Archive for January, 2012

Cooking for One

January 22, 2012

Cooking for One

            I live alone. Well, almost alone.  Sparky, my Shih Zhu poodle lives with me. I am ecstatic to have my space back again. Until last November my youngest son, age 22, lived with me. I did very little cooking for him when he was here because he worked during dinnertime.

I am absolutely comfortable eating out by myself. And not just at fast food places. I take my book and make believe I’m reading it while I eavesdrop on my nearest diners’ conversations. It’s pretty cheap to eat out for one. I got to Filiberto’s and get a chicken taco and a diet soda. The taco is stuffed with meat. On Tuesdays they’re only 99 cents! If I order the more expensive chicken quesadilla, there’s enough for the next night’s dinner. If I go to Goldman’s deli and get the blintzes, they give me three. I take one home for lunch the next day. Another one of my favorite places is El Pollo Loco. I get the two piece combo for five bucks with their eternal coupon. If I order two thighs and two salads as the sides, I have another dinner. I also eat at the family diner, Randy’s around the corner from my house. I usually have a salad since the fixing tend to rot in my refrigerator before I get around to them. Randy’s is also known for its homemade pies, ice cream pies and strawberry shortcake (in season.) I have Randy’s on speed dial during the strawberry season.

So what do I cook at home? Once in a while I’ll get into the mood and make split pea soup, machaca beef, or turkey black bean chili. More often I opt for the easiest foods that I like. I get small pouches of edamame beans and nuke them. Protein and filling. I buy a “survival” rotisserie chicken at the supermarket. I got that name from a single guy I dated who said he survived on it for days. I microwave vegetables such as asparagus and spinach. Sometimes I pop in one of those diet frozen dinners. They taste good but it’s extreme portion control. These are my healthy dinners.

I also love to cook bacon and eggs for dinner, with buttered rye toast. Or I’ll boil up some eggs and make an egg salad sandwich. The staple of my life has always been tuna fish sandwiches. Alas I can no longer digest the raw onions I crave with them.

Of course there are plenty of nights when I have Cheetos, berries, and chocolate for dinner. Hey! I live alone so there’s no one around to scold me for eating junk food without much nutrition.

Sometimes my neighbor Donna invites me over, especially when she’s bought a family-sized frozen casserole of Italian food or made a big pot of bean soup or chili.

What’s on your dinner plate, single seniors?

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New Year Resolutions for 2012

January 15, 2012

New Year Resolutions for 2012

I know it’s two weeks into the New Year and a little late to be making resolutions. It’s just that I’ve already broken the two usual ones, lose weight and exercise more. I may as well think of what I want to accomplish in other ways.

  1. Get my novel published. I am going to the Southern California Writers Conference Presidents’ Day weekend. I have paid to have five people, editors and agents, read the first fifteen pages. If I don’t get any bites, I will go to Plan B which is to send out email queries to three agents a week. If by August I haven’t landed a contract, I will publish it myself, although this is my last choice.
  2. I will start a blog in January about caring for aging parents. This should complement the publishing of the novel, since that’s part of what it’s about.
  3. I will keep in better touch with my friends by calling them at least once a week.
  4. I will make sew at least three projects. (Finishing a project always gives me such a sense of accomplishment.) I will make the quilt for my bed for which I have the fabric and pattern.

What about dating? I went out with eight fellows in November and December. A few made it to the second date, but no one worked out, even as a friend. I am discouraged. I need to think about what I want in a relationship before I wade into the dating pool.

Two Strikes and You’re Out

January 7, 2012

Two Strikes and You’re Out

 

When I checked my mail on POF (Plenty of Fish, an internet dating website) I had a missive from Charles. His picture looked familiar. In his email he reminded me that we had met for one date several years ago and shared passionate kisses on my patio. Oh yeah! I had high hopes then, but he had called off the relationship before it started because he was making another try with his ex-girlfriend.  Now he was available and wanted to reconnect. He’d been honest with me, and there definitely had been chemistry, so I agreed to meet him for a drink at Humble Pie. (Question:  Do the staff at that restaurant realize I meet first dates there?)

