the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Category: Food (Page 3 of 6)

Burned by Coffee


It’s one of the oldest stories — a guy or gal has a big date that night, so she looks into the mirror, and sees a huge zit! Horrors!

I don’t have a zit, but it looks like I have a cold sore. But I DON’T HAVE A COLD SORE! It just looks like a cold sore. What I have is the aftermath of a coffee burn on my lip. Honestly!

Tonight, I’m going to see Secret Agent Josephine‘s gallery show of dog paintings. She is a popular California blogger and many other bloggers will be there. And I mean glamorous female bloggers. I will be meeting most of them for the first time, and what will be the first thing they will notice — my coffee burn! And they will think it is a cold sore. And they will write about it in their blogs tomorrow:

“Secret Agent Josephine’s show was a big success. Many bloggers were there. Lovely Whoorl was there with her beautiful baby. Therapy-going Neilochka was there also, with his cold sore.”

It is NOT a cold sore. It is a coffee burn.

As a preventive measure, I think it is essential that I tell you how I got this coffee burn on my lip. After I tell you this story, you will realize that I am telling the truth:

A few weeks ago, a local independent filmmaker emailed me. He said he liked my blog and wanted to talk to me about possibly putting together some story pitches together for a producer. We met, liked each other, and decided to give it a try. After a week, we didn’t accomplish much more than coming up with a few titles stolen from other movies.

Not from the makers of “Knocked Up,” It’s “Knocked Off!”

Yesterday, we decided to meet at his home and finally get to work. For eight hours we hashed out story ideas, in between drinking lots of coffee and playing Trivial Pursuit. By the end of the day, we were exhausted. On the way home, I felt my eyes closing as I was driving on the freeway (we live 45 minutes apart). I decided to pull off and get myself a cup of coffee. I was happy to notice an In-N-Out Burger down the block. If you are unfamiliar with this chain, it is because they are mostly on the West Coast. They are my favorite local burger joint. Unlike the bigger fast-food chains, they make their burgers fresh. Although it can take twice as long to get your burger than at McDonald’s, the hamburgers actually taste like meat.

I ordered a cheeseburger with onions, and a cup of coffee. I couldn’t wait to eat that burger! I don’t have fancy tastes. Although I enjoy all types of food, nothing is as comforting as a hamburger, a slice of pizza, a bagel, or a good tuna fish sandwich. I picked up my newly-made burger from the high school kid behind the counter, sat down at one of the faux 1950’s plastic booths and dove in!

Thank you Harry and Esther Snyder, creators of In-N-Out!

From Wikipedia:

In-N-Out’s first location was opened on October 22, 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder at the northwest corner of what is now the intersection of Interstate 10 and Francisquito Avenue in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Park, California.

All ethnic groups take pride in the accomplishments of their own. African-Americans are proud of Barack Obama. Asians appreciate that Daniel Dae Kim is considered a sex symbol on Lost. Jews are no different. Even my mother knows that Spock’s Vulcan sign is something he saw at an orthodox synagogue as a child.

“I knew Spock was Jewish,” my mother used to say. “He was the smart one.”

Unfortunately, the Jewish community is somewhat ashamed of William Shatner.

Harry and Esther Snyder: clearly mishpucha (Yiddish for family). To me, McDonald’s is Church of Scotland (McDonald’s), Wendy’s is Presbyterian, and Jack-in-the-Box is Roman Catholic, with “Jack” running the show from his Vatican-like headquarters.

In-N-Out is Jewish.  Harry and Esther Snyder?  I actually have an aunt and uncle named Harry and Esther.

I sometimes wondered if they know I’m Jewish, too, which would explain why their service people are so nice to me. Whenever I order a burger, the worker at the register always smiles at me with a knowing look and asks “Would you like some onions with that?” in the same caring tone that my mother uses when she asks if I would like an extra matzo ball in my soup during Passover.

In-N-Out hamburgers are very cleverly wrapped, with two pieces of waxed paper folded around the burger to prevent spillage. I quickly ate half of my burger and then started drinking my coffee, remembering that my original reason for stopping here was to get some coffee, not to eat a cholesterol heavy burger. As I took a sip from my coffee cup, I noticed something very unusual written on the bottom of the outer hamburger wrapper:

Revelations 3:10.

