Wednesday, May 30, 2007

why you shouldn't rob cooks, ever, especially not from your mother's Mustang

So it finally happened. I got mugged in New Orleans. By a white guy. Everyone except me is shocked that it was a white guy. I was walking home as usual, and I was about four blocks from home when I saw a gold Mustang, a new one. Now I like Mustangs, so I was looking. Well, it got to the corner I was at and made a u-turn, slowly. I was wondering why it turned so slowly. Then it turned into the McDonalds parking lot and I thought "Mustangs shoudln't be allowed to go to McDonald's; they're too pretty to have such low-clas food." Now it was almost midnight but this McDonald's has a 24-hour drive-thru. So I got up to the parking lot and noticed that they had parked, not gone to the drive-thru. A guy got out of the passenger side and approached me. He looked sketchy, but he looked like a punk kid. Weel, I'm getting bored telling this story already, so I'll skip to the good part. He was a punk kid. He had a gun. He got $6 from me, but I refused to give up my wallet or my bag. I need that stuff, he doesn't and it became quickly clear that he wasn't tough enough to take it from me. Well, he's looking around, deciding that this is not a good place to keep arguing, takes the $6 and heads back to the car. Well, I'm looking at the license plate. Yeah, you have a license plate, dipshit. He's looking at me with one leg in the car, like, oh shit, I have a license plate. What do we do now? And I'm thinking that now there's a man with a gun who knows I have his license plate number. And I'm on foot and he's in a car. Maybe let's get off the street and not lead him to my home. Quickly. So I walk up to the drive-thru window and tell the lady, I've just been mugged in your parking lot, can I use your phone to call the police.? After some discussion, they let me in and we call the police. The police come and pick on me for 1) walking three miles home, 2) arguing with a man with a gun (even though I tried to explain that I have to get on a plane Saturday and how would I replace my ID by then?) 3) that he probably stole the car or switched license plates. I tell them, I don't know about that, I've seen some dumb drug addicts in my life. Turns out I was right. The car is registered to an "older female" in Kenner. Probably his mommy. Odds are that they'll catch him and I'll prosecute.
Even if it wasn't a real gun, or it wasn't loaded, which I suspect, (but wasn't willing to challenge - I may be stubborn, but I'm not suicidal) it's still armed robbery. Even though he only got $6, it's still armed robbery. And both the driver and the passenger are guilty of a major felony.
Don't rob cooks. We're underpaid, observant, cool under pressure and surly. We don't have enough money, we don't, so don't bother. Most of us are carrying at least one knife, and it's sharp. We are calm cool and collected when 6 people are screaming, 6 fires are flaring and we're working in 120 degree conditions doing 6 things at a time! Which means we'll be collected enough to notice your hair, clothing, and LICENSE PLATE. And we're just not nice! Other people would hand over the bag, we get an attitude. Not worth the trouble...
But all this leaves me... dissapointed and confused. I knew it happened, I just like to think I'm invincible. Or somehow smarter. But how could I have avoided it, walking down that street? I don't know how. I'm dissapointed in the city, in the people for being surprised it was a white guy, in the police for not dispatching the plate number immediately, in McDonald's for chastising the kind manager who let me in to call the police, in everything. And I'm confused... what do I do now? Do I stop walking home? That would be really sad. I've been walking the streets at night since I was 11 and this is the first time anyone's pulled a gun since I was 13. Shoulda seen me then... way more attitude. Only guns I've even seen since then we're attached to police, military or security guards. I liked it that way. I don't want to stop walking, but I'll lay off it for this week. Think about my options. I'm not a hider. That's not me. I'm a confrontational bitch. Some one has to be.
That's all for today. Have to go to work. Be safe out there. No. Don't be safe. Be mean. If some shit head messes with you, let him wake up handcuffed to a hospital bed. If he wakes up. We shouldn't have to hide.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A side note... and a depressing one at that

