I Want To Be A Sushi Chef

I retired from my police career in the fall of 2013. Twenty-eight years had passed since I showed up for my first day at the police academy. Those years took their toll on me, physically and emotionally. I’m proud of my career, yet I’m relieved that it is over.

And so I’ve settled into a life I never envisioned. I live quietly; cooking, exercising and writing fill my days. In the evening, I share dinner and laughs with my wife. I’ve got it good.

So, why couldn’t I? (image by katorisi CCbySA3.0)

Now and again, someone will ask “if you could, would you go back to The Job?”. There are parts of my career that I miss, but the short answer is no.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have ambition.

I Dream Of Sushi

While I’ll never wear a police uniform again there is a job that I’d jump at – sushi chef.  Read the rest of this entry »


Let’s Talk About Poop

You know, back in the day, people walked their dogs just as they do now. Also, back in the day, saying “back in the day” wasn’t an idiom. I’m not here to talk about idioms. I’m here to talk about poop.

Not just any poop, your dog’s poop. Yes your dog’s. No, not everyone’s dog’s poop, just your dog’s. Read the rest of this entry »


My One Act Play About The Statue Of Liberty

Kinda in New York. Kinda in New Jersey. A proud symbol of the nation either way you look at it. (image public domain)

This week, I read quite a bit about the one-hundred-thirtieth anniversary of the Statue Of Liberty’s arrival in New York. One of the things I learned is that the statue is sort of in New York and sort of in New Jersey. Liberty Island is part of New York, but the waters surrounding the island are part of New Jersey.

As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I thought about how important the statue is to us as Americans. I considered how my relatives saw Lady Liberty as they came to the United States and what that meant to them. And I wondered why nations don’t seem to give each other cool gifts like that anymore.

But where the statue ended up…sort of in New Jersey, sort of in New York, got my imagination running on the idea of the statue being an over-the-top housewarming gift that a couple didn’t really know what to do with.

I tossed and turned. Eventually I got the idea far enough along that I could get some sleep. And this morning, I wrote a play about the statue as that outrageous housewarming present.

To paraphrase an old Army recruiting slogan – “I write more off the wall stuff before noon than most people write all day.”

Behold, my one-act play.

“The Gift”. Read the rest of this entry »


Trapped In My Own Body

Over the past few years, I’ve become healthier. I exercise and I make better food choices. My weight is down, I sleep well and I feel great. I’m going to live as close to forever as possible.

But I had a terrible experience this weekend.

My wife and I took a short road trip, but that wasn’t the terrible part. We checked in to a Bed and Breakfast and then walked in to town for dinner and drinks.

I Digress

Let me pause here to speak to those of you with the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive that inn-keeping requires.

This place would be a good Bed and Breakfast. It would be a better Soup and Snooze (image by AstaPro5 CCbySA4.0)

Bed and Breakfast isn’t a new idea. Everyone who lives in an old house in a quaint town has thought about opening an inn with this concept. Many of those who’ve thought about it followed through on the idea and have become successful. Places offering a good night’s sleep, followed by a breakfast of English muffins, hard-boiled eggs and orange juice are easy to find.

If you want to open an inn with a fresh idea, consider serving dinner instead of breakfast. Read the rest of this entry »


Wolfs Versus Wolves

I meet a lot of nice people. I’d take credit for that, but the truth is that I meet those nice people because of my wife. She is very social and a magnet for good people. I am not similarly gifted. I’m only good at speaking with people who are dangerously, criminally insane.

My gift isn’t as useful as it was before I retired. We don’t typically socialize with the criminally insane. That means that my skill set is wasted upon the non-hostage taking people we spend time with.

Meet The Wolfs Wolves These Nice People

What if these wolves last name is Wolf? (image by vargar CCbySA2.0)

So it was through my wife’s graces that we recently came to know yet another couple who are neither dangerous nor criminals. Their last name is Wolf. They’re friendly, older and we see them often at our favorite restaurants.

I’m trying to become better at talking to normal people while de-emphasizing my tendency to build rapport with angry, heavily armed folks. I’m seeing results from my efforts. I am getting a lot more comfortable in social situations. There have been times that I’ve held my own in a conversation. I’ve even introduced people to each other.

And introductions are where that nice, friendly, older couple whose last name is Wolf comes back in to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »


What Is A Rhizome?

My friends and family would tell you that I am a picky eater. There is some truth in that. But I’d contest the idea a little too. I just have a higher than average number of things I won’t eat.

But there are things that I will eat, to the surprise of everyone around me.

For instance, just the other night, my wife and I had dinner with another couple. We met at a Thai restaurant because I like Thai food. See? I’m not hard to get along with. I’m fine with different cuisines. If there are dishes without fish or mushrooms, I can find something that I’ll enjoy.

Do you think that’s free-range serpent? (image by Thomas Brown CCbySA2.0)

Our group sat, chatted and looked over the menu. The conversation turned to what everyone was having. I settled on a chicken dish with an unpronounceable name. Fortunately, it was also labeled D16 for people like me who don’t speak Thai.