WTF? Revelations 3:10?! New Testament messages on my burger wrapper at my favorite Jewish burger chain?


My brain went into overload, unaware that I was about to take another sip of burning hot coffee, and mistakenly missed my mouth. Instead, I spilled the scalding liquid right on my lip, later causing a blister.


It turns out Harry and Esther Snyder are not mishpucha, but Christian fanatics who put weird Bible messages on their products and then purposely give extra hot coffee to their non-Christian customers.

Would I make this story up? It is a coffee burn that I have, not a cold sore!

From Wikipedia (why did I never notice this before?):

In-N-Out prints discreet references to Bible verses on their paper utensils. The print is small and out of the way, and only contains the book, chapter and verse numbers, not the actual text of the passages. The practice began in the 1980s during Rich Snyder’s presidency, a reflection of the Christian beliefs held by the Snyder family.

Burger and cheeseburger wrappers

Revelation 3:20—”Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”

Beverage cups and antenna toppers

John 3:16—”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Milkshake cups

Proverbs 3:5—”Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Double-Double wrapper

Nahum 1:7—”The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”

Paper water cups, or “R-9’s”

John 14:6—”Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Next time, I’m going to Canter’s Jewish Deli for my coffee.

Recipe for a Food Blogger


Is it my imagination or are the”food bloggers” very sexy?  Maybe it has something to do with the sensuality of food.   Food and wine are definitely connected to sex.  What man hasn’t dreamed of taking Nigella Lawson  or Rachel Ray on the oven while she’s just wearing an apron and high heels?  Or maybe it is the fact that these cooks use all sorts of exotic ingredients in their dishes   My mother’s “secret ingredient” in her one good dish, brisket — was ketchup.

Two weeks ago, I asked for some simple recipes for a man to cook, and I received so many wonderful items in my email.  Thank you.   Some of the recipes were too complicated for my skill level at the moment, but I appreciate the thought.  A few of the dishes sounded so delicious, that I decided to pass the information on to others more worthy of making the delicacy, especially one particularly beautiful blogger.  I’ll be honest, I hoped to win some brownie points with this glamorous woman, praying that she’d flirt with me, or at least make me some biscuits.

However, dear readers, make note of this important information, in case you ever decide to use Microsoft Word.   While this popular software application has many fine points, the spell checker does NOT catch all  errors, including when you want to say “add fines “herbes,”” but mistakenly re-type it as “add fines “herpes.””

Oh yeah, she WANTS me now!

Top Chef


I chose Ms. Syl’s dish as my first post-surgery dinner for one simple reason — she used the phrase “easiest recipe ever.”  Lizardek, I love you as a blogger, but any recipe using creme fraiche is a real turn-off for a beginning chef.

Here is the recipe for Ms. Syl’s Sexy Mango Salmon:

Easiest recipe ever and it looks fancy. You need only four ingredients, and you don’t have to measure anything, and even a GUY can make it (ha ha):

1) Salmon fillet (buy it FRESH, Neil)
2) Jar of mango Chutney (usually called “major gray’s”)–you’ll find it in a jar at your local supermarket either in the condiments or international food aisles
3) Seasoned bread crumbs (you can buy this already made and seasoned)
4) Pam Olive Oil cooking Spray (or substitute real olive oil if you can manage it)


–preheat oven to 350

–Wash and pat dry salmon

–lay it skin side down in a pan sprayed with Pam (or greased with olive oil)

–take a few spoonfuls of chutney and smear it over the top of the salmon until all parts of it are covered

–Then sprinkle the bread crumbs in on top of the chutney layer (there should be just enough so that you can’t see the chutney anymore)

–spray breadcrumbs with pam olive oil spray (or, drizzle olive oil over bread crumbs)

–place in oven

–bake for 10-15 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily in the thickest part of the fish.

–if the bread crumbs haven’t gotten crunchy by the end, you can turn on the broiler and keep it there for a second so that the bread crumbs brown SLIGHTLY. watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Easy peasy.

I won’t lie and say everything went perfectly.  It took me a half hour to find chutney at Ralph’s Supermarket.  It wasn’t in the “Asian” department.  Who would guess that it was next to the salsa?   When I came back home, I couldn’t lay the salmon “skin side down” because I thought a “salmon fillet” means it is skinless, so that’s how I bought it.  I also asked Sophia so many questions that she ended up helping me out (although she said I could tell you I made it totally by myself, but like I said, I won’t lie).