I just sent the saddest e-mail I've written all year. Sadder than losing Wilson's bakery, sadder than pet food recalls, sadder by far. I sent an e-mail to Ken Estep. The father of Adam Estep. The reason I spent two months crying a few years ago, and still find myself crying some days. The one tragedy I still pray everyday I wake up that it didn't really happen. The best man I ever knew in my life, the perfect ideal, and the only friend I ever kept no matter how many times I moved in my childhood died in Iraq. I hate Bush. I hope he dies. Secret Service, if you're listening, go ahead, bring that asshole around me and see how fast I produce a sharp object, or a dull one for that matter, and gut him like a fish. I know, I know, more people to blame than just Bush. Bush didn't make Adam sign up. No matter how hard I try, I can't fault Adam. I still see that face in my head and all I can do is love him. Ken and Carrie have a giant portrait of Adam in the entryway. If I was them, I couldn't stand it. To this day the sight of his face is devastating. I'm going to visit them next weekend while I'm in town, bring a cake or something, they like strawberrry cakes. And ask them for a copy of one particular drawing Adam did. One that I want tattooed with the fitting caption stolen from Skid Row "I Remember You".
I still wish it hadn't happened... that I could've prevented it somehow. But I can't. He deserves at least a tattoo. And this year, I'm getting it. I've let it wait for too long. Like all of us chronic-depressive-masochistic-cutters, I need the pain on the inside to show on the outside.

My yarn! Not yours, yours is over there! These are mine! Go play with your own...

Okay, so it took me a day... the computer's slow. And it has an uncomfortable interface for downloading photos from my camera. But, here they are, direct from me to you, because I can't seem to make this thing Actually Display the pictures like I want..Knitting Photos!!
Notes: The basketweave purse, I've decided, will become a purse/hat because it turns out to make a great hat like it is. All I have to do is cover the knots so that it's reversible, attach some very small buttons for straps, knit the straps and VOILA! all one has to do is remove the straps from their handy buttons, put it one's head, fold a cuff to conceal the buttons and they have a convenient hat. Alternate place to store the stuff you had in the purse is not available however.
You cannot see the cable pattern on the cat sweater in this picture, but it is there, I swear. It is a nifty sentimental little cable pattern called Hugs and Kisses. Oh, and the sweater is not for poor Gibson, as pictured, he was just the only cat mellow enough to model it. And I'm very glad he did, else I would not have known that it needed a collar... in earlier versions it became a kitty tube top. The sweater is actually for my sister's cat Jack. When I offered to make a catbed for her cats, as I've made them for mine and Mom's, she turned me down and asked for a sweater instead.
The slippers just fucking rock. I'm making a pair for my son and taking them when I go to see him this weekend (YIPPEE!!!). This pattern is from Michael's and they have cats and dogs and I think even rabbits, which I conveniently ammended to tigers because I had two skeins and only two skeins of tiger looking chenille my mother gave me. Why she gave me tiger looking chenille I have no idea.
The star pattern will become a lap blanket for charity. I don't think I have the stitch quite as the pattern intended, but I like it. MAybe you can see it, maybe you can't, but the blue is kind of purply and glittery. The pattern is for a "treasure pillow" but that's pretty fricking useless, isn't it? So I started knitting it and I kept thinking of snowglobes and little old men in wheelchairs wearing hospital gowns and how cold and exposed they must feel. Don't ask me why, I can't explain it. So I've decided to make it into a lap blanket.. just something small to cover from where the hospital gown ends to where it's possible to look up the hospital gown from a chair across the room. A little modesty and warmth but not something that will interfere with wheelchair wheels. I know, where did I come up with this? I don't know. But it is a nice pattern.

Next, I'm working on a lace scarf, which will be in the next round of pictures. That's for my 87-year old grandma in Southern California. She doesn't need a scarf there, which is why it's lace. It's not really for warmth, just to do something nice for grandma. Then I've got another scarf planned for the other 87-year old woman in the family. And the alpaca sweater I will never finish because it's on really thin yarn and really small needles and I just don't think I have it in me. And I found this pattern which is cute and simple, right? And good for my friend's kids, but as I started thinking about what to knit it in and who to knit it for, I looked around and spotted this teal fake mohair that's completely washable.... and remembered I have a pile of blue and purple eyelash in the cubby for some monster slippers....Do you see where this is going? I only have 4 balls of the teal mohair and it's from my dead grandmother's stash, likely before I was born...can't get more. But for a small child... THE ULTIMATE COOKIE MONSTER SWEATER!!! All I have to do now is knit it and convince someone to put it on their child. That's the part I think will be hard. I'll start work on it now... the convincing part, not the knitting. I need to finish some other stuff and who needs a hoodie in June?? According to my calculations, I have just enough yarn to make it for Karissa's kid. Provided her staunchly Catholic mexican husband does not veto making their daughter look like the cookie monster. Either that or someone else is going to have to have a kid. And then I want to figure out how to do that row of spikes like for alligators or dinosaurs... I think it's easy, but all the patterns I can find want money and we all know I don't have any. That's the plan. Also, find some small projects for charity. Mind you, this is not a short-term plan... this is a probably rest of the year plan...
Excuse me, my cell is beeping angrily and my laundry will not wash itself...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cakes And Airport Security

