Patsy Porco

Archive for October, 2014|Monthly archive page

Jumping for Joy

In dogs, Humor, pets on October 30, 2014 at 12:36 am

RudyAnyone who has ever had a dog knows how hard it is to change a dog’s regular food. So, when you find yourself out of it one night, and don’t feel like going out  to get more, you’re often forced to offer human food to your four-legger, or a bag of doggie biscuits. Dogs are always willing to eat any kind of human food or canine treat, but just try to give them a new kibble. They’d rather starve than do more than give it a dismissive sniff.

So, the other day when I was in Walgreen’s, I remembered that we were out of dry dog food for our golden retriever, Rudy. Walgreen’s carries his particular brand, but only in small bags which cost three times as much per pound as the large bags that I usually buy elsewhere. Looking for something to tide him over until I could get to a grocery store or Walmart, I spotted Kibbles ‘n Bits, and they were on sale, so I bought a bag.

I was a little nervous when I got home and poured it into Rudy’s bowl. I suspected that he’d take one look at it and walk away. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He watched me with great interest as I put out his food and water bowls. Then he went over to sniff his new food. Rather than ignore it, he started jumping up and down with glee. He literally leapt for joy before scarfing down every morsel. When he was finished, he jumped up and down some more.

I should have been relieved that I didn’t have to go out again to get his normal food. And I was. But I also suspected that I had just fed him a big bowl of cookies.


Hair Today

In Humor on October 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I need a haircut. However, I haven’t had one, specific place to go for a cut in a long, long time. I’ve been hopscotching around my neighborhood, with mixed results. As I was pondering my next location, I checked my statistics on WordPress. Exactly two people read my blog today and one of them read the post I’m reposting below. It made me laugh, and I hope it will make you laugh, too.

REPOSTED FROM MARCH 23, 2013, ORIGINAL TITLE: Did You Get a Haircut? No, I Got Them All Cut.

Did you ever notice that one day your hair looks perfectly fine and then, the next day, it looks overgrown and shapeless? It happens in a matter of hours, probably when you’re sleeping. Hair growth spurts are exactly like kid growth spurts. A child goes to bed in his size 3 long-sleeved, long-legged pajamas and wakes up wearing a wife beater and shorts. Anyway, my hair had a growth spurt—or a sprouting—so I had to act immediately before I met up with my inlaws.

The trouble is, awhile ago, I had a falling out with the woman who had been cutting my hair. She is really talented and her haircuts are reasonably priced, but once we became bitter enemies, I lost access to her. She probably would still cut my hair—money is money, after all—but my mother warned me that I might be scalped. My mother seemed to think that scalping me would be understandable, considering what I had done to my former friend. I don’t think that I did anything wrong, by the way, but my former friend does, and she would be the one wielding the scissors.

Anyway, after I lost my stylist, I tried a salon that was voted “Best Hair Salon in N——” in an local online publication. Six people voted for it. I imagine that the owner and his one stylist triple-dipped in the voting box.

The first time I went to the best hair salon in N——, the hair cutter barely removed any hair, but what she removed gave my hair some shape, so I was happy. In between my first cut and my second cut, I suspect that she met and became best friends with my former friend/stylist and swore to exact revenge on my ex-friend’s behalf. My second cut looked like it was done in a blender.

So, today I was at loose (and split) ends. I decided to take my chances at S——, a bargain hair salon chain. A new branch of the chain recently opened close to my house, so I went there. My husband had warned me that this branch was sketchy. If by sketchy he meant that the hairdressers had hacked, badly permed, multi-colored hair and facial piercings, then he was right. If they thought that they looked good, then who knows what they’d do to me? There was one hairstylist who looked normal, at least in those surroundings, so I prayed that I got him. My prayer was answered in the affirmative. As soon as the guy was finished with his customer, he meticulously cleaned his area, and then called my name.

Now here’s where it got weird. The stylist’s first language was Spanish and he didn’t seem to speak much English. When I asked him for a “beachy” cut, he stared at me. I asked if he understood the term, “beachy,” and he shook his head no. I wasn’t sure if he didn’t understand the term, or the question. So, I kept it simple and asked him to give my hair some shape, and cut off about two inches. He nodded like he knew what I meant.

I thought about flinging off the coverup and running for the door, but by this time the other three employees, all women, were talking about me in Spanish and I didn’t want to give them more to talk about. My hair cutter, Jorge, and his three coworkers were having a good laugh at my expense. I knew this because all four of them were pointing at me and smirking.

I stared down the three women and Jorge finally turned his attention to my hair. During the time that he was mocking me in Spanish, he also picked up fluency in English. He proved this by picking up a strand of my hair and saying, “I think that two inches is too much to cut off. Let’s start with an inch and see how you like it. I’ll also even out the back and layer the front, around your face.” His very long announcement didn’t hold a trace of an accent. He was obviously having fun with his latest patsy. And he wasn’t done.

“So, how long have you worked here?” I asked.

“I started here yesterday,” he answered. “Yesterday was the very first day that I ever cut hair.”

Now, I knew this wasn’t true because, while I was in the chair, a woman had come in and requested that Jorge cut her hair. She asked for him by name, indicating that she had been there before.

