MNSC: Escalation Edition

16 hours ago, I was gifted-slash-bequeathed a 5L bottle of wine by the Silver Fox’s Son.

If you need some forced perspective hyperbole for scale, it’s blocking out my fridge in that picture…

Of course, I joked that I wasn’t sharing it. Secretly, I wondered when I would have occasion to polish it off.

Monday Night Supper Club has died. A victim of its own purpose.

Our foursome became a threesome when the one couple broke up.

Then a five-some, when the third embraced the meal’s mission and invited a couple into the mix.

Then a sixth was added, I think just to prevent the couple from being able to become a voting bloc. Or is it block? Who cares.

But then our numbers crushed us under the weight of scheduling – which I was the gateway for, with my stupid retail schedule. I can’t decide fully if I miss that or not. Anyway, we moved from Mondays to Saturdays to Fridays to delays for travel or moving house.

Our group spanned from the west side to northwest, initially. Then from the far east side of town to inner east side and northwest, The Fox and I being the stalwart downtowners that we are. Then we added in a mix of north Portland, just to prove that for all its reputation as a small town, Portland covers a fair amount of territory.

But back to that bottle. This morning, I was staring at it while I got some water from the tap.

“You…what the hell am I going to do with you?”

Returning to bed to read the early morning email deliveries, I cam across a recipe from Alex Delany and Bon Appetit, he likes to send me little ideas that he’s kicking around.Most of the time, I don’t do anything with them, because these Rent Week notions he has are usually something soup or stew oriented, and I’m saving that entire culinary oeuvre for my 60s.

But leeks? C’mon. Who could not? Truly one of the most undervalued alliums/roots there is, in my opinion.

Add in the scariest ingredient ever – wanna guess? I’ll wait…
Ooh, I’m sorry…we were looking for Anchovies!Good guess, though.

But leeks and anchovies? I’m in.

I text The Fox and ask what he’s doing for dinner.

Nothing.

Drinks with one of our bartendresses – which I’d forgotten to invite myself to, but rectified immediately – at 5:30 and then nothing.

Dinner was cooking!

So, I started procrastinating immediately. Naturally.

All I needed to do was go to the store and buy a lemon, three leeks and a tin of anchovies. Everything else was on hand: pasta, white wine and parm.

It’s a Rent Week recipe, it’s supposed to be simple. If you’re curious, here’s the recipe.

Actually, I think I’ll pick up some more parm while I’m out…can’t ever have not enough of that!

My procrastinating took the form of finishing my pizza from last night while watching a few episodes of West Wing.

Oops, missed my noon spin class.

As I was hefting my bulk off the couch to start finishing a blog entry from last year that I planned to post tomorrow, I get a text from the Filipina Fox, telling me her plans had changed and our 8:30 meet up was now a go for earlier if I was available.

Ok, before you start thinking that my life is super exciting and that I have 5:30 drinks, followed by a 6:30 dinner and then back out for 8:30 drinks…slow down. This was nothing but a calendar fail.

Not that I couldn’t stack shit like that, mind you. It’s just that I don’t want to.

Simple Solution: mea culpa for all I’m worth and invite the Filipina Fox to join.

What’s better than a meal with all my Foxes, after all?

Dinner with all my Foxes and the Filipina Fox’s hubster, that’s what.

I start looking around my little abode of humility and think it looks more like Myrtle’s home than mine and that maybe I should bother to clean up and de-fur the joint a little. Friendship only gets one so far in one’s good graces, if you ask me. Sending the Filipina Fox and her hubby home to their Citra Hop Cat with more Myrtle on them than they left home with of her is probably an politically poor idea, in feline politics, at least. I’d hate to get them in cat trouble.

But now, in addition to a little cleaning – very little…just dusting, wiping down the leather, mopping, washing my shower curtain liner, booking some chamber music and polishing my wood furnishings, no big deal, I’m not even cleaning my windows or making my bed – I was left curious as to whether I should double the recipe.