I think it came out pretty well, although I’m not sure how “fancy” it looks.  The breadcrumbs could have been more “crunchier” and my snap peas were overcooked and watery. 

Hold on.  It’s the phone.    Clotilde Dusoulier’s (Chocolate and Zucchini) book publisher is on the line…

“A what?  You want me to write a cookbook?   Oh, I’m sorry.  I have to turn you down.   I’m already busy writing “Citizen of the Month.”  Although I make no money doing it, I couldn’t disappoint my loyal readers.  How much?  Really?  Sure, f**k them!”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:   Everyone Loves a Baby

Food Blogger for the Day


It was about a year ago that I told the lie. A food blogger, most probably Delicious or Smitten, had written a post about an interesting dish she had made.

I wrote a comment saying that “I should try to make this dish.”

The blogger wrote back, asking, “Neil, you cook?”

I replied, “Of course.”

Now, I’m not stupid. I know that women love men who can cook, even more than men who are funny. So when a pretty food blogger asks if you can cook, you say, “Of course.”

Of course, I was lying. I’m not much of a cook. I can make a decent salad, a mushroom omellette, a tuna fish salad, and spaghetti and meatballs. That’s about it.

With Sophia in surgery mode, it has been on my shoulders to produce dinner lately — which means take-out. Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Lebanese, Italian. Frankly, it’s getting expensive. A large hot and sour soup + one chicken and broccoli = at least fifteen dollars.

That’s why, I’ve decided to do a little cooking next week. Sophia’s next second surgery is tomorrow, and she’ll probably be out of it for a few days. Wouldn’t it be nice for her to have some home-cooked meals?

This is where YOU come in. I need a few SIMPLE recipes. Remember, Sophia is not a Campbell’s Soup type of gal. The meals have to be simple enough for a moron to cook, but still tasty for a picky eater. Think of this as a public service for men who can’t cook.

And thank you, Whoorl and Marisa from Apartment 2024, who have already given me suggestions on Twitter. (Whoorl: The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (is she nuts?)) (Marisa at Apartment 2024: Her terrific ForkYou.TV!)

Mommybloggers, I need you. If anyone knows how to whip up a simple meal, it is you. Now, I know a few of you are still upset at me for insulting you on this blog, mocking you, and drawing Stalin-era mustaches on the photos of your precious children. But let us now make peace. Tell me your secret — for how long do you cook rice?

And please. No macaroni and cheese. She won’t eat it.

And nothing with bacon.

And Delicious/Smitten/whoever it was — I’m sorry I lied.

One more question, before I do this cooking gig, do you think I should ask Sophia if she WANTS me to do this?

Overheard at Trader Joe’s


Mother to Mother:  “I will only give Danielle the organic Kashi cereal now.   I’m not supporting the Frosted Flakes-Cocoa Puffs industry anymore.    It’s time we were heard!”


You have been heard.  Greedy sugary cereal producer of Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Puffs, Kellogg’s, OWNS Kashi (but you’ll never see it mentioned anywhere on the box or website).

Update:  From last year’s New York Times:

Conventional cereal makers have been looking for ways to jump-start sales in a category that has been flat since 1995. In 2003 total cereal sales, excluding Wal-Mart, were $6.99 billion. In 2005 they were $6.89 billion but alternative cereal companies continue to expand. In 2005, sales of alternative cereals (excluding sales at Wal-Mart) were $361 million, up from $273.5 million in 2003, a 32 percent increase, according to Spins research.

Many of the alternative cereal brands are owned by larger companies, including Kellogg and General Mills. “Cereals, like milk, are one of the primary entrance points for use of organics,” said Ms. Christenson of Spins, “which is pretty closely tied to children – health concerns, keeping pesticides, especially antibiotics, out of the diets of children. These large firms wanted to get a foothold in the natural and organic marketplace. Because of the mindset of consumers, branding of these products has to be very different than traditional cereals.”

These corporate connections are often kept quiet.