Many of you many be happy to find out that it is in fact possible to bring a cake on an airplane. And they won't even cut it. Isn't that awesome? This is according to the TSA's 800 number. Yes, that's what your tax dollars paid for... a young woman named Frederica and a recording device, probably in a bunker somewhere, will answer my call at midnight and tell me that yes, cakes are permitted in carry-on luggage, and no, they won't cut into it.
You may be wondering what brought about my need to bring a cake on an airplane. It was a great and terrible tragedy. Wilson's Bakery, the best bakery ever, shut down. After nearly 80 years in business, the doors are closed for good. I, living in New Orleans, not Santa Clara, where Wilson's only outpost once stood, did not know this and therefore promised my son the best cupcakes in the world, eg. Wilson's cupcakes.
You see, Wilson's makes (made) these amazing chocolate cupcakes... they had a buttercream bear on top. An entire teddy bear made out of chocolate buttercream frosting, dwarfing even the size of the cupcake, dipped in chocolate and decorated with toes and a face to look like a bear. I've never seen them anywhere else, nothing even remotely like them, and I loved them. I wanted six of them for my son's birthday. I had it all planned out.... I'm going to his hockey game Sunday morning, and Wilson's is closed on Sunday, but Heather was going to pick them up on Saturday and I would pay with a credit card over the phone if they let me or pay Heather when I saw her Saturday night. Either way, I would have the prized cupcakes and be able to present them to that shining 7-year old face that I love so much! The best cupcakes ever!!
But, alas, it is not to be. There is no longer a magical place that makes magical cupcakes. Where will people go to get cookies just like their Grandmother made long after Grandmother is dead? Where?? They will have to find somewhere else. No more six display counter room full of every treat imaginable. No more amazing cakes. They did my high school graduation cake, you know. It was awesome. We ate that cake with every manner of booze imaginable for a solid week.
Getting to the point, neither I nor any of my friends can think of another good bakery for kid stuff. There's Bijan, and we're calling them, but they are very expensive and very adult. No one's ever seen them do kid stuff. I don't want a Safeway cupcake. My son deserves better. No shoddy dashedoff box mixes for the son of a worldclass baker. No, sir. Unless Bijan will consent to be cheery and childlike... fine dining is lost on 7year olds.... I will have to make it myself, pack extra icing for repairs in my checked luggage and take my teal Tupperware Cake Carrier across the country. I've done it before. Once. I lived in Seattle and it was another trip back home to see my son, but it was also my friend Dani's birthday. I worked for a baker who had a secret recipe Tequila Sunrise cake. I had to have one for Dani. So I bought the cake (with my handy employee discount), stuck it in a cake carrier and enjoyed 1000 miles of bad jokes from everyone from airport security, other passengers, cab driver and bus drivers until I caught up with Dani. We sat in front of a Starbucks with plastic forks and took hunks out of that wonderful cake.
But I was concerned that with new airport security regulations, cakes would be prohibited. Perhaps my icing is explosive... They would not take me at my word that I am a professional and stake my reputation on my food and would NEVER tamper with it. Not to mention that This cake is for my son. I have one son and I love him so much I only see him once a year. It's like looking directly at the sun. His adoptive parents have tons more money and free time than me and can buy him anything money will buy. I have the love in my heart and these two hands. Fortunately, I manage to make these two hands work hard enough to buy the plane ticket and when I lived in the area, and sometimes when I didn't, I would bring him extravagant treats that money can't buy because no one makes them.
One year it was six modeled chocolate animals...that took 20 hours with chocolate and corn syrup and lots of tools. But I did it and I brought them from Portland to San Jose just for him. One year it was a 20lb. cake shaped like a castle that said "Happy Birthday Christopher" on the tower. That took 4 days of every spare moment I had. The restaurant we had dinner at was in shock. They'd never seen such a thing. Nor had they ever lifted such a cake. And for 5 people! And it seems that this year I may have to recreate those moments with another amazing feat. And thankfully, the TSA will allow my cake to travel, unmolested by hungry security agents masquerading as a diligent counter-terror force. Thank you, TSA, because no one bakes for my son like I do.