I normally cook a pound of pasta when I cook, otherwise it’s not worth it. Of course, I usually cook a pound of pasta for myself and make two meals of it. When I made carbonara for the six Supper Club boys, I made two pounds.

So, let’s enjoy me being crippled by that neurotic thought for a moment, entertaining and then rejecting the idea of making a fucking salad to go with dinner.

Forget that, I’ll just get bread.

And more wine…problem solved, right?

But then I remember my morning’s quandary.

Suddenly, I know what I’m doing with that gift from the Silver Fox’s son. I think he and his wife have held onto it for years – its a 2005, but I don’t think they’ve had it that long. I will have had it for less than 24 hours before dispatching it.

That.

Escalated.

Quickly.

Now, I only need a 5L decanter…

PS: For you judgy folk, you better believe I’m serving red wine with a white wine sauce!

MNSC: Escalation Edition

Sleep Deprived Thoughts…

Billy Joel has been creeping into my Pandora cycle more and more frequently. Never a bad thing, really.

That said, I woke up at 5 the other morning and resigned myself to remaining conscious, I popped on my Sonos and there he was. My groggy brain had some input as the song played out.

Myrt was stretched out, purring between my crossed legs, so I just started blabbing to her. Color commentating on the song as it went along.

Now, Bill is a real estate novelist

What the hell is that?

Does real estate need to be novelized? You might be able to stretch a novella out of it, but I’m pretty sure the main real estate collateral consists of fliers and pamphlets.

Who never had time for a wife.

Likely story.

And he’s talking to Davey

Oh?

Who’s still in the Navy

Oh?

And probably will be for life.

Myrtle, Bill and Davey are gay.

GAY!

Myrtle gives me a look that suggests I need better hobbies. Or at least hobbies that are less disturbing.

That Billy Joel, man. What a storyteller, eh, Myrt.

<slow blink>

Sleep Deprived Thoughts…

TIL #11

Appreciate the Little Gifts

Someone from friggin’ Appalachia won a billion dollar lottery.

I’m pretty sure you can buy a good chunk of Kentucky with that chunk of change. Probably all of Mississippi and Alabama…if you’re not opposed to relocation.

I wasn’t surprised that the ticket The Fox and I split wasn’t the winner. I wasn’t even mad. As my uncle once said after I teased that he couldn’t win the lottery without playing the lottery, “The odds are only slightly worse.”

Fact.

But it’s those theoretical losses, the ones that don’t cost me anything for which I’m really grateful. I’d much rather remember to be grateful with the most inconsequential of prompts than suffer a literal wake up call, have to grieve or recover and then find gratitude.

So, gimme those little gifts.

Jack Nicholson has a line in the movie Bucket List that folds well into this lesson.

Never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard on and never trust a fart.

I get it. I really get it.

But even within that quote, there’s room to drill down. Never passing a bathroom is a good call, but once you’re there, there’s still a lot of variables. Give me the satisfaction of that really nice long pee versus the cursed stop and start pee…I much prefer knowing I’m done when the flow stops versus the cursed “not so fast, there pal!” sneaker pee.

The thrill of bending down to pick up a penny and appreciating that your eyes didn’t send you bending down to the sidewalk for what turned out to be gum. Hey, it’s still a penny, and you know what you can’t buy back regardless of how much you’re willing to pay? Your dignity when you stop and squat down for nothing.

And while we’re talking about getting to ground level, something I learned at least a decade ago was a gift from a personal trainer. It didn’t apply to me then, but I tucked it away for future use. Since I quit the gym, I have been looking for a workaround, but what he told me was that whatever I do with my exercise regimen that I should always protect the thin little muscles that run up my shin.

It’s interesting that it turned out to be my shin bones that were the first to fail me as I aged, but it turns out those little muscles still need to be ready to fire. They are responsible for lifting your toes as you walk. As people age and become less physical, those little muscles that never get trained specifically stop benefitting from whatever you do physically. Whether it’s a targeted leg day or spin or yoga or just walks in the park; you start to do less and they fail faster.