“There is frequently a backlash when a big cereal package goods company buys a natural or organic company,” Ms. Christenson said. “I don’t want to say it’s manipulative, but consumers are led to believe these brands are pure, natural or organic brands. It’s very purposely done.”

General Mills owns Cascadian Farm, and the name behind Kashi is Kellogg. Barbara’s Bakery is owned by Weetabix, the leading British cereal company, which is owned by a private investment firm there. Mother’s makes clear that it is owned by Quaker Oats (which is owned by PepsiCo). Health Valley and Arrowhead Mills are owned by a natural food company traded on the Nasdaq, Hain Celestial Group; H. J. Heinz owns 16 percent of that company.

The cereals sold under the Peace label are owned by Golden Temple, a for-profit company owned by a nonprofit group founded by the late Yogi Bhajan, who made his fortune from Yogi Tea, Kettle Chips and a company that provides security services.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  The Poetry Reading

A Toast for Sophia’s Birthday, Russian-Style


Today is Sophia’s birthday.  Most of my fellow blog-acquaintances know how much she means to me.  After all, this blog is 75% about her!  Clearly, she is one of my obsessions.  And why wouldn’t she be?  She’s a real babe.  Above is a childhood photo of Sophia.  She still has the playfulness of a child, only now combined with sexiness of a smart, exciting woman.  She’s taught me how to live it up, how to be assertive, and how to be a better partner.  Look at that smile.  Amazing, right?  And she’s funny, too.  You should read how boring my blog posts are until she gets her hands on them.  Today certainly is a special day for me and everyone who knows Sophia.  It is the day she was born!

I’m going to try to show Sophia a good time today, but it is difficult to compete with a culture that really knows how to party. 

I recently read this great post comparing the way Americans party to the way of Russians.

Americans are boring. They don’t know how to have a good time. Sophistication is often preferred to fun. A typical American wedding, for example, involves prim girls in conservative dresses, guys nursing the same glass of Merlot for several hours while talking to each other about the box score, and a bland choice between chicken or fish. Even a typical evening out is dull – a bar with bad music, or even worse, a lounge where you can “sit and talk.” Bah! If you want to have a good time, you have to hop on the train to Brighton Beach and party with Russians.

Since getting married to Sophia, I’ve gone to quite a few “Russian” celebrations, and I’m usually out of it by the second glass of vodka.  I’m the comic foil at these gatherings, as even the old women laugh at the way I sip the vodka like a glass of chardonnay.

The Russians are a “literary” people, and a birthday event is not JUST about drinking, eating, and dancing.  There is the tradition of “toasting.” 

In the English-speaking world, we might say something like “Cheers,” then drink our beer.   To Russians, only a certified moron would make a toast like that.  A toast is an opportunity to be as elaborate and poetic as possible. 

The first toast is devoted to the occasion, the second toast is usually in honor of the host or the primary person at the gathering (or, sometimes, to friendship), the third toast is typically in honor of women or love. After that, anything goes. You should be prepared to give at least one toast, and “to life, to life, le chaim” will get you only so far. The best topics for a toast include: to our parents’ great wisdom, to a woman’s beauty, to academic prowess, to financial prosperity, to health, and to world peace (especially if foreigners are present).  When you toast, it’s good to have a story. The actual toast doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with the story, as long as the story is sufficiently elaborate. Think along these lines: Once my 95 year old grandfather visited me in Odessa. I took him to the beach, and when he saw the water, he asked me, “what is that?” I told him, “that’s the Black Sea, grandfather.” To which he replied, “and what was there before the revolution?” So, let us raise our glasses so that we may live long enough to annoy our grandchildren with such stupid questions!

One important note:

Don’t drink without toasting, or you’ll be considered an alcoholic.

I’m usually too nervous to toast anyone during the beginning of the meal.  I wait until the serving of the 25th course, when I make the toast in English while Sophia translates.  Unfortunately, unlike on my blog, where I am considered “witty,” my jokes always fall flat.  I often get blank and bemused stares.  Luckily, I’m clever enough to throw it some Russian word at the end of the toast, giving everyone something to cheer about while they drink.

I’m going to make my toast to Sophia later, in person, but feel free to pour yourself a glass of virtual vodka and make a toast in honor of Sophia’s birthday in the comments.


