Friday, September 24, 2010

vertically challenged

I’ve shared a bit about my successful prayer life as a child. But just in case you were thinking that I always used my powers for the greater good of mankind, I should probably share with you a few of my less-holy requests.

When I was around 8 or 9, I decided I wanted to be super tall. We’re talking WNBA material (although it wasn’t in existence at the time). Super model material. People-who-cannot-shop-in-regular-stores material. And so, I prayed about it. I asked God to make me 6 feet tall.

God and I must have been pretty tight, because it seemed right after I prayed, I hit a huge growth spurt. By my 12th or 13th birthday, I was pushing 5’5”. I was a giant. Inches taller than all of my friends. Beastly almost.

And really really self-conscious.

People started asking me if I was in high school. A few thought I was in college. Adults treated me like one of their own and talked to me at times as though I was in my late teens, early 20s. Don’t get me wrong. I loved people thinking that I was older than I really was. But after awhile, it got annoying (it was probably their surprise at my freakishness that ruined it for me). And the thought of being 6 feet tall wore off. I didn’t want to be strange-looking or age-stealthy. I wanted to be ordinary.

So, around my 14th birthday, I prayed a second prayer to cancel my first, explaining that I was young and foolish when I had sent up my first request and that 5’7” would be perfectly fine.

My growing came to a screeching halt at 5’6”. I squeaked out another half in by the time I got to college. And that’s where it ended. A half-inch short of my request.

Fitting, I suppose. Considering my neediness with such a non-issue.

But now that I’m older and more confident, I can’t help but wonder … would another inch or two be too much to ask?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Swedish Pancakes by Swedish Pankakes

For those of you wondering whether Swedish Pankakes are real, you're not very smart.

There is no such thing as Swedish Pankakes. There isn't even a such thing as a pankake.

But there are such things as Swedish pancakes.

And here they are:

Swedish pancakes are quite special to me. All of my family on my dad's side is up in Minnesota. Whenever we would go there to visit, we'd all get together and my Nana would invite everyone over and make Swedish pancakes. Enough for her six children and bazillion grandchildren and my Aunti Ellen* and some of her family.

We fold them in half and stack them up on a plate that we cover with towels. Which is very weird, I know. But it's how Leif Ericson did it, so it's how we do it now.

They're floppy and thin and delicious and would technically be more authentic if we ate them with lingonberries, but we don't. Because strawberries are better. It's our American twist, I guess. Just like our American twist on lutefisk is anything BUT lutefisk. (My dad would totally disagree because he loves the stuff, but you'll just have to trust me on this one).

I would go into the technique we use to transfer the pancakes from the giant stack to our individual plates, but that's top-secret information. If I told you, I'd have to pillage you.

*For some reason I remember her being "Anti Ellen" instead of "Aunti Ellen" or even "Auntie Ellen". But I didn't want you to think that I had a family member who we referred to as the exact opposite of Ellen Degeneres, so I changed it. For your sake. Not mine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Making Fun of Scully

Mulder: Two witnesses said they saw a hairless man fly down from the sky and hover over the child before picking her up one-handed and blasting back into the atmosphere. Do you know what this means Scully?

Scully: Of course. We have a body-building kidnapper who's invented some sort of jet pack.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

a few of my favorite things

Things I'm loving right now:

Battlestar Galactica -

Killer Bunnies -
Striped sweaters -

Amy's Kitchen -

Brown boots -

Non Tiq -

Friday, September 10, 2010

bad to the bone

If rebellion isn’t driving on freshly-painted road lines while in plain sight of the line-painting truck, then I don’t know what is.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

boxing, unboxing and reboxing

So what happens when you spend your childhood moving every two years?

You box up all your crap. Move it to your new destination. Only to unbox some of it, while the rest goes in 'storage'.

And then you do it all over again.

Eventually, you have what I refer to as 'lost toys'. Items that were once part of your life, but then disappeared after the move from point K to point L. You know they're out there somewhere and that one day you will reunite. But you're just not sure when.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we were reunited.

Barbies. Books. Hand-painted dogs. They were all there. In mass amounts.

