Thursday, November 19, 2015

NaBloPoMo #19: If we were having a glass of wine ....

If we were having a glass of wine .... is a new feature here on Reticulated Writer. I didn't make it up. Lots of bloggers do it. Some drink imaginary coffee, but I don't drink caffeine, so we're going to drink wine. Because I said so.

If we were having a glass of wine, I would say, "That's enough about you. Let's talk about me. Did you know I won a prize -- $25 and a trophy! -- at my neighborhood chili cook-off?"

And you would say, "But you hate spicy food. One drop of hot sauce in a swimming pool of chili would make you whine unbearably for hours. How could you win a prize at a chili cook-off?"

And I would tell you about how I didn't want to go to the chili thing, but my neighbor and president of the neighborhood and one of my co-stars in All the Sex Monologues insisted I had to. I said, "I'm not coming. I don't like chili. I don't like spicy food. That's why I didn't come last year."
He tried to look patient. "You can bring your own chili then. Whatever you like. It doesn't have to be spicy. Just eat your own."
"But I won't win if I bring my chili," I said. "If I come, I want to win."
"You never know. You might win," he said.
"I did win a chili cook-off at my church," I said. "But I think my daughter and her friends stuffed the ballot box. I don't want to come."
"OK, then, come for the beer. We'll have beer," he said.
"I don't like beer," I said. "Beer is yucky."
"You don't like beer. Fine. Bring some wine, then. You can drink wine, can't you?" He wasn't so patient now, but he was still trying, because he also wanted me to commit to raking leaves at 9:00 am the morning after I was having a party. It wasn't going to happen, because I like letting my leaves rot where they land. Also, my parties go late late late.
"OK, fine. I'll come. I'll bring my mild Iowa chili, which nobody will want to eat. But I'll come."
"Good! And you'll rake leaves too? We want our street to look nice." He's persistent.
"Sure," I said. But my fingers were crossed behind my back.

So 5 hours after my last guests left Saturday morning, I was up making a big fucking pot of chili, because I don't know how to make a small batch of chili. I also stirred up a pan of cornbread, because chili has to have cornbread. As I pulled my cornbread recipe, written in my mom's hand decades ago, out of my old recipe box, a wave of nostalgia hit me. First, because my mom had a stroke 16 years ago, and she prints with her left hand now. Her familiar handwriting is only found on historical documents, like my cornbread recipe.

But also because I remember coming home from school on afternoons when I had a basketball game and smelling the crockpot of chili my mom would have waiting for me. If I had an away game, I'd eat it fast with a piece of cornbread slathered with butter and honey, gulp down some black coffee, grab my uniform, which she'd washed for me, and head back out the door to catch the team bus. Everybody else would eat later, and then come to watch me play. My chili is pretty close to what my mom made: more like soup with tomato juice, ground beef, beans, onion, and a little chili pepper. I add a couple of secret ingredients to mine, but it's still similar.

Many years ago when I was an 18-year-old bride I asked my mom to copy some of her recipes for me, and the cornbread recipe was one of those. My grandma gave me a recipe box she wasn't using, and I started my collection with recipes from my mom and both of my grandmas. It grew with recipes from friends over the years .... until it didn't any more. These days, other than those old recipes, I keep my recipes on my computer or on Pinterest. If I need a hard copy, I print it out. If one of my kids needs a recipe, I email it. But for some old standards, like cowboy cookies, pumpkin pie, and cornbread, I get out my old recipe box.

Back to the chili cook-off. Twelve people brought entries, and most of them were spicy. I tasted 2 or 3 of them, and then filled my bowl with my own. It was delicious -- to me. Just like Mom made.

Eventually it was time to vote. Voting was done on a sheet of paper with hash marks. I cast my vote for the chili that had the most votes already. Mine, I noticed, didn't have any votes. I was probably the only one who ate any. Like I gave a fuck. I didn't even see the sheet for voting on the cornbread.

Imagine my surprise when Jason announced that cornbread #4 had won the cornbread contest! I had to run to the kitchen and make sure that was really my number. It was! $25 cash and a trophy for my mom's cornbread.