You can probably think of a specific person you know who shuffles when they walk or that walks mostly on their toes, like walking for them is more an act of just not falling forward. Well, those folks know what I’m talking about. And it’s those folks that are gonna get tripped up on an uneven sidewalk as they shamble along. Down they go and then <poof> hip replacement.

There are so many people that just never fully recover after a fall, it’s the beginning of the end for them because they’re just never the same.

So, I’m always on guard to do something that keeps my toes pointing upward. (Shush, Diezel) Plus, I’ve got Myrtle trying to trip me, I don’t need toes that cooperate with her efforts.

So, forgive me if I occasionally forget to complain about the big things I might be missing in life: a lottery win, a job…a relationship. I’m probably wryly appreciating the fact that I didn’t piss myself or get gum – or worse yet, dog poo – on my fingers because my original parts are showing their miles.

Remember, I’m not worried that the glass is half empty or half full. It’s refillable and at least I’ve got a friggin’ glass!

TIL #11

Friday Morning Dance Party

I’m not sure what’s gotten into me this morning, but when I woke up, instead of flipping on the tube, I put on some music. Nothing special, I use Pandora and I’ve been letting the Thumbprint Radio do the heavy lifting for me instead of selecting a specific artist station. I really am enjoying that feature. So I’ve had random great music playing throughout the house as I wander from room to room.

Queen and solo Freddie Mercury

Cranberries and solo Delores O’Reardon

Cowboy Junkies

Genesis and – you guessed it – Phil Collins. Still waiting on some Peter Gabriel

Katy Perry

Sting…but no Police

The Outfield!

Pandora had to dig pretty deep into my musical tastes for that last one…

But all this goodness vibing around my little slice of Portland has had me shaking my groove thing as I’ve puttered through my morning.

While I was making breakfast – oatmeal, I swear – I was dancing in place in front of the stove.

Folding laundry at the counter.

Turning my towel into a dancing prop after my shower.

It’s all made me feel good.

Then I look up after reaching down to dry my legs and see this

She’s so judge-y.

I still laughed. Let her judge. Realistically, she’s probably thinking, “I can’t believe this idiot is who I rely upon for food and water…”

Friday Morning Dance Party

The Red Shirt Diaries #22

Vacation Edition.

Step aside, Myrtle. You’re not the only allegedly domesticated animal that wants to kill me. My brother’s dog, Buster, has a different animal psychosis that may prove equally lethal to my feline frenemy’s efforts at home.

Alliteratively – definitely not affectionately – called Bastard by yours truly, he’s had nothing but vicious growls and barks for me since the second time we’ve met. How long do you think that takes to become tedious?

Yeah. Not long.

He’s vicious sounding, but I’ve never really thought he would intentionally hurt me. My uncle may think otherwise after having his fingers nipped by Bastard the first time they met. I think it was an accident. The damn dog seems pretty hapless in his predatory skills.

But you know the saying, sometimes even a blind dog finds a bone.

Still, I do try to maintain a sense of optimism. Well, about people anyway. And since Bastard is my brother’s dog…I give it a shot.

Our vacation house is a six bedroom affair, two masters down stairs and four bedrooms upstairs that share two Jack and Jill style bathrooms. My uncle and his family are sharing one set of bedrooms and my brother and I are sharing the other with my sister and brother in law.

And that’s how I died in my mind this morning.

Because my siblings insist on traveling with their dogs, they lock them in the bedrooms when they are gone so they don’t bug the rest of us. They leave the water bowl in the bathroom between, which I think is wise given the inherent doofiness of dogs.

However, that works against me when everyone else leaves before I shower for the day. I went into the bathroom to get ready for the day, cheerfully greeting Bastard when he saw me – AKA: growled at me – through my sister’s bedroom door. I also noted that the sister-unit had left two of the drawers on the vanity open while getting herself ready this morning, but really thought nothing of it…it’s just my programming from my days as an Ops Manager in a department store, those Cosmetics Girls were always reporting broken drawers and related leg injuries after running into open drawers full speed.

