I’ve been chronically unfunny lately. I don’t mean just here, in the virtual world, but also in real life. It’s as if I’ve lost my sense of humor.

I used to write about swearing in front of my nephews, and the bizarre encounters I have on my walks to the library, and the stupid things I do in front of my customers, but I rarely do that anymore. Has all the color drained from my life? Have I become completely grey?

Why, no! (Though I am tired a lot. )

What happened to my sense of humor? Where did it go? When did I stop laughing at things? When did I stop observing all the amusing things in every day life?

Funny things happen to me all the time. I’ll try to write about them more often.

For example:

Did I mention that on the last night the Mirons spent in our home, Joel and I walked to Safeway to buy ingredients for dinner? Well, we did. But because I’m on a self-imposed budget, I had only the $14 in my pocket to spend, and I refused to spend more. This forced us to slink around the store searching for Great Deals.

Kris wanted tomatoes, a vegetable (or fruit, if you want to get technical about the whole thing) about which I know very little. I certainly can’t tell a good tomato from a bad tomato, unless the bad tomato is Very Very Bad. So I put Joel in charge. He sniffed them first, looking for those with the most tomatoey smell. I know this method works well for pineapple and watermelon, so it made sense that it also worked for tomatoes. Considering our financial restraints, he very carefully weighed out three or four Roma tomatoes for use in our American tacos.

(Kris loves American tacos, the only dish she remembers fondly from childhood. (She loves her mother, but she did not love her cooking.) What are American tacos? In Kris’ world, American tacos require those gnarly U-shaped crispy shells, lettuce, tomatoes, ground beef, cheddar cheese, and — the coup de graceketchup. No, salsa will not do. Nor will tomato sauce. For Kris to be content with her tacos, she must have ketchup. And she says I have food problems…)

So, Joel gathered the tomatoes, I grabbed some strawberries, and we headed for the juice. Joel chose some miscellaneous juice, but I pointed out that the Safeway-brand cranberry juices were on sale: buy-one-get-one-free and the first one was only $3. What a Great Deal! We picked up a couple more items (gnarly U-shaped crispy shells and real tortillas), then headed to the register. My total was only about $13. I had a dollar bill left over after all that shopping.

Walking home, we passed two teenage girls loitering on the sidewalk. One of girls, clad in a tight blue tube top, smiled at us and held out some cash. While it would have been flattering to believe she were propositioning us — and we may not have declined — she actually wanted us to participate in a different sort of illegal activity. “If I give you some money, will you buy us some cigarettes?” she asked.

Joel began to speak, but I was quicker: “Nah, we’ve got to get home to make tacos for dinner.” Joel stifled a snicker, and we walked on. (I never did ask him what caused the stifled snicker — which sounded sort of like a pig-snort — though I can imagine any number of possible sources of amusement in the situation.)

At home, Kris was disappointed in our shopping skills. “These tomatoes suck,” she said. “They’re not ripe. They’re way too firm.”

I adopted the only possible defense. “I don’t know anything about tomatoes;Joel picked them out,” I said piously. “He even sniffed them!”

“Well, I guess I can salvage one,” she said.

“What does it matter?” I asked. “You’re just going to smother your taco in ketchup.” Kris glared at me, and I left the kitchen.

We had a grand meal of American tacos, but nobody drank the bargain cranberry juice which had been such a Great Deal.

The next day, Kris and I walked to the bank. On our way, I was telling her about the teenage girl in the blue tube top that had offered us money for cigarettes. “Is that her?” she asked, pointing up the street to a teenage girl in a blue tube top down. It was! It was the same girl, and she was still wearing the blue tube top. She must love that thing. She must also have found somebody to buy her cigarettes, because she and her friend were smoking. Oh so cool.

Meanwhile, I still had the dollar bill in my wallet.

In fact, that dollar bill stayed in my wallet, unspent, until this afternoon. (It was finally put to rest in order to procure a Costco weenie for my dining pleasure.) I’d like to be able to claim that this is evidence of my parsimony, but that would be, well, untrue.

It is true that I’ve been quite frugal with my personal money, and have, in fact, spent almost nothing since that grocery trip a week ago; however, I’ve been spending Computer Resources money like it’s going out of style: a digital camera here, new software there, and heck! let’s get a book or two while we’re at it!

But I’ve got two unopened bottles of cranberry juice in my fridge. They were a Great Deal.


On 15 March 2005 (03:14 PM),
Jethro said:

American tacos with ketchup on them aren’t even tacos anymore — Crispy Corn Shelled Hamburgers would be a more appropriate name.

Now, take some fresh homemade tortillas, some carne asada, maybe a little cabbage and cilantro, a few shakes of Tapatio and couple slices of chile peppers and you’ve got a real taco! I think I hear Luis’ Taqueria calling my name…

PS- If you must have American tacos, you could at least make the Cooks Illustrated version — they really aren’t any more authentic than any other hard-shelled tacos, but oh are they tasty.

On 15 March 2005 (06:06 PM),
mac said:

what software did you buy? Photoshop CS? or maybe version 7.0? Or something else?

On 16 March 2005 (08:09 AM),
J.D. said:

Look! A bonus mini-weblog entry:

Tonight for dinner I had a Banquet Salisbury Steak Meal. This frozen food was once called a TV dinner, but now it’s simply a meal. Why the distinction?

