Posts Tagged ‘food stamps’

Hello Friday

August 12, 2017

My God.

You smell amazing.

There is nothing.

I mean.

NOTHING.

Like coming home to a package from Chanel.

Oh.

God damn.

And even thought I knew what it was, I still unboxed it like it was a surprise.

I was so giddy.

So happy.

The biggest smiles.

And.

The most delicious of smells.

Yes.

That’s right.

I am back to my scent.

I have adored wearing Rose Flash, it’s been a nice little thing to have and I get sweet compliments on it.

But.

It is not Chanel.

It is not my scent.

My signature scent for decades has been Chanel Egoiste.

Pour Homme.

That’s for Man.

Yeah.

I wear a men’s cologne.

I never set out to wear a men’s cologne, it was a complete accident.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

It was meant to be, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I found it at a discount store in the mall, one of those stores that specializes in products that have been discontinued.

It wasn’t in a box.

It must have been a sample from the big department store that was closing across the way.

I don’t know.

I had only been in the big department store once, I can’t even remember what the name of it was it wasn’t one that I was familiar with, then again it was in a land I was also unfamiliar with.

Iowa.

Yeah.

For a very strange year when I was 20 years old, I lived and worked in Newton, Iowa.

The short version of the story was that I was there to help my sister raise her child while her husband waited to get out of prison.

Actually they weren’t married yet, that happened at the prison a few months after I moved there with her to help her with my niece.

I swear.

This is the short version.

The long version is the book I wrote, the second in my memoir trilogy (yes I wrote a trilogy, no, it’s not published), called The Iowa Waltz.

Anyway.

We had moved there, my sister and I, as her fiancée was caught breaking bail in Wisconsin and was extradited to Iowa to serve out his sentence at the minimum security prison outside of Newton.

I got a job waitressing at Palma’s, this crazy Greek restaurant where the owner insisted that all the “girls” wear heels when working.

And dresses.

I might have gone to that department store to buy a dress, I think, in fact, that was why I was in the mall at all.

I certainly did not have a lot of extra money to spare, my sister was getting food stamps and WIC.

And I lied my ass off to get the bartending job.

My first shift the woman training me rolled her eyes, “you have got to be kidding me, you don’t know how to make a margarita?!”

It was a margarita night.

It was on special.

And.

It was strawberry.

I learned really fast.

And within a few weeks I was zipping around, tottering really, god how my feet hurt, the other bartenders and making pretty decent tips.

For Iowa, anyway.

The wife of the owner was the “bar manager” and she was a notorious Sambuca drinker and what is that Italian wine, god she drank it by the bottle and it was red and always chilled, Lambrusco?

And.

Fuck.

She smoked.

I mean.

I smoked, probably a pack a day at the time, but she smoked rings around me.

We were allowed to, oh the good old days when you could smoke while you worked.

Gagging.

Voula!  That was her name.

Shit, that just popped right up in my brain, I have not thought about that crazy bitch in a while.

Voula smoked three packs a day, easy.

It wasn’t that she necessarily smoked that much, but she always, I mean, always, had a cigarette burning in an ashtray.

And not just one, but five, sometimes six or seven.

“Do not put out any of her cigarettes, do not dump them, don’t do it, doesn’t matter if the ashtray is full to overfull, do not dump it, you will get the wrath of Voula,” my trainer told me.

She also told me under no circumstances to flirt with Voula’s husband.

Ew.

Yuck.

Why the fuck would I?

He was gross.

Balding, smoked just as much as she did, except he smoked cigars, and he had a big paunch and swinging jowls, I mean, not attractive.

“She will fire you if she thinks you’re flirting with him,” the head bartender told me, “she’s fired four girls in the last month.”

Fuck.

I won’t flirt, like I said, gross.

But.

I had drawn his attention.

And he made it clear.

I don’t remember what he said or how but it translated to I needed to buy another dress for work, and there was no mention of a clothing allowance or a uniform stipend, the money had to come out of my own pocket.

