old yelper

I’m thinking about creating a Yelp account for my 91 year-old dad.

oldyelper prepares to review the persimmon trees. Those poor persimmons don't stand a chance.

oldyelper prepares to review the persimmon trees. Those poor persimmons don’t stand a chance.

His reviews will be concise, yet murky:

“Not bad.”
 Translation: meh.
“The meat is soft.” What he’s trying to say: Tender! And I don’t have to chew that much.
“I don’t know.” His answer to the questions: “What does it taste like?” and “What’s in it?”

He often uses the word whatchgall when he can’t think of the name of something. Here it is used in a sentence: “What’s the name of the restaurant where we had the whatchgall?”

It’s great fun, almost like playing a game, trying to guess the answer:

me: “Seafood Palace?”
oldyelper: “No!” (looks at me like I’m crazy)
me: “Great Grannie’s Goulash Garden?”
oldyelper: “That’s not it!” (more crazy looks in my direction)

Readers can look forward to going to that unnamed restaurant and asking the wait staff for the whatchgall that oldyelper ordered the other night.

Ermmm…I’m beginning to have second thoughts about this. I am thinking about the content of his potential reviews. I love food so much that a real-life comment like this pains me: “I won’t be eating those tacos again. I like it when it has a little cheese, lettuce and tomato – like at Taco Bell.”

This broke my heart a little because my dad was talking about a hard shell taco with “American” cheese, iceberg lettuce and flavorless tomatoes. You can’t teach an elderly dad many new tricks. Believe me, I’ve tried when it comes to Mexican food. I wanted to convert him to the deliciousness of carnitas and *lengua and mole, and different styles based on different regions. Expand his palate. I thought at the very least that I could get him to use the word salsa instead of “sauce” and “dip”.

We must have tried at least a dozen different Mexican restaurants (including bastardized versions), but oldyelper was never impressed. One night I decided to make the tacos my mom used to make when my brother and I were younger; the only kind of tacos to which my dad could relate: store bought hard shells, McCormick taco seasoning, ground beef, shredded Romaine (don’t tell him it wasn’t Iceberg) and homegrown tomatoes.

this is old school seasoning, yo.

this is old school seasoning, yo.

As I was sprinkling the seasoning on the meat, my mainly Japanese-speaking mom said, “Smells taco.” Yup. Smells taco. Just like she remembered.

That night, oldyelper gave me this review: “Good!” And then he helped himself to another taco.

It eased some of the pain. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good review.

*I gave my dad a lengua burrito once and told him it was beef. It wasn’t a complete lie. What?? Like you’ve never lied to someone about something that’s for their own good??


the ‘S’ word

Selfie. An Ingmar Bergman Production.

An Ingmar Bergman Production.

I’ve been participating in a photo sharing group called August Break 2014, moderated by Susannah Conway. We are receiving daily prompts for the whole month and it’s been fun taking photos, being creative, sharing them.

And then came the Selfie.

I don’t publicly display many selfies. They simply never turn out that well. I’ve only really tried to take a good one for: (1) Match.com (I no longer have an account, so don’t try to find me and trick me into flying you in from some distant country); and (2) my avatar.

It’s supposed to be a good idea to use the same image, preferably your own face, across all social media and other sites in order to be identified as the same person. I don’t know what’s wrong with being identified as different things, like a typewriter, a pigeon, a pizza. For the longest time I was a pair of running shoes. At some point I might have been a piece of pie, too. I like pie.

My wingspan is not that lengthy, so most selfies that I’ve taken are way too close for comfort. I honestly don’t want to see my own chin hairs that closely. Too vulnerable a thing to share with the general public.

For the photo prompt, I decided to use my camera’s self-timer so that I could be a safe distance away. It’s gosh darn difficult to balance a camera on some rocks and then walk on said rocks. Whose idea was this?? On top of that, I had to squint menacingly in a sweet way. It’s my signature look.