Until

I poked my head into my sister’s room to say hi to her dog, Rex.

Bastard went crazy and started barking at me until I pulled my head back into the bathroom. Admonishing the insanine – insane + canine = insanine…Chrisism – to knock it off, I realized just in time that I was about to trip backward over the open drawers.

Near miss.

Fortunately, a side effect of living with Myrtle is cat-like reflexes. My life has literally depended upon them.

That could’ve been a blow to the temple or impact trauma that would not have ended well for this Red Shirt. Keeping what was left of my cool, I closed my sister’s bedroom door and the vanity drawers and took my shower, thinking about how mad Myrtle would have been if I let another animal kill me.

Better luck next time, Bastard.

The Red Shirt Diaries #22

Conversations With Myrtle

I stepped on Myrtle today while I was coming in the front door.

Yes, accidentally!

She’d been doing that weave-between-the-legs cat thing and I lost sight of her under a bag of groceries.

Yes, I eat at home. Sometimes.

Sheesh.

Anyway, I did my best to assure her I didn’t mean to step on her while she glared at me from the bedroom door.

“C’mon, Mother…you know I’d never hurt you! Well, step on you.”

She gives me a very non-inscrutable stare.

“You’re just trying to milk this for treats. I’m on to you.”

Self sacrifice.

“Say what, now?”

Self sacrifice. It’s clearly the only way to demonstrate that you meant no harm.

“Not happening.”

Well, here we are then.

“So, the only way for me to prove that stepping on you was an accident is to harm myself?”

It’s a start.

What the hell did you do to your hair, anyway?

“Oh good. This now…well, I went to get a much needed trim. My regular barber was off and I ended up getting a cut from this trans-woman,” I tell her.

Stop. Just stop. Any story that starts with “So, there was this trans-chick” is way beyond my bother.

Says The Mistress walking dismissively under the bed.

But you might care.

I’ve been low-key growing my hair out. My indistinct goal being what I call crazy old man hair. AKA: mad scientist hair. But last time I went to the barber and asked to “clean it up around the ears and thin out the back”, I got a lil bit shorter cut than I wanted.

It was a small setback, so I decided to really let it ride as long as possible between cuts this time.

Ok. I know I’ll regret this, but tell me what happened.

“What happened is last time you curled around my legs like that, you got stepped on”, I tell her. “I thought you were sulking under the bed?”

I can’t help myself, cat=curiosity. You can’t fight nature. Plus, I have a thirst for knowledge…it’s like a sickness.

“Don’t quote Designing Women to me, cat.”

This trans-barber of yours, you were saying?

“Yeah, yeah. Ok. So, ‘clean it up over the ears and thin out the back’, right?”

Myrtle blinks slowly at me. The cat equivalent, I imagine, of “hurry it up”.

“Well, she starts cutting and I ask her if this is her regular station”

Myrtle walks away…again.

“Ok, ok…there’s this picture of a young Keanu Reeves on her mirror and I ask if she was a fan of Baby Keanu.”

Myrtle stops and sits down, still facing away from me.

“The stylist tells me it’s not her usual station, but she does like Keanu”, I tell Myrt. “‘Then she goes on to say that she liked him best after the Civil War’, so I asked her what she’s talking about since I’m not familiar with a Civil War movie of his, right?”

<slow cat blink>

“So she says, ‘Oh, yeah. He’s one of those movie stars that is like 1000 years old…there’s a ton of them. Brad Pitt, Keanu, Richard Gere – which is why he just knocked a baby into his 20-something new bride at 69. Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway. They’re like vampires. There’s a whole bunch of them.'”

“I’m staring at her in the mirror thinking she must’ve taken an Ambien and fallen asleep watching Death Becomes Her or something”, I tell Myrtle.