So.

The mall.

I must have found a dress.

And somehow I wandered into this strange little store next to the big department store, cheap trinkets, discounted stuff, old holiday decorations, odd toiletries and make up, junk basically.

But.

There.

On the shelf in the back right hand corner of the shop.

The bottle of Egoiste.

I do not know what compelled me to smell it.

I must have been registering it before I opened the lid and inhaled.

Oh.

Holy Mother of God.

It was the most amazing thing I had ever smelled.

Warm and spicy, musky.

Sexy.

Vanilla, coriander, sandalwood, rosewood, subtle cinnamon.

Not that I could have told you that then.

Fuck.

I was nineteen.

It just smelled amazing.

It blew my mind.

It was $19.99.

I had twenty-five dollars in my wallet.

I did not hesitate.

I bought it.

One of the best decisions ever.

I got fired two nights later when the boss lady’s husband decided to keep the bar open late and play poker with his buddies and he wanted a personal bartender.

Yup.

You guessed right.

Me.

I never once did a thing.

Nothing.

Didn’t matter.

I was fired when I came into work the next day.

“Get out of my bar,” she screamed at me, “you’re fired you fucking whore.”

Yeah.

And goodbye.

Funny thing.

I actually got my next bartending job because of her.

“Wait, what?  You worked for Voula for two months?” The woman interviewing me said, she was the owner of Boots and Spurs, why yes, I did work at Iowa’s largest country western night club, how did you guess?

I nodded, abashed, I had indeed gotten fired.

“You’re hired!” She exclaimed, nobody makes it two weeks with Voula, let alone two months.”

She laughed out loud, “hell, I only made it four days, she was one of my first employers, years and years ago now.”

“You must be amazing, when can you start?”

And so began my illustrious career in a country western nightclub.

But that’s a blog for another day.

Or you know, just read the book when I finally get it published, there’s plenty of stories there, believe you me.

Anyway.

I was hooked.

I fell in love in Iowa with a men’s cologne from Paris.

So many, many years ago.

And I got a bottle today in the mail.

Such an amazing gift.

I opened it and smiled and laughed and giggled and hopped up and down a little.

And then I opened it.

Oh.

That smell.

So good.

So, very, very good.

And just for a moment.

I was transported back to that small town mall in Newton, Iowa (home of Maytag Washing Machines!) and my 19-year-old self.

My god.

How far I have come.

How very fucking far.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Best smelling one too.

Heh.

 

 

 

Fast Times

March 27, 2015

At my house.

Not at Ridgemont High.

Not also the fast times you are probably thinking.

In approximately half an hour I will be having my last snack of the day and then there will be no more food until probably 3:30/4p.m. tomorrow.

I am having to fast.

I do not want to fast.

I do not like to fast.

I am not one of those ladies (or gentleman, I have known a few guys who will) who do that whole cayenne, maple syrup, lemon juice Master Cleanse thingamabobs.

Nope.

I like my food.

I am not a undereater.

Never have been.

Probably never will be.

Although there are times I wish I could be, which is not healthy, and is just fantasy, but there it is.

I shared tonight that one of my first fantasies when I was a kid was not a sexual fantasy.

No.

It was a fantasy about going to the grocery store and eating whatever I wanted.

I mean not just being in the grocery store, but being alone in the grocery store, aisle after wonderful aisle, all to myself.

I would sleep there and eat there and I would fall asleep at night dreaming about what aisle I would start in and how long it would last.

Most of the time I never made it past the cereal box aisle.

Oh cereal in a box, how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Honeycomb.

Cocoa Puffs.

Captain Crunch.

Cocoa Pebbles.

Rice Crispies.

Corn Chex.

Wheaties.

Corn Flakes, but only for a minute, they lose their crunch too fast.

Grape Nuts.

Corn Bran, Quaker Corn Bran Squares, don’t know why, but love them.