“If that’s true,” I said, “then how does that woman know your name?”

He grimaced in defeat and replied, “Okay, I’ve worked at this branch since it opened. And I worked at the branch in W—— for a number of years.”

“That’s good,” I said.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I don’t want you making beginner mistakes on my hair.”

“What do you want for $15.95?” he asked.

He had me there. I had nothing to say, so I let my wallet talk. “If you do a good job, you’ll get a really good tip.” Now, in truth, a good tip could be less than four dollars at this particular hair place, but I think he understood that I would go higher than that.

At that point, he buckled down and spent about twenty minutes concentrating on my hair. That’s about three times longer than most cuts take at that salon, so I figured the tip accordingly.

When he was finished, he gave me a mirror and let me look at the back of my head. That’s always a good sign. I was very happy with the cut and thanked him profusely. Then I tipped him twenty percent of a $50 haircut, and paid the $15.95 bill.

Everyone was happy, at least while my hair was wet and looked good. Once I got home and it dried, it looked like he had cut my hair while blindfolded. It was the worst haircut in the history of haircuts. As I fumed, I remembered Jorge’s words, “What do you want for $15.95?”

I wanted blood, his blood. So, I went back to his shop and killed him.

Okay, I didn’t really, but I wanted to. Instead, I went to a different branch, got a good stylist who not only fixed Jorge’s mess but didn’t charge me. She did, however, get a good tip from me, and a really good laugh when she looked at my hair as I sat down in her chair.

Kale, Quinoa, Edamame, Broccoli Rabe, and Cauliflower

In food, Humor on October 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm

The first time I met kale, it appeared as a decoration under my meal on a plate at a fancy restaurant. Nobody even suggested that it was edible. This was 30 years ago, though, back when people ate for enjoyment, not sophistication. Now kale is served everywhere and people purport to love its bitter taste, texture, and credit score. A few years ago, quinoa (the seeds of a grain crop) became all the rage. I think that was because only a few people knew how to pronounce its name correctly, which gave them the right to sneer at those who didn’t. Quinoa was probably popularized by the descendants of the people who decided how to pronounce the names of the cities and towns in Massachusetts. The founders dropped syllables and consonants and altered emphasis so that only natives would know how to say the names, therefore ensuring them ample sneering opportunities. Compounding Massachusetts-residents’ unwholesome pronunciation is the otherworldly accent employed by residents of Boston and its outlying areas. My family and I were once in Boston and we asked two men walking nearby where we could find a certain store. One of them said that he didn’t know, since he didn’t live in Boston-proper. I asked him where he lived and he said, “Not sure.” My husband, son, and I looked at him (gaped, actually). He and his friend stared back. “You’re not sure where you live?” I asked. He then took his index finger and rubbed it horizontally up and down over his lips as he reiterated, “Not sure,” only this time it came out as “North Shore.”

Anyway, as they say (with a different pronunciation in Massachusetts, no doubt), I digress. A number of years ago, I heard a morning talk-show host expounding on the wonders of edamame (immature soy beans in their pods). According to the pretty, perky host, there was no better, fat-free, delicious snack to be had. For a brief spell, edamame was the “it” vegetable, but its reign lasted for about as long as it took for people to learn how to say it. Now it appears in stir-fry recipes (along with its relative, tofu, which enjoyed its own glory days many years earlier), but you don’t see people wild-eyed and fevered over it. Kale will probably meet the same fate, sooner rather than later, I hope. Broccoli rabe and cauliflower are another story; these are two formerly ordinary vegetables that rapidly ascended the food ladder. Not long ago, broccoli rabe became the vegetable of the posh and wannabes, which perplexed my Italian relatives, who have been eating it forever. When I first tasted it, before it was well-known, I shuddered at its bitterness. Not long after, bitter was in style. Any dinner party worth its centerpiece featured the wretched vegetable. Over the last few years, broccoli rabe has lost its panache and has been relegated back to Italian dinner tables, where there is so much food that nobody (except perhaps your sister-in-law) questions why you didn’t help yourself to any. (If you are asked, tell your sister-in-law that it was the first thing that you served yourself and, because it was so delicious, you ate it first, and licked the plate.)

As for cauliflower, it, too, has been around forever. However, its blandness used to be disguised with mouth-watering cheese or cream sauces. Now, inexplicably, it’s appreciated for itself. Cauliflower is easily enough avoided on a platter of crudités, but when it shows up as a roasted side dish, there’s no sidestepping it. Unless there happens to be a dog with an undiscerning palate under the table, I’d advise resorting to childhood methods: cut it up into tiny pieces and spread them around your plate so that it looks like you’ve eaten most of it. You could also be an adult about it and actually eat it. That way, you’ll be able to discuss its impact on your taste buds using the inappropriate adjectives favored by wine aficionados.

So, what’s the next must-serve-or-talk-about-first item on the menu? There are only so many animals, and since most of them have been discovered, it’s doubtful that a new meat will surface. Therefore, gourmands and their imitators should be trend-spotting in the grain and vegetable categories. My money’s on an ancient grain with an exotic name, but parsnips are also high on my shortlist. What exactly is a parsnip, you ask? North Shore.

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