So, basically you’re blaming this on your inability to shut that crazy down after a few snips and get a sane person to cut your hair?

“Yeah. Basically.”

Great. So now I’m stuck looking at you looking like an 80s boy band refugee that found a time machine.

Tic-toc…it’s dinner time.

That’s my mean old cat. But for as ruthless as she can be, she doesn’t interrupt or talk over me. So even though the conversations can be brutal, they are at least civil.

Not every conversation is like that, either. Some are less crazy cat lady and simply catty. Like when she claws at the front door and I yell at her to shut up. She’ll casually turn her head and reply,

Meow

Then she goes back to scratching, as if daring me to get off the couch. Interesting observation – to me, anyway – she only does this if I’m on the couch. Never when I’m in the bedroom or kitchen.

Cats are weird.

Particularly mine.

Generally, when I tell Myrtle to stop scratching at the door for the second time, she’ll meow at me and the charge the couch from behind. I imagine that she’s hoping her “sneak attack” will catch me with my elbow over the edge of the armrest for her to shred.

Sorry, cat…remember that one time I had my bare feet on the armrest? I sure do.

Somewhere in between the basic meow conversations that leave me wondering what the hell Myrtle is thinking and the possibly only-in-my-head full length conversations we have, there’s a more realistic third variety. This generally involves a plaintive meow – which can tip into the “urgent meow” category, given the circumstance – and food.

Myrtle knows she gets a treat when I get out of bed to pee at night and that wet dinner is at 6 pm. That urgent meow? Yeah…she deploys that when dinner is late. Actually, she starts in with it around 5:30 just to keep me from forgetting.

But she does seem to pepper these helpful cat conversations with some snide commentary. Usually when I would get home from work and open a bottle of wine.

What’s important to know here, is that I usually give Myrtle a second treat when I get home from work. So, I would walk in the door between 4 and 6 pm and say hi to my feline frenemy before giving her a treat. Then I’d head off to change out of my work clothes and possibly shower, depending on whether the day’s heinousness was water soluble.

Redressed in my casual knock-around tee shirt and jeans, I would occasionally open a bottle of wine.

Also, occasionally I would get some sort of derivative of this nonsense from Myrt

Hey, buddy…while you’re making your wet dinner, why don’t ya just hook me up, too?

“Because it’s not dinner time yet. Also, you just had a snack.”

Meow!

“It’s not going to work. Why don’t you go outside? The balcony and front doors are both open.”

Which is why I don’t want to go out. Duh.

“Leave me alone.”

C’mon…it’ll be real easy this way!

“And have you screaming for breakfast in the middle of the night because you ate too early? No, thank you!”

Meow!

“Shut your cat face. Let me unwind a bit.”

You know what helps me unwind?

…she asks digging her claws into her cat tree menacingly.

My cat is a psychotic terror. I swear that I’m not imagining it.

Conversations With Myrtle

Comatose Xtopher

I just woke up on the couch.

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon.

Basically, all I remember from last night is texting with a bachelor from earlier this year and watching Black Panther. I started the movie around 9 with some popcorn and dinner rose.

I was being lazy, obviously, because there is half of a warm bottle of rose sitting on my coffee table, telling me I didn’t want to get up for refills. It’s also telling me that I didn’t want to drink much since there’s basically half a bottle’s worth of evidence.

So, I slept about 17 hours on the couch. Most of this was with my face in direct sunlight from the window by which my couch sits.

Whoa.

I’m lucky Myrtle didn’t start eating me when I missed giving her her breakfast kibble at 7. I do remember her meowing at me at some point during the “night” and telling her to shut her stupid cat face. I’m nice like that when I sleep.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there was a protest poop on the bathroom floor, though. But, still…she is psychotic.

Apparently, I was dead to the world. But I got a good laugh when I woke up and saw this comment about a previous blog post.

I’m trying?

Now, pardon me while I go re-rewatch Black Panther.

Comatose Xtopher