Feb 25th, 2012 Posted in Talking to People I don't Know | Comments Off

Dining with Miriam

If you have ever been to any tourist focused town in Mexico, you are well acquainted with the constant harassment by different vendors trying to sell you timeshares, whale watching trips, silver etc…they find you everywhere and they don’t take your first no for an answer. Quite honestly, I find it exhausting and an excellent reason to leave and never return to Mexico. Since my last trip to Mexico they have even become more insidious…timeshare salesmen posing as grocery store employees at the Mega and acting as if they really are trying to help you…that is until they offer to buy your groceries if you just come to a presentation and then you realize that you’ve been had.

It was a similar situation that led us to Miriam. We were exhausted from spending the day at the marina in Los cabos saying no to all manner of offers that led us to say yes to the first restaurant vendor to cross our paths in San Jose del Cabo. The lucky hawker turned out to be with restaurant Don Sanchez. He gregariously offered us a free appetizer for coming in…but more on that in a bit.

Cue Miriam, our waitress for the evening. Miriam is a big ball of spicy energy packed into the body of a little mexican woman…part drill sergeant, part betty boop. She spoke enough English to understand 90% of what we were saying, but it was the missing 10% that would have ensured a smooth dining experience. Now don’t get me wrong…I have no command of Spanish, so in the same role as her I would fail miserably.

Remember that free appetizer I mentioned? Well, it turns out you don’t get to choose which appetizer. One is preselected for you. The first option arriving at our table was beef carpaccio. One member of our group is a dedicated vegetarian and preferably vegan. She can tolerate watching people eat meat, but the arrival of raw beef was a bit much, not just for her but for all of us. Miriam offered the plate around and none of us would try one; bewildered, she took it away. A few minutes later the second appetizer attempt arrived….Cabrito….translated to English this means “baby goat” and not an improvement over beef carpaccio, matter of fact this was about 10 times worse. However when it arrived and she announced what it was we all broke into a huge fit of laughter…barely able to choke out the words, “none of us want to eat baby goat.”

At this point, the dining experience could not be over fast enough to suit me. I was so uncomfortable and quite nervous about what she would bring next. As she approached our table we all kind of held our breath. She plops down a fresh basket of chips for our guacamole, busts out laughing and announces, “It’s chicken!”

There could not have been a more perfect thing to say. We all joined her in her laughter and the rest of the evening was a perfect delight, despite several additional language miscues. The food was also quite good once we started getting what we actually ordered.

Talking to People I Don’t Know

Dec 28th, 2011 Posted in Talking to People I don't Know | Comments Off

Mostly an introvert by nature, I have recently issued a challenge to myself…talk to one new person a day on average. Criteria for success is to get his or her name and to have a more substantive conversation than how are you doing?

I first put myself to the test at a friend’s Christmas party and managed to meet 3 new people. I traditionally hardly ever know anyone at his party, but this year I was able to leave having had a very nice conversation with one of my friend’s old college buddies.

So stay tuned and see what happens…maybe I can become an extrovert yet.

I want your M-O-N-E-Y

Feb 25th, 2011 Posted in Fun with closed-captioning | Comments Off

Closed-captioning on Lyle Lovett’s song as seen in recently

Knowledge of lumber, does not translate to good customer service

Aug 24th, 2010 Posted in home improvement | Comments Off

I ordered two window wells over the weekend from a local hardware store…transaction completed…window wells to be in by Monday afternoon. They would call me. Monday came and went, no call.

Taking matters in my own hands, I call the store on Tuesday morning.

clerk: XYZ Lumber

me: Uh, yes I am calling to check on an order for two window wells

clerk: (not asking my name or anything) We don’t have any record of you ordering window wells.

me: Well, you took my money for them.

clerk: (other voice in background…”get the name”) What’s your name?

me: the last name is Jones…J-O-N-E-S.

clerk: hold on.

musical interlude: 5 minutes of muzak

clerk: yeah, we got a record of your order

me: Uh…could you tell me if it is in?

clerk: hold on

musical interlude: 5 more minutes of muzack

clerk: yeah? what?

me: I’m waiting to find out if the window wells I ordered are in.

clerk: oh, uh no. They aren’t here

me: Do you know when they will be in?

clerk: (covers phone and asks question of other clerk, Stanley) Don’t know.

me: Could I talk to the person you are talking to?

clerk: sure.

musical interlude: 5 minutes of muzak

Stanley: yeah, hello?

me: Yes, I was wondering if you could tell me when my window wells might be in?

Stanley: hard to say.

me: Did they have to manufacture them or were they in stock?

Stanley: they weren’t in stock.

me: how long does it usually take?

Stanley: Depends. Usually ain’t that bad. If you want to hold on, I can call ‘em and find out.

me: (fearing another musical interlude) No, that’s okay…I’ll just wait.

Stanley: We won’t forget about you, I promise.

We’ll see.

Cami Secret

Jul 26th, 2010 Posted in kitsch commercials | Comments Off

One of my favorite things in the world is kitschy commercials…here is the latest one that amused me: Cami Secret Website

The Elusive Tiki Torch Coneflower

Jun 21st, 2010 Posted in Gardening | Comments Off

Generally, I never pay any attention to what perennials cost because they are usually in the 6.99-12.99 range. However, last year I purchased a Tiki Torch Coneflower at a whopping 19.99. I brought it home thinking this *&%$!@ better grow. I don’t think it even grew an inch all year. So, over the winter I dug through my receipts and readied myself to return it to the garden center and get my money back when it didn’t come back this year.

However…this year brought back a whole new plant….behold the Tiki Torch Coneflower!

Here are some other random shots I took tonight…I think the garden is within a couple of weeks of being at peak:

Reluctant Gardener 1, Mother Nature 0

Jun 10th, 2010 Posted in Gardening | Comments Off

The forecast is for rain for the next 5 days or so. My grass needs to be cut. Five more days of rain will make it unmanageable. I can’t take 5 days looking at the yard, knowing it needs to be cut and not being able to cut it. It’s not raining out that badly…I decide to go for it. Once I get moving, I can’t even hardly tell. I laugh to myself thinking, “Ha, ha Mother Nature…not even you can stop me from having a manicured lawn!”

I put the lawn mower away, admire my work. It stops raining. Final score: Reluctant Gardener 0, Mother Nature 1.

The Relucatant Gardener

Jun 8th, 2010 Posted in Gardening, Uncategorized | Comments Off

No, it’s not a typo. Well, okay it started out as a typo and I was very bothered about why I couldn’t find my site online. Alas, I misspelled reluctant. I was going to change it, but then I thought that it was pretty apropos to my gardening and cooking efforts. Some things go well and others miss the mark despite my good intentions.

Briefly about me and the reluctance part. An old friend of mine recently reminded me that I once seriously suggested that we pave over our backyard at our old house. Why not? We had two dogs, it was all shade…I couldn’t get anything to grow. However, we have since moved and even after having threatened to pave the backyard we purchased a house with a double lot. Twice the gardening space I had before. Obviously, not thinking clearly about that. However, having sun in my yard makes a world of difference in terms of what I can plant and I was transformed.

The cooking part is just about saving money. If I don’t like what I’m eating, I will order out or go out to eat. Simple as that. Even though I started cooking for pragmatic reasons, I have since found I like it. Go figure.

This is mostly for my entertainment and if someone happens to find it and is entertained by it as well, then good for you!