Drink up!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Happy Birthday, Sophia

Fruit and Walnut and Procrastination Salad


Here is today’s Citizen of the Month’s word of the day: Procrastination.

For some reason, I have a feeling that many of you are familiar with this word.

There are different levels of procrastination. Watching the pre-Golden Globes Award Show rather than doing your bills is a mild form of procrastination. You can rationalize it by saying “everyone else is doing it.” Other forms of procrastination are more embarrassing, like downloading videos from

My form of procrastination today occurred during lunch. It began when I went to McDonald’s. Why did I go to McDonald’s? After all, I live in the land of 1000 Fast Food Restaurants, and I went to boring ol’ McDonald’s. The reason I went to the Golden Arches has less to do with today’s word of the day, procrastination, than with last week’s words of the day: laziness and indecisiveness.

Once in McDonald’s, I felt guilty for just being there. Most of their menu is just crap. Last time I was there, I tried to be “healthy,” but I was not impressed with their bland chicken sandwich. I decided to “be good” and order a salad, but the DOLLAR menu was beckoning to me like a cheap hooker.

“Why spend over four dollars on a salad when you can buy a hamburger for $1!” the dollar menu said to me. “Do you have money to throw away? Think how proud your family will be when they learn you had lunch for $1!”

I went to the counter and ordered a hamburger.

“Is that all?” snapped the teenager girl behind the counter.

I noticed other customers looking at me with unfriendly glances, as if they were thinking, “What type of freak ONLY orders a $1 hamburger?”

“Would you like a fries and a drink?” the teenager asked.

I caved in to the pressure.

“Uh, I’ll have a coffee.”

“A Coke?”

“A coffee.”

“Coke or Diet Coke?”

This is not the first time that someone outside of New York City didn’t understand me when I said “kawfee.”

“A cup of cof-fee” I said in my best midwestern anchorman voice.

“Is that it? Would you like something else?”

This girl was relentless. Are McDonald’s employees taught to bug you until you order THREE items?

I quickly scanned the board and randomly ordered McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad, which cost me about two dollars.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad:

The fruit and walnut salad is a fruit dish sold in US branches of global fast-food chain McDonald’s. It was launched by famous tennis player Venus Williams in May 2005 [1], and is part of their move towards creating a healthier image.

The ingredients are seedless grapes, apple slices, candied walnuts and low-fat vanilla yogurt. Including the walnuts, it has 330 calories. The apple slices are dipped in the preservative calcium ascorbate, a compound of calcium and vitamin C, in order to keep them crisp and prevent them losing color and flavor. rates its good points as: very low in cholesterol, low in sodium, and very high in vitamin C, and its bad point as “very high in sugar”.

US apple producers welcomed the expected extra demand for their products. McDonald’s announced that it expected to require 54 million pounds (25 million kg) of apples per year. The move makes them the largest food-service customer for apple producers.

McDonald’s corporation has now switched to the Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad, a much smaller version than the original salad.

So, apparently, what I received was not the original salad, but the new “snack size” fruit and walnut salad.

I’m not the type who complains in restaurants, if you can call McDonald’s a “restaurant,” but this fruit and walnut salad was a major disappointment, not because of the taste, but because of the size of the product. The “salad” was literally 1/2 of a sliced apple, five grapes, a teeny-tiny plastic bag of candied walnuts, and three tablespoons of yogurt. If I really wanted small-size entrees, I’ll go to some fancy French restaurant, not to McDonald’s.

This fruit and walnut salad was really beginning to piss me off. This is what they pass off as something healthy? I could put together this crappy “salad” in two minutes, and it would cost 1/4 the price. I tried to forget all about it. My plan was to do some writing in McDonald’s, but as I ate my lunch, my mind kept on focusing on back on this wimpy fruit and walnut salad. It began to represent something BIGGER than just a cheap fruit salad at a fast-food joint. It became a symbol of how all of us have been cheated and ripped-off by too many people too many times!

Of course, some might wonder if I really was THAT upset about this fruit and walnut salad? OR was I using it as an way to PROCRASTINATE and not do my work? You make the call!

“I wonder how much profit they’re making on this fruit and walnut salad.” I asked myself. There was only one way to find out. I counted exactly how many pieces of each “healthy item” were in the plastic container and walked over to Ralph’s Supermarket to find the truth out for myself. Take that John Stossel!