Growing up, I thought TV dinners were a treat, the pinnacle of food science. They came in foil trays with foil lining. They baked in the oven for nearly an hour, and when they were finished one had a delicious meal of fried chicken, turkey loaf, or, my favorite, salisbury steak. When we had a baby-sitter, we always hoped we’d have TV dinners for supper.

Time has passed, as it will do, and now these TV dinners come in plastic trays with a thing film of plastic lining. They’re nuked in the microwave for just five or six minutes before they’re ready to eat. Ostensibly, the varieties available are the same as they ever were, but it seems to me corners are being cut somewhere.

Tonight, my little section of corn had maybe eighty rubbery kernels (probably reject from chicken feed). My “mashed potatoes” were a watery, reconstituted mush, similar to the paste the tards used to eat in grade school. And the salisbury steak? Well, calling this mystery meat a “steak” is a wonderful leap of the imagination.

Still, I ate the sad little “meal” with great relish. (Only 340 calories!) Sadder still, when I had finished, I put my face to the plastic tray and I licked up every last remnant of the fatty, salty “gravy”.

I have no shame.

“I’m a half pound off my dietary goals,” I told Kris this morning. I weigh 194-1/2 when I want to weight 194.

“It’s probably because of all the marshmallows you’ve been eating,” she said. She’s probably right.

I’ve been steering clear of candies and cake cookies, which is good. However, I’ve replaced these evil foods with marshmallows. I love marshmallows. Kris bought a bag of jumbo marshmallows when Joel and Aimee arrived, but it’s gone now. Last night I was so that I cracked into the miniature marshmallows. They’re not nearly as good.

On 16 March 2005 (08:17 AM),
Tammy said:

I was raised on the crunchy shells too. I never remember having the soft tortillas growing up. Greg and I have hit on a favorite that I learned from Dave Stegmeir, the teacher there in the Canby schools. (my pastor at the time) I used to hang out at his house all the time. In fact all of the teens hung out there. Millie would make us fried corn tortillas with all the fixins. That one summer we ate more corn tortillas than I ever ate in my entire previous life- which was none! Dave stretched long tables out under the trees and people came and went and ate all evening all summer long!

For some reason I’ve always preferred the white flour tortillas until a few months ago when I recalled thsoe fried corn ones! Now my family is as hooked on them as I am.

On 16 March 2005 (09:13 AM),
Joel said:

Kris was very correct about those tomatoes being miserable. One was so under-ripe it was bright white in the middle! Anyone read the young-adult book “Bunnicula”? It’s about a vampire rabbit that would suck the essence out of vegetables (hilarious). It was like Bunnicula had attacke the Safeway produce.

On 16 March 2005 (09:32 AM),
Rich R said:

“As training, tonight I’ll go through the Netflix queue and add a half dozen Very Funny movies.”

Uhhh…is that even possible???

On 16 March 2005 (09:38 AM),
J.D. said:

No, Rich. No, it’s not.

Somewhere I have a copy of Spinal Tap, but I’ve lost it. Or somebody borrowed it and never returned it. I wonder where it is. Anyone? Anyone?

The following is quote from the comments section of Denise’s weblog:

Kris and I watched Pretty in Pink on TV last night, the first time I’ve seen it in nearly twenty years. (For all I know, I once saw it with Denise. It wouldn’t surprise me.)

It was better than I had remembered, and worse than Kris had remembered. Duckie was pretty lame, but I still totally identify with him.

The amazing thing was that Molly Ringwald uses the word ‘fuck’ at one point, and because it’s the only time in the film the word is used, it has a lot of force. It was shocking. Also, it was shocking to hear the word ‘fuck’ on TV. It’s not something you hear everyday. (We were watching Turner Classic Movies.)

On 16 March 2005 (09:46 AM),
J.D. said:

From my e-mail exchange with Rich:

Rich: Yeah, I have a hell of a time finding movies that are really good and funny movies.

J.D.: Agreed. Now, if I actually owned Election or Rushmore on DVD, I’d be in good shape.

Can any of you think of any funny movies that are actually good?

On 16 March 2005 (09:53 AM),
Jethro said:

O Brother Where Art Thou

On 16 March 2005 (11:07 AM),
jeremy said:

Spinal Tap is currently residing at my house. I was wondering who onwned it.

On 16 March 2005 (11:12 AM),
Rich R said:

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Princess Bride, Harvey…

I’m always lousy at remembering favorites, but there’s a few of them.

On 16 March 2005 (11:13 AM),
jenefer said:

When I read you giving Kris a hard time about the American Tacos with hard sheels and catsup, I couldn’t believe you followed up with your Banquet Salisbury steak meal. Ugh!!. Anything home-made or home conpiled is better than anything frozen and nuked. I think she is right giving you a hard time about food preferences.

Since we are currently without a kitchen due to our remodel, we have been eating a lot of frozen dinners. The Banquet ones are terrible. Bob even said: “You don’t have to buy that again.” about the Salisbury steak.

Swanson is a little better, but the best seems to be the Lean Cuisine. Liz likes it better than either Banquet or Swanson and I really think some of the Lean Cuisine are GOOD. A lot of the entrees are chicken, but there are some beef and pork. Very few calories. Try the Chicken with angel hair pasta and basil cream sauce.

On 16 March 2005 (03:14 PM),
Joel said:

The Three Amigos

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