Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Tough" Knows No Age!

I've never been terribly comfortable with the label "people watcher" so I never applied it to myself.  I do, however, sometimes notice things about human beings that makes it nearly impossible for me to focus on another detail of my life until I relay what I have seen to someone else.  OK, so I people watch.  As for the 'relaying it to someone else' part, well that is where you come in...and writing a blog is much cheaper than therapy.

Yesterday, in our local supermarket (which shall be named and promoted as soon as they start sponsoring my blog) I saw the toughest woman I have ever seen outside of a "Scared Straight: Female Lockdown" after school special.  I first noticed her hair.  It was slicked back but not plastered to her head.  It was something that I would have liked to achieve when we had 'fifties' spirit days in high school.  I was never able to get my hair to stay back like that without being all greasy and then looking like I needed to put tape around the middle of my glasses...the tape would, of course, be color coordinated to my pocket protector though.  This woman looked like she had been doing this same style so often that she just needed to scowl into the mirror and her hair would obediently move into place out of fear.  It looked like the kind of hair that Fonzie's mother would have.

That was actually the next thing I noticed, she was old enough to be Fonzie's mother!   I am horrible at guessing ages.  I would never presume to guess a lady's age.  But let me just say that this woman had witnessed a number of decades...perhaps a couple more than me.  That's as close as I am going to go since I don't want her to track me down and beat me up.  She also looked like she was outside quite a bit judging from the depth of her tan.  I suspect she works on the pit crew for a funny car.

The next thing I noticed were the tattoos that were poking out of the sleeves of her printed tee shirt.  I have nothing against tattoos.  I don't assign any particular feeling to a tattoo.  I have some very good friends who have gotten tattoos...yesterday!  In fact there are two designs that I would consider for my own body...if I weren't afraid of ten thousand needles.  I personally have no problem with them.  I will, sometimes, question the placement, or content of, certain tattoos.  You never want your kids to look at a tattoo and ask, "Daddy,  is that lady in the picture going to nurse that man?  He's not a baby!"  "Ooh, honey, look over here at the building!  Isn't that a nice building!?"

No this woman's 'tats' didn't appear to be inappropriate.  She also didn't have cartoon characters or swirly flowers.  This woman's tattoos looked like they were the tribal tattoos of the Maori, just not on her face.  The thick swirls poking out of her sleeve could, I suppose, be the tail of a unicorn, but I will tell you this, that would be one badass unicorn!  And it would have sharp teeth.  Something else about her tattoos, they were not the old purple-faded-into-oblivion unrecognizable blobs that are often seen on people of advanced age.  No, these were crisp and clear and looked like they could have just been done.

Overall this woman looked to be exceptionally tough.  She is the kind of woman who, if someone  ever tried to foolishly steal her purse, would be able to take care of herself.  In fact when the police finally arrived they would find her sitting atop the delirious punk, smoking an unfiltered Camel, rubbing her jaw and saying, "You got a pretty good punch kid."

So you get the idea.  Tough.  And yet...looks can be deceiving.  Just moments after I had made my observations and decided to let it go even though she had seventeen items in the 15 items or less line, she reached out and picked up a pack of gum. (eighteenth item, but who's counting)  What struck me was her choice of gum...this tougher than tough looking woman went straight for the Juicy Fruit.  Not only was it Juicy Fruit, it was the one that comes in a bright pink wrapper!  Talk about unexpected!  A woman like this should be chewing "Tar-O" The jet black gum, now with pieces of gravel for extra texture.  Nope, she picked up the bright pink package.  I was intrigued!  I leaned forward a little to see the next pack of bright pink gum to see if I was really seeing what I was seeing.  Then I saw it, "Sugar Free!"  

I'm sorry!  I don't care how tough you look, how cool your hair is, how fresh your tattoos cannot be tough if you buy sugar free Juicy Fruit gum in a bright pink package!!!  So I stole her purse.  (just kidding)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A New Service

I've decided to branch out!  Our friend has asked us to write her a letter of recommendation to update her resume for being a teacher.  Here is what I came up with...

 To whom it may concern,
What can I say about Ren?  She is quite an actress!  For years now we believed that she had Tourettes Syndrome.  Turns out she was only trying to impress the teenage gang members she hires to work in her class.  Well, we thought they were gang members.  They were actually her accountability partners from her various “anonymous” meetings that she frequents. 

Ren is very smart!  How else would you describe someone who can get out of reckless abandonment and child endangerment charges?  Fourteen times! 

Ren is also very health conscious.  Very often during the day she will take naps at her desk next to her thermos of what she calls “liquid encouragement.”  The devotion to maintaining her well being by resting is impressive!  Having the kids do independent work with the addition of her snoring in the background is a very clever way of having the kids prepare for workplace annoyances!

Speaking of workplaces!  Ren has a regular industry happening in her room.  Having the sixth graders “recruit” the younger kids into making shoes, soccer balls, and designer purse knock-offs is wonderful!

