Monday, October 31, 2016

Night of the Living Brocco-tot

Once upon a time, in a quiet home on a quiet lane in a quiet town, something happened. Something so horrible, so terrifying, so unnatural, that even now – nearly four days later – it is referred to by shocked locals as ...

The House on Brocco-Lane.

It was a peaceful evening, like countless others in this unassuming home. The tranquility was broken only by the frenzied racing of a wild-eyed grey cat, running his nightly crazy-laps up and down the hallway with all the grace and elegance of a drunken zombie horde.

The mouth-watering aroma of cheesy chicken casserole filled the cozy home, luring the Little Prince and the King of the Castle from the dark depths of the basement, up the creaking staircase and into the kitchen. A solitary figure stood by the oven, waving a hot pad over a steaming cauldron and muttering an ancient incantation:

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Casserole's not browned, but at least it's bubbled.

It was … The Mom-ster! A toxic health-food spill in the freezer section of the local grocery mart had turned this normally mild-mannered housewife into a veggie-pushing mad chef!

“What's ... that?” the Little Prince asked cautiously, peering into the 9x12 baking dish.

“Chicken casserole,” The Mom-ster replied. “Mwaa-haa-haa!”

“What's on top of the casserole?” The Little Prince asked, suspicious of The Mom-ster's maniacal cackling and creepy hand wringing. “They look like … undercooked sausages.”

The Mom-ster hesitated a moment too long before replying.

“Yes! Yes, they are!”

“No they're not.” The Little Prince was not fooled by The Mom-ster's overzealous enthusiasm. He crossed his arms in a classic Picky Eater defensive move.

“You're right! They're …” the Mom-ster paused dramatically, waiting for the ominous music to play. Duh-duh-DUHHHH! There was no music, of course, because this was real life, not some horror movie. It was much, much more frightening than any movie could ever be. This was ... dinnertime! And those strange, grey-ish green blobs on top of the casserole? 

“They're Brocco-tots.”

The Little Prince gasped. The King of the Castle looked up from his magazine in shock. Even the cat screeched to a stop and hovered protectively over his food dish.

“Oh just eat them. They're good for you. One bite won't kill you.” Duh-duh-DUHHHH!

Before she could dish up steaming plates of chicken casserole with proportional amounts of the some-what healthy, albeit odd-looking, garnish the Mom-ster was called away to a meeting. She returned to find a decidedly dis-proportionate amount of brocco-tot leftovers.

“Curses! My attempts to foist somewhat healthy eating habits on my family have been foiled again!" the Mom-ster cried out in anguish, but not surprise.

When the brocco-scarred Little Prince related his tale to his sister The Princess, at first she reacted with mild disappointment.

“Sounds like a waste of perfectly good tater-tots. And broccoli.” She did not share his aversion to all things vegetable.

“But... but you don't understand!” The Little Prince protested. “There was no tater in these tots! Just broccoli!”

The Princess fixed The Mom-ster with an ice-cold glare.

“That's just … wrong.” The Princess said. “If she tries that again, let me know. I'll call protective services.”

They say that when the moon is full, and the wind whistles through the trees, and the weather calls out for the comfort of a home-baked casserole, if you listen carefully you can still hear the siren song of …

The Cauli-tot!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Deep(ish) Thoughts

Last summer I ran. A lot.

OK, so maybe not a lot, but quite a bit. Or at least a lot more than I have this summer.

My point it, there's a part of me that still thinks I should be able to go out there and pick up right where I left off. OK, so maybe not right where I left off, but somewhere in the neighborhood of “not dying after three minutes of running.”

It's the same part of me that thinks I can still skateboard, climb a tree or do a cartwheel.

Everyone's a critic.
The same part of me that overestimates my piano skills, or thinks that I could jam out on the ukulele.

Or thinks that I will remember how to take a screen shot on my computer or my phone, drop out the background on an image in Publisher, or remember how to insert the formula to calculate the sum of an column in Excel. Because, No. I can NOT always get the magic “sum” icon to magically plug in the “sum” formula.

That part of me that thinks I can still hop right back up after sitting on the floor, or that I can fall asleep on the couch and not wake up with a stiff neck. Or that I can eat an entire Big Mac Extra Value Meal without feeling sick, or eat pizza after 7:30 at night without getting heart burn, or drink caffeine after 3 in the afternoon without being wide awake half the night.

It's the same part that thinks I can still walk in high heels without turning my ankle. OK, so this has never happened, but there's a part of me that thinks it still might happen some day. And that part always ignores the part of me that knows I can barely walk across a flat surface in tennis shoes without tripping or turning my ankle.

And that part is closely related to the part of me that thinks that I can play disk golf without spending most of my time searching for a lost Frisbee, or without loosing a Frisbee at all.

Which has spawned a part of me that thinks that one day I'll be able to watch a political ad – for any party and any candidate – without rolling my eyes so hard I get a headache.

But what I've really learned from that part of me which is so clearly disconnected from reality is that it's good to know your limitations.

But it's even better to not let them stop you from trying.

And that's why next weekend I'll be running(ish) up and down the hills surrounding the Village of East Davenport in the Lagomarcino Cocoabeano 5K, and (hopefully) standing around afterward enjoying a cup of cocoa and a piece of Lagomarcino chocolate candy.

Because the part of me that likes chocolate is bigger than all those other parts combined.