretty and we were all blonde. So we worked it, my daughters and I parading down the Rambla, swinging our arms confidently like Charlie’s Angels. Go ahead and gawk, people, I thought as I lifted my chin so that the breeze could blow my hair back. Just like a supermodel…

…a supermodel who fell, with a solid thump, onto the lovely granite walkway. It wasn’t my fault. Someone had dropped a cherry to sabotage me. Yes, it was a teeny, tiny cherry, but it was squashed and at first I started to do a banana-slip, with my feet out in front of me, cycling in slow motion; then I caught myself (whew) and leaned forward … too far, falling to my knees and landing basically on all fours like a dog. 

 

The scene of the disaster.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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