I had ten seconds to get into place, but sometimes I didn’t know where the place was or I counted too slowly:

If you're wondering why I'm not dressed in some beautiful beachy-type outfit, it's because I had the brilliant idea of taking my photo right after a run. Everyone knows how good a person looks after a long run.

I like how some people are so comfortable with their selfies. I mean, so many of them are taken in bathrooms where a lot of intimate, personal stuff happens. But I sense their shyness, too, what with the sunglasses, fuzzy focus, and toned abs. I wonder what their outtakes are like. There are so many things I wish would not enter my mind.

For a retired ninja, it’s a big deal to put my face on the Internet. I hid one recently on my About page !shameless plug! since no one really goes to it. But it’s a year old and unlike the photos in this post, I prefer to look freshly showered for my avatar, depicting the mature, adult-ish girlwoman that I am. Besides, I got new glasses.

A friend recently took a photo of me in some very good light. I see how important light can be. Nice light…goooood light. So it’s now my avatar. Don’t zoom in on it, for goodness’ sake. The chin hairs, remember?

It’s another small step in being seen.

If you’re trying to build a dream, you gotta show up for it, right?

retired ninja


image courtesy of chris spooner (http://blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/illustrator-tutorial-create-a-gang-of-vector-ninjas)

Image courtesy of blog.spoongraphics 

“You’re a ninja!!”

Apparently, this was the only logical explanation for how I came to be standing next to him without him knowing it.


According to Wikipedia, ninjas were covert agents or mercenaries in feudal Japan. Their special talents included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination. In a quote attributed to historian Kiyoshi Watatani, he states that ninjas were trained so that an opponent “does not know of one’s existence, and for which there was special training.”

Curious for more information, I also checked with MommaPedia and this was her ninja checklist:

– black clothing
– only out at night
– stays in the shadows of darkness
– individualized, special skills
– jumps high, runs fast

Oh…then I was raised to be a ninja, except for the jumping and running fast bit.

I could also be a vampire.

I was trained in these skills: not to cause waves, not to stand out, not to think too highly of myself, and not to burden other people with – well, anything. I took my training to heart. I became very good at being…unnoticeable. And I really believed I could make myself invisible.

People have walked over and stood right in front of me while I’ve been waiting in line. “I didn’t see you!!” is a common exclamation. One time, someone placed themselves directly behind me while I was facing the cashier and paying for my groceries. You don’t have to stand five feet away from me, but I don’t want you spooning me in public, either.

Pet peeve, Reader. Reader, pet peeve.

The reality is, I’m often in peoples’ blind spots – I guess even when I’m in front of them. I’m 4’ 11”. Kids, you know what I’m talking about. When I wear heels and stand at the top of a ladder, the view is incredible.

the view from up here

I can see peoples’ bald spots. People can’t see mine. Everyone looks really different from this majestic angle. Then it occurs to me that maybe being short gives others my best angle. hm.


“I don’t want to be a ninja.” I had harumphed at him, thus dashing all of his dreams of having a ninja as a girlfriend. “I’m tired of not being seen.”

And there it was. I hung up my ninja duds and soon after that, the boy was the one who became invisible.

For many years, I had been trying to erase myself, yet I longed to be significant. How in the world was I supposed to be seen if I was trained to please others? Deprogramming. Constant Retraining. Those learned pathways are deeply ingrained.

But I know this: If it’s possible to feel invisible from the inside out, then it’s possible to release that light inside you, too. It’s there, chomping at the bit to get out. And if you’re worried about being a show-off like me, there really is nothing to worry about because if you’re worried about it, you most likely won’t let yourself take a nude selfie and tweet it to the world.

As Marianne Williamson wrote:

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

And I never thought I would quote Jim Carrey, but here is some profoundness coming from him:

Like many of you, I was concerned about going out into the world and doing something bigger than myself, until someone smarter than myself made me realize that there is nothing bigger than myself.

And there it is. Go out there and do Big things, y’all.


The List

Every so often, I come up with a list of characteristics that are important to me in a future relationship. These lists are often influenced by the previous guy I’ve been with or after I’ve witnessed some random man behavior. Once I make a list, I let it go. I don’t know the specific science behind it; I think it travels out into the universe and weaves its way into the space-time continuum. Yeah. That sounds right.