your other thought for the day: My family appears never to have met me. Strangers on the street have a better idea of what to send me as presents than my own relatives. Hippy jewelry, trendy supergirly accesories... what are they thinking?? My sister once told me that she thought I was "kind of" a hippie. I will never forgive her for that. She couldn't even justify it.
Apparently, it had something to do with my views on community involvement and thrift stores. Oh, and that I'm pagan. I don't smoke pot and I don't believe in peace, love and sitting on your ass waiting for change. I also can't stand the smell of patchouli. Ick.

Today is Saturday. or, it was Saturday. YIPPEE!!! One more week!!! I go back home in one more week!! Can you tell I'm excited?? Perhaps tomorrow I'll tell someone that this blog exists. Maybe not. Maybe I'll keep it to myself. Then I can talk about anyone without worrying about what they think. No white lies for charity.

Oh yeah, and if you use Opera, you can't type these messages in the "Compose" section or they will fail to wrap...they will be never-ending text. You have to type them in the "Edit HTML" section and they'll wrap just fine.

Good night, and good riddance.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Raison d'etre

The reason I created this was simple... I had a crazy thought, or fact, or happening every single day for the last month and I simply didn't get a chance to call all of my friends and tell them about it all the time. Now, I shall share them with you. Perhaps you too can finish each day shaking your head in wonder that the world is such an odd place. Or, perhaps now that I've decided to document them, they will simply stop happening. I'm not sure. Either way I'll find something to say because well, I'm a chatterbox and life with me is never boring.
Crazy story #1: I called my mother to tell her about my attempts to locate the suck-ass piece of dirt who used to be my landlord and still owes me $800 and she shared with me a little gem of family history that goes something like this: In the years directly proceeding my birth, my mother's mother married an abusive alcoholic in Las Vegas. We can all see where this is going, right? Or can we?? So, Grandma finally decides to leave said loser and moves in with my "parents" in Napa. She is terrified that her lunatic husband will come after her and one night tells my mother that during one of his drunken outbursts her husband, (I don't know his name, Grandma had 5 husbands and I only know two names and it wasn't them), tells her that he is in fact a fugutive Nazi war criminal and that his name and his ID are both fakes. He does not reveal his crimes or his original name, and my mother doubts this story because, in her words, he seems too young. But, she sends Grandma off to Aunt Ruth's house in Idaho for a "vacation" and she calls INS thinking she can at least locate said poo-head and get him in some interrogation room. There is a cloak-and-dageer story that follows involving the INS man showing up at Mom's door with a fake package and a delivery truck...She gives him all the information she has, and lo and behold, he IS a fugitive Nazi war criminal and more pressingly, also wanted for armed robbery in "another state, I don't remember, Idaho or something". They "help" Grandma get a divorce and six months later, said nutjob is located and sent to trial. BIG Trouble.
What is the relevance of this story, crazy though it may be? That makes two Grandmothers who married Nazis. Two completely unrelated women who both married members of the crazies political movement I can think of. And people wonder why I'm afraid to marry. Historically, no one in my family can find even an acceptable mate. There are safes full of Valium and shotgun shells, there are secret desires to become a transexual lesbian, there are alcoholic, abusive lowlifes, and just plain old lunatics.... When I attract lunatics and Marines like flies to rotting meat, they wonder why I don't want to settle down...
In other news:
I'm halfway through a lace scarf in a beautiful green leaf pattern. Or it would be a beautiful pattern if I didn't keep f***ing it up. Also halfway through a charity lap blanket in a great blue and white star pattern that I have deemed "Snowglobe" because I spend as much time staring at it as I do knitting it. And discovered a great pattern for kid's animal slippers that, when knit in this yarn at least, stretched to fit my giant feet! working on 8 mixed coasters for a coaster swap on the awesomest place to go if you're a mail addict.
Next weekend is my vacation. I can't wait. Four days and three nights at HOME in San Jose. I don't know how I'll get to half of what I want to do, but I'll sure try. I've got a little boy's hockey game to go to and that takes first priority! Pictures to come soon. More pictures than you want.