The worst part was throwing away the hundred or so cards I'd accumulated over the years. Birthday cards. Christmas cards. Thank you cards. Cards-for-no-reason cards. I had felt obligated to keep them simply because someone somewhere had felt obligated to give them.

But realizing it was never the intention of those people to burden me with guilt, I threw them away. All 254 of them.

The second worst part was going through my high school and college notebooks. There had to be a few dozen of these, and I swear the only reason I'd held on to them was because I knew that one day, I'd run into someone who would challenge me on the order of the rulers of the Roman Empire, and I'd have to bust out my Greek and Roman History notebook from high school in order to win the argument.

But since the invention of Wikipedia, I realized my books were outdated. So I threw them away. All 87 of them.

And finally, the third worst part of going through all my crap was the fact that I was a writer. Always have been. Always will be.

Poems, thoughts and stories were scribbled on everything from church bulletins to portions of Bounce Fabric Softener cardboard boxes. Folders of ideas, notebooks of the beginnings of epic tales--EVERY THING I HAD EVER WRITTEN FROM AS EARLY AS 1991 filled the cracks and crevices of each box, causing me to flip through every notebook, scan over every page and unfold every piece of paper.

And since I've actually grown in to something of a writer, I reboxed it all. Swearing to myself that it would not be lost again. That I would return to Fort Wayne and find permanent homes for it.

Yeah, we'll see about that.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

the serving and the served

I was a server for the 1.5 years that followed college graduation. It was at a steakhouse, where we wore blue jeans, yee-hawed for birthdays and listened to an endless stream of Rascal Flats, Steppenwolf, Shania Twain, Sheryl Crow, Garth Brooks, Tom Petty and Carrie Underwood. In that order.

We served steaks, potatoes, ribs and peanuts. And just in case you’ve ever wondered whether the peanut shells got swept up at the end of the night, the answer is yes. You can thank your servers for that.

You can also thank your servers for heating your brownie; scooping the ice cream for your Mudslide; cutting your child’s chicken breast into bite-sized pieces; rolling your silverware; serving your beer in a room-temperature mug; baking your rolls; begging the kitchen staff for one more side of sour cream; slicing the lemon wedge for your beverage; brewing fresh coffee; taking extra time to make and shake your chocolate milk; talking the manager into substituting a half order of mozzarella sticks for fries because your kid simply must have them; moving you to a table closer to the fireplace; agreeing that your perfectly-grilled medium well steak is actually closer to medium; climbing over an old man to close the blinds because the sun is in your eyes; not correcting you when you order a 9-inch sirloin with rice pilf and onion peals; picking out the green leaves in your iceberg lettuce; making your side salad with no cheese, no tomato, extra bacon, and thousand island and ranch on the side; not freaking out when your party of twenty decides to begin switching chairs after you’re all done eating, but before the bill has been split; and then not saying anything when you leave a 10% tip.

I was a freaking good waitress. I never minded doing all of the little things that came with the job. I was there to serve, after all. It was my job to make sure people had a good time.

But I soon came to find out that no matter how many babies I complimented, drinks I refilled before the hearing the slurping sound, jokes I told and butts I kissed, my tip could only go one direction.


It’s just how it is. People go into a restaurant with a percentage (or sometimes a flat out dollar amount) in mind. That amount only applies if the server does a great job. But for every mistake, every minute that they are made to wait for their FREE rolls and every time they have to actually ask for something, the amount goes down.

The amount never ever goes up.

Despite the fact that servers make an hourly rate of $2.14.

Despite the fact that they also have to tip out the bus boy and the bar and sometimes the food runner.

Despite the fact that they’re usually single moms with lots of debt or college students who are trying to avoid debt.

The amount just doesn’t go up, and jobs well done are rarely rewarded.

This isn’t a post to get you to tip better or run your server less or find a happy balance between the two. But if there must be a theme, let it be this:

The answer is no. A gospel tract does not count toward your tip.

And the server will never read it. Unless you were really sweet to her, and she sees that it’s accompanied by a 20% tip.

Then, she may consider it.

Because even though a server's actions may not count for anything, yours do.