As for the chili that won, the woman who made it said she'd followed the guy who won 2 years ago outside and sat on him until he told her his secret ingredient, which was ..... are you ready for it? Velveeta. Velfuckingveeta cheese won the chili cook-off. It's not even food! Whatever though. I was happy with my little trophy and $25 cash in my hand.

I called my mom in Iowa and told her we'd won.

If we were having a glass of wine, I'd tell you I went with a friend to an audition Tuesday. She'd never auditioned before, so I went to give her moral support. I know the director, and I knew she wouldn't mind if I just watched. I wasn't auditioning myself because I thought I was much too old for the parts. Imagine my surprise when 3 of my friends and a couple of acquaintances showed up. Apparently the director was looking for older women for this play, and had sent them emails asking them to come. They talked me into auditioning too.

Now, I do love auditioning, but I felt a little silly, because I was too old for this play by at least 20 10 years. And there were lots of young -- I mean young -- women there. The friend I went with is barely over 30. But it didn't matter. Experience showed with the older actors. It was interesting to watch the difference.

I didn't get a part. I didn't expect to. But my 3 friends and 2 acquaintances did get the 5 parts .... and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I felt a tiny bit left out. Not that I imagined myself getting a role as a bride's maid, but .... it would have been fun to work with my friends.

If we were having a glass of wine, I'd say, speaking of plays, All the Sex Monologues made over $2000 for Planned Parenthood, and that's after expenses. It's not a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.5 million the fucking Ohio Senate and House just stripped from PP though. I'm proud of what we did. I'm worried sick about all the women who have lost their health care.  I'm worried sick about my vagina and all the fucking Republicans who keep poking their heads up in there like rude tourists. Women are going to have to stand up and get loud.

If we were having a glass of wine, you'd probably think I was doing all the talking. And maybe you'd offer me some chocolate, knowing I dearly love me some dark chocolate with my wine. But I'd decline because I'm on some fucking sugar fast, and I can't eat chocolate or anything good. It hasn't really been that hard, and I've given myself 3 cheat days. And Thanksgiving is coming up and that entire weekend is a cheat weekend.

I've probably reduced my daily calorie intake by about 4000 chocolate and wine calories a day this month and I've lost ..... drum roll please! Half a pound. And that's probably because I peed before I weighed myself.

It would be a lot easier to resist that bag of frozen chocolate chips if I had realized one single fucking benefit in the past almost 3 weeks. But it doesn't matter. I've been doing the research, reading the studies, and sugar has zero benefits either. Other than its addictive taste, it's nothing but bad news. Kind of like any guy I ever dated ever.

And speaking of dating .....

If we were having a glass of wine, I guarantee you the subject of dating would come up, and 
you would say, "Whatever happened to those 10 men you were going to date?" And I would say, "They don't exist." And you would say, "Oh, c'mon now. I don't want to hear that. There's someone for everyone. When you're ready the right person will be there. Because you're too fabulous to be alone for the rest of your life. You have to be open to him when he comes along though. Or she. Why don't you try to find a woman?" And you would raise your eyebrows as if to tell me you know I'm just not open enough or we wouldn't be having this conversation, because otherwise? Otherwise I would be way too busy fucking my brains out with my brand new boyfriend or girlfriend, who adores me and cooks for me and fixes my computer problems and cuddles with me on the couch while we watch Netflix, eat buttered popcorn and drink chardonnay.

My faithful friend, I love your optimism, but you're full of shit. First, because there are too many single women out there for you to still believe there's someone for everyone. And second, surely you can't believe lesbians are more plentiful than men. Seriously? And finally here's where I'm at on the topic of dating .... which doesn't mean I won't write about that shit whenever I want to because I do what I want, but you are still full of shit so full of crap.

But I do love you, and since you want me to find someone so bad, I'm going to introduce you to my imaginary boyfriend Simon soon. He's cute and funny and he adores me. You'll like him. I promise.

I'm glad we could share these glasses of wine together, but holy insomnia do you see what time it is? I've gone on and on .... But don't leave yet. What about you? What's going on in your life? Pour another glass and tell me. I've got all night to listen.

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