HEre’s a Large Personal reason My Ecstatic choice is for you to hire her.  I have made these statements on my own under no coercion or duress…and I hope to see my family again soon.
Jeff Garrett
Just let me know if you would like me to write something up for your new job search.  Reasonable fees!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spin A Yarn = Win!

I don't know if it's because I haven't written in a little while or that my Magic Eight Ball / blog idea generator is in the shop, but I am here today saying, "And now for something completely different!"  (Truth be told, it's probably because a friend of mine has been writing Monty Python references on Facebook all day.  Nevertheless, I am doing something today that I have never done before; a restaurant review.

Before I begin I should tell you, I am not a paid reviewer of restaurants.  I learned everything I know about cooking, and reviewing, from Ratatouille, the Disney movie.  I should also warn you that my blog for today is not for the faint of heart.  Vegetarians beware!  Sylvia is a Pisces.  I was born under the sign of Meat with Potatoes rising.  Carnivores of the world unite!

It all started when Sylvia checked something on Facebook.  I whipped out my smart phone and started chatting with her.  (I was about twelve feet away from her at the time)  She played along and with all of my charm, wit, and suaveness I won a date with my wife.  I think it was when I said that I "LIKE her, like her" that I sealed the deal.  The only question was, where to go?

Since it had been a while since I took Sylvia on a date to someplace that didn't involve ordering by talking into a clown's mouth, I decided to try someplace new.  There are three places in Fremont, that I know of, that have a reputation for being a cut above.  Only one, however, had just been on the TV show called Kitchen Nightmares.  I think the choice was clear, we went to the nightmare place.  Yes, Spin A Yarn in Fremont was where we ended up.  Sylvia and I have seen the show.  We know that they go in, assess how bad a place is, work to make it better, and all with explosive confrontations between the owners and the host of the show.  That is the formula for the show...we have no idea how their particular episode went.  We haven't seen it.  In fact, judging from the conversations around the room we were in, we were the only people in there who hadn't seen it.  I think our waiter may have been glad to have a table where the show wasn't the topic of conversation.

I was worried, with its new found fame and previous reputation, that we would have a hard time getting a seat. We got there about 7:30 and were given a choice of table or booth.  Not being able to make decisions easily we chose both.  I got a booth while Sylvia sat at a table nearby.  (Not really)  In our booth we noticed that it was nice and quiet, a change from where we typically go to eat, and a really welcome change since my ears have been bothering me lately and everyone seems to be talking as if they have hand towels stuffed in their mouths...but I digress.  We sat.  We talked.  It was great!

When I looked up the restaurant on Google this morning, to see what the actual name of the kitchen show was, I saw the beginnings of a review.  It had "$$" under price.  That is usually one "$" too many for a teacher who gets paid with bags of multi-colored elbow macaroni but what the heck, we splurged.  It isn't often that we get to sneak away, just the two of us, and I wanted it to be memorable.  Our waiter, whose name escapes me, was funny and personable and gave us time to make our selections.  After a while he came by and said, "The suspense is killing me!"  It's nice when people recognize that I am a goofball and give it right back to me.  Sylvia ordered the halibut on the waiter's suggestion and I had the...wait for it...Prime Rib!  You have to picture Homer Simpson drooling slightly, catching his breath, and saying "Prime rib" in order to get the full effect.  Both orders came to our table quickly, so quickly that we almost didn't have time to finish the bread and softened, salted butter spread they brought to our table, almost.  They brought the prime rib to us on a cart and sliced what I thought was a generous portion right there at the table.  Medium rare, perfect.  I asked if they had straight horseradish instead of the creamy sauce, to which the humorous waiter replied, "Don't toy with me sir."  He came back with a dish of horseradish and a plate...with another littler piece of prime rib on it saying, "The chef felt that he may have shorted you a little bit." and set it next to my already full plate.  I think the real reason was that I scared him by covering my plate with my arms and growling at him when he made a move toward me with the pepper mill...none for me thanks.

Eating this meal was a pleasure!  Everything was prepared well.  I even ate the green beans that came with the meal since they were fresh, seasoned well, and cooked but not turned into a soggy mushy mess.  Sylvia was impressed.  At least three people came over to see how everything was and/or if we needed anything else.  I felt like they were trying to impress me since I was an important food critic...I didn't want to disappoint them, so I became one here on my blog.  I wasn't able to finish all of my meal even with the, "Come on sir, you can do it!" prompting of the waiter.  We both turned down dessert but not before seriously considering sharing one.

As we were getting up to leave I asked our waiter if he could please be rude to me or do something else that would make me not want to come back since we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but really couldn't afford to come back.  He told me that my request was odd since 'rude' just comes so natural to him.  We left, with perhaps a new favorite restaurant on our list.  We had a wonderful time and with our meals and a glass of wine each I think the $80 dollars we spent was well worth it.

If you are ever in Fremont and want to have a nice meal in a semi-famous place I would highly recommend Spin A Yarn.  Tell them Jeff, the guy that writes a blog, sent you.  Heck, bring him a copy of this, tell the owner that I talked you into going.  Tell him that he should thank me in a tangible way by giving us a free appetizer or something.  But mostly, enjoy your meal.