I was a little concerned about my decision. Though Unpronounceable Chicken D16 didn’t have mushrooms or fish among its ingredients, it did have something called rhizomes.

“Do any of you know what a rhizome is?”, I asked my table mates, “I’m pretty sure I recall the word from fourth grade science class, but I don’t remember what it is.”

There was general agreement that we’d all experienced the word as part of vocabulary tests in our youth, but no one knew exactly what it meant. An opinion was advanced that is was somehow biological in nature. I found this last point reassuring because there was a good chance that I would be eating it.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine.

They’re Usually Good For Some Advice

“Let people eat what they want. It’s none of our business.” Clarence Darrow, 1926 (image public domain)

You know, I like attorneys. My wife is one.  So are both halves of the couple we ate with. Attorneys usually give great advice, like “don’t sign that” or “don’t say anything”. But none of the three lawyers I dined with said anything to dissuade me from ordering a dish with an ingredient we could not define. There are a lot of classes in law school about things folks should not do and how to advise them not to do those things. That education apparently does not extend to guiding others to a wise menu decision. Lawyers aren’t trained to say “don’t eat that”.

So I ordered Unpronounceable Chicken D16, rhizomes and all. We also ordered some appetizers, which gave me time to become more concerned about my order. I wondered if I’d made a mistake by being too adventurous. Where was that picky eater version of me when I needed him? How many rhizomes would there be and should I ask for an extra plate to push them off on to?

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define.

The Rise Of The Rhizomes

This is a rhizome. Not my rhizome. I wouldn’t have eaten this one. (image public domain)

So I was tense by the time our entrees arrived at the table. There, among the chicken and assorted chopped vegetables on my plate, were my rhizomes. At that moment, I learned that rhizomes are not any sort of animal.

These particular rhizomes were tiny, light-green spheres on little stalks.  There were about twenty spheres on each two-inch stalk. They put me in mind of grapes, if you had a whole stalk of those freakishly tiny grapes you sometimes find in a bunch of normal ones. I don’t know if mine were representative of all rhizomes; I’m going to assume that they were for the sake of this piece.

“So, these are my rhizomes. How do you suppose I should eat them?”, I asked. My wife said, “yeah, that’s probably them”. The other two at the table were equally helpful.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define.

Rhizomes are not animals. They grow in bunches on some sort of plant and are very much like that one tiny green grape at the bottom of the stem.

Think I’m A Picky Eater? I Know A Rhizome That Would Disagree

We all started eating and continued chatting. The company was good and so was my Unpronounceable Chicken D16. But I avoided the rhizomes. I left them alone until I felt certain that I would not be noticed, and then I cut one of the little green spheres from the stem. It fit between the tines of my fork.

And when I bit into the rhizome sphere, it crunched. It was nothing like a grape, once I got past first impressions. It was neither sweet nor juicy. There will probably never be a market for rhizome wine, or jelly. In fact the overwhelming flavor of the rhizome was…nothing. It was a tiny, crunchy bite of nothing.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define

Rhizomes are not animals. They grow in bunches on some sort of plant and are very much like that one tiny green grape at the bottom of the stem. They are just like that tiny grape in a bunch of normal grapes, if that grape is hard and flavorless. So it is not like the tiny grape, because we all know the tiny grape is one of the best of the bunch.

And so the evening ended. I gained a little knowledge about people who practice law, and even less about rhizomes. I also proved that I am not a picky eater.

I apologize to my fourth grade teacher, if she is still alive, for not knowing if a rhizome is a plant or an animal. I was paying attention. No, I was not daydreaming, I probably just forgot what you told me. For what it is worth, I’m pretty sure that sharp kid who you were so sure was going to law school doesn’t remember either.

Did you find this page while you were looking for the real definition of rhizome? Sorry to have wasted your time, but you really should have figured out that I don’t know what I’m talking about long before you got down here. Anyhow, you can find that definition here.

Welcome to all who found this post through Freshly Pressed. Thanks for coming. Have a look around. Tomorrow, a complimentary continental breakfast will be served.


This Tomato Thinks I Know What I’m Doing

Last year, I decided that I wanted to have a small vegetable garden on our patio.

I bought containers and plants, and assembled what I had into a tomato and jalapeño factory. There was no rhyme or reason to my choice of crops. I suppose I just like tomatoes and hot peppers.  If farmers chose their crops the way I do, we’d end up with a lot peppers and no Brussels sprouts. The world would be a better place

I am a farmer

I am a farmer

By the end of the summer, I declared my garden a success. My wife and I had fresh tomatoes for our salads until the first frost. The jalapeño harvest was prodigious; there’s still half of a gallon bag of spicy goodness in our freezer. But the biggest success of my garden was the enjoyment I got from it.

I tend to think that if a little of something is good, more is better. Sometimes that philosophy works, sometimes it gets me in trouble. But my plan this year is to have a bigger garden. A small garden equaled a little fun, so a big garden should equal a lot, right? Read the rest of this entry »


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