Raisin Bran Crunch.

And I am sure I am forgetting a bunch of them.

I haven’t eaten box cereal in such a long time.

And I really don’t hanker for it.

I don’t fantasize about supermarket aisles or candy aisles or beer and wine aisles, either.

I stick to the outside aisles of the store if I’m at a SafeWay, even at Whole Foods–although they have become sneaky with their placement of the hot tables and prepared foods daunting you near the check out lines.

There is a sound psychological reason for the fantasy, scarcity and poverty.

We just didn’t have the much money growing up and my mom comes from a family that also went through the Depression.

My grandparents had a huge garden at their home in Lodi, Wisconsin.

And I remember with much fondness all the wonderful things that grew there.

I miss that garden a lot.

And although my grandparents are many years gone now, I still have this unwavering belief in the existence of that garden.

It is still there and I can go to it some day when I go home for a visit.

Not that I see myself in Southern Wisconsin any time soon.

There is not much left for me there.

Some memories, and a few acquaintances, but my best friend lives in Northern Wisconsin just across the river from the Twin Cities in Minneapolis.

Should I head back to the land of all things dairy, it would be to go up North, not to Southern or Central Wisconsin.

My family subsisted often times on food stamps, welfare, school lunch assistance programs.

Government cheese anyone?

Ramen noodles.

Hot dogs.

We never had sugared cereals, it was a huge deal.

Popcorn was a big treat.

Or my mom might make a cake or when I was older I might bake a pie, there was ice cream when there was a special occasion-Mitchell’s Frozen Custard if it was a really big deal.

I remember though, my mom would eat bags of Lays Potato Chips and drink bottles of Mountain Dew like it was water.

I never really liked Mountain Dew, but I could and would drink it when it was offered, mostly because I liked peeling the label of it and making weird origami like designs in the bottle with the paper shreds, which I would stuff back inside the empty.

I fantasized about food because there wasn’t enough.

I also fantasized about food because I am a compulsive eater and that was a way for me to check out.

I could make six pieces of cinnamon toast and eat them all.

If given the chance I would over eat and I never really understood why.

Now.

With time and patience and love and recovery, I don’t.

But fasting.

Well.

That freaks me out.

Not having food when I need it.

I mean.

I just did a big bonk the other day, Tuesday, when I ran around all day long with the boys and had dinner one hour later than I typically do.

The good news.

It will only be half the day.

I will skip my breakfast and morning snack.

No oatmeal with an apple and unsweetened vanilla almond milk for me tomorrow morning, no hard-boiled egg.

I will have coffee though.

I can do coffee in the morning.

No low-fat string cheese at 10:30 a.m.

No big green kale and spinach salad.

Oh.

I had the best salads the last two days.

Yesterday–kale, spinach, raw almonds, strawberries, cauliflower, carrot, brown mushrooms, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar–so good.

Today–kale, spinach, Roma tomato, swiss cheese, chopped turkey, carrot, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar.

Both days a big Aztec Fuji apple from BiRite sliced up and dredged in cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt.

The days have been warm and sunny, hell I even rode my bicycle home with out my sweatshirt on, a true rarity.

Grateful it was warm.

I forgot my sweatshirt at work.

It could have been a miserable ride home.

I am so glad I have recovery around my food, and well, so many other things as well.

And although I am nervous about going without, it’s not because I can’t afford to eat well, it’s a doctor’s request to do a blood test (one I’ve been putting off for over a year because I didn’t want to do the fast) and I will survive.

I will also take myself out for a nice meal after.

Nothing crazy.

Mexican beans and rice with chicken chunks at Herbivore with a mixed green salad.

Then off to the Inner Sunset where the real treat will be getting done with work early to get my nails done and hit up some fellows I don’t get to see normally on a Friday.

And it will be the weekend right after that.

Fast times indeed.

The week it does go by.

So too shall the fasting.

For like so many things.

This too shall pass.

 


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