I made my very first list a few years ago after my long-term relationship ended. It was a hefty list. It weighed a ton. My last list, which was relatively straight-forward and short, described PYP to a tee. I didn’t realize it until I revisited that particular one. It’s a good example of a list coming to life and a reminder that even when a list is fulfilled, it doesn’t mean I will be.

As of today it’s been simplified:

A grown-ass man who is kind, loving and funny.

Needless to say, chemistry is very important. I can’t explain the science behind this, either – something about pheromones and juju – so I am providing examples and reasons having nothing to do with their looks (I’m forced to do this on my blog because Amazon.com doesn’t allow for a wish list for human beings. Seriously? It’s 2014!!):

Lenny Kravitz (sexy, musical)

Lenny Kravitz (sexy, musical)

Jim Halpert (sweet, funny)

Jim Halpert (sweet, funny)

John Krasinski (funny, sweet)

John Krasinski (funny, sweet)

Ryan Gosling (down-to-earth, funny. unfortunately, incredibly ugly. turns my stomach)

Ryan Gosling (down-to-earth, dry sense of humor. unfortunately, incredibly ugly. turns my stomach.)

Chris Cosentino, Executive Chef at Incanto (quirky, passionate culinarian - it's a word)

Chris Cosentino, Executive Chef at Incanto (quirky, passionate culinarian)

Hugh Jackman (gentleman, family man)

Hugh Jackman (gentleman, family man. needs to take more care of his body, though. just my two cents.)

Javier Bardem (charming, Spanish good 'ole boy. Despite his many intense, creepy acting roles, he is hilarious)

Javier Bardem (charming, Spanish good ‘ole boy. despite his many intense, creepy acting roles, he is hilarious on talk shows.)

Jimmy Fallon (plays in the moment)

Jimmy Fallon (plays in the moment)

There. It’s out in the universe now. Fly, list, fly…where and when you land is anybody’s guess. I have to move along now. There is much to train for in 2014…

Dr. Funk and the Head Spinners

A skunk’s funk lingers when it sprays its junk. It takes a while for the air to clear. I use this as a metaphor for the stank that lingers around me.

I told myself I was fine, but I’m not. Not completely. I didn’t even feel like doing any online shopping after Thanksgiving. Pretty shoes at 50% off? Blah. Who the bleep cares.

I don’t know how long it will take for me to clear myself of the stink. But I know I have to do something to neutralize it, not just let it keep stinking me up. I might get used to it and then where would that leave me? A person who knows how she smells and does nothing about it because she’s in too much of a funk to care.

Yes, this is how my brain spirals and forms its thoughts.

Speaking of my brain, a few years ago I went to see a neurologist for an issue I was having. Fortunately there was nothing (physically) wrong with my brain matter. However, I was slightly insulted to see “unremarkable” used several times in my test results. I brought this up with Dr. Ron, who simply laughed as if I were joking around. He also tapped my spine like a Canadian tree and the fluid was clear, which meant it was fine. If syrup had come out, that would have been problematic, as you can imagine. Wait – you’re thinking about pancakes right now, aren’t you. Ah, go ahead. Do it up. Waffles, french toast…have you ever been to an IHOP after a late night out with friends? I never order any of that stuff when I go out for breakfast, but for some reason, it’s freakin’ delicious after midnight.

Back to Dr. Ron the Neurologist. He was young and funny, and during my last appointment he scribbled down a prescription on his medical pad, ripped it off and handed it to me.

His prescription? Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

I wish I had kept that slip of paper to prove that’s what he wrote. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it. I admit that I didn’t fill the prescription at the time, but I’m finally going to heed his medical advice now (with a few more videos I picked out):

The Evolution of Dad Dancing

The Chickeneers Sing “Ho Hey”

Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell Announce the Nominees for Best Actress at the 2013 Golden Globes

I so needed that.

Stink temporarily neutralized.