He was already at a table in the outdoor area when I arrived. He was shorter than I remembered, but otherwise about the same and as attractive. We drank some wine and then shared a salad and a pizza. I suggested the clam one, but he hated squishy food like that.

I listened to his tales of woe. He had moved to Pennsylvania for a job that was not as advertised. He did not like the company or the people he worked with and for so he quit and came back to Phoenix. He had recently gotten a job and was in the training class when he was told he didn’t fit in with their work culture and was abruptly fired. He said the truly boring instructor had made snide remarks to him. When he pressed for a reason for the firing, management said that he was surfing the net during class, a direct violation of a slide that had been presented. He argued to me that he hadn’t seen that slide and neither had any of the other trainees. I thought, but you were off task many times and they caught you. I didn’t say anything.

He told me he was going to take classes to construct websites. He was already getting his social security and his unemployment would be another two thousand a month since he had worked in Pennsylvania, where the benefits were much better. Now I have only a few rules for the men I date. They have to be employed or financially self-sufficient and not crazy. It sounded like he was okay in the money department.

We shared a kiss when he walked me out to my car. It was hot! I wanted to go out with him again.

He called a few days later and explained that his unemployment debit card hadn’t arrived yet. He’d like to see me, but couldn’t offer to pay. My women’s lib views surfaced and I said we could take turns paying for the dates. Since he paid for the last one, I’d treat him to dinner at Frank and Lupe’s.

The day of the date had been a tough one and I wanted to escape. At dinner I ordered a pitcher of margaritas and drank at least three. That’s a lot for me. I was quite tipsy when it was time to leave and definitely wasn’t going to drive myself home. He offered me a ride and I accepted.

We talked for a while in my living room and then kissed. It was passionate but reserved in that his hands did not wander. After I sobered up he drove me back to the restaurant so I could retrieve my car.

Christmas is a hard time of year for me. When I was married, my husbands celebrated Christmas. When I got divorced I was alone. So when Charlie called and asked me to go out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve, I readily accepted. He said he had a coupon for twenty-five dollars. Could I spot the rest if it went over that? I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with his lack of finances, but I agreed.

We went to The Golden Buddha at the Chinese Cultural Center. When he presented the coupon to the host, we were informed that the restaurant’s contract with the coupon’s website had ended November first. Charlie explained that he had just bought the restaurant coupons the day before on a deal from Good Morning America. The host sympathized, pointing to a sign on the front door and explaining that at least fifty people had come in with the same deal.

Charlie was nonplussed. I hurriedly agreed to pay for the meal so save his dignity. At least Charlie didn’t make a fuss to the host or complain and rail about it during dinner. Instead I was treated to his tales of woe about how his adult daughters didn’t care to spend time with him. Alarms went off in my head. The guy was seriously depressed. By the way the meal was delicious (General Tso’s chicken and beef chow fun) and not too expensive.

When we arrived at my house, I invited him in for courtesy’s sake. Thank goodness he declined. We made a date for New Year’s Eve to go to a party at a hotel. I went back in the house and kicked myself for agreeing to go out with him again. I am too much of an optimist, always expecting things will get better.

I didn’t hear a word from him. As New Year’s approached, I figured I was off the hook. On December 30th I got a voice mail from him, saying that we were still on for the party but that he didn’t have enough money for dinner beforehand. He also had to rethink his life as he was denied unemployment and he couldn’t live on his social security so he would probably have to take an IT job out of state. I waited a few hours before returning his call. I told him that I didn’t want to be a further worry and burden for him and perhaps it would be better if he called me when he got his life together. He thanked me for understanding.  I’m sure I won’t hear from him again, but two strikes and you’re out.

I spent a fabulous New Year’s Eve with Sparky, my dog, watching the ball drop at ten and going to sleep. Whew! Dodged another one.