With pen in hand, I started my research in the fruit section. Delicious Apples were selling for $1.49 a pound. I threw one apple onto the scale so I could figure out the exact cost of a 1/2 apple. I stood there a few moments, trying to figure out the math in my head, but luckily I remembered that my cell phone had a calculator.

Figuring out the correct price for six grapes was more difficult, and required some mathematical equations that I hadn’t used since the ninth grade. It’s also surprisingly time-consuming to count how many grapes are in a bunch without losing track of the numbers.

Next, I divided the cost of a box of candied walnuts by 1/12th.

The cost of three tablespoons of yogurt was the most confusing.

Luckily, a friendly Ralph’s Supermarket employee came by and asked “Can I help you with anything?”

“Yes, you can.” I answered. “How much would you guess three tablespoons of yogurt would cost?”

At first, he thought I was just crazy, but his attitude changed when I explained what I was doing.

“Hey, it’s great you’re doing this. My wife once ordered that fruit and walnut salad in McDonald’s. What a rip-off! She went back to eating Big-Macs. At least with a Big Mac, they give you some food! This is an important issue that affects us all. You should write this in the Los Angeles Times!”

(Do you hear that Los Angeles Times? Tough luck, suckers. You rejected me last time.  This hot story is going right to the Washington Post!)

The result: McDonald’s makes a enormous profit through their Fruit and Walnut Salad. And that’s not even including the discount they must get by buying in bulk.

Thanks, Jim from the Ralph’s Supermarket in Hermosa Beach for your assistance in the expose!

I arrived home from lunch two hours later. I was exhausted from all my hard research and thought I deserved to take a nap.

Which I did.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: The Toothbrush

Why a Pillow is No Substitute for a Woman


Yesterday was mother-son bonding day in the Kramer New York household.  We did a family favorite — we went to Macy’s One Day Sale with a 25% off coupon we received in the mail.  I convinced my mother that her coat was getting old, and I helped her pick out a nicer one.  The big drama began when the cost of the coat turned out to be $99.65 and the salesman wouldn’t use our coupon because he said the purchase had to be $100.  Talk about hard-asses!  Is this the same company that puts on the playful Thanksgiving Day Parade?  But my mother would not relent.  We searched for the cheapest thing you could buy in Macy’s, so we could stick it to them and still get our discount.  We ended up buying a $1.25 bottle of Macy’s “Spring Water.”  Where the hell is this spring — under Herald Square?

On the way home, we stopped in downtown Flushing, which is more of a real Chinatown than the Chinatown in Manhattan.  I took my mother to have her first dim sum.  If you have never been to this type of Chinese restaurant, dim sim is usually served in a large banquet hall.  Rather than ordering from a menu, women push these carts with different types of appetizers.  If you are kosher, forget about it!  Most of the dishes are either pork or shrimp.  You get charged a modest amount for each plate.  These restaurants get jammed on weekends, so we had to share a large banquet table with a family that didn’t speak English.  My mother was a little nervous because she was unfamiliar with all of the dishes.  I tried to act confident, but the truth was I had no idea what half of the dishes were myself.  I avoided ordering anything that looked like fish eyeballs. 

Last night, I slept on the living room couch.  This morning, I woke up and noticed that my legs were all scratched and cut, almost as if my legs were in a knife fight. 

“What in the world happened to me?” I asked my mother as she was cooking some oatmeal.

My mother is a big fan of detective shows like CSI and The Closer, so we both sat down to examine the evidence.

1)  Our first thought was that it was a reaction to the dim sum, but it seemed unlikely that this would only affect my legs.

2)  We discussed “bed bugs” in the couch, but there were no visible bites, only scratches.

3)  Despite watching “The Polar Express” last night, where the moral of the story is “believe,” we do not believe in ghosts wanting to do harm to my legs for some evil reason.

4)  My mother insisted that she doesn’t sleepwalk.  And if she did sleepwalk and come over to me with scissors in hand, she wouldn’t cut my legs.  “I would probably cut your hair.  It looks awful.” she said.

5)  Finally, our TV detective method paid off.  When I used to be in bed with Sophia, I would always wrap my legs around her legs while I was sleeping.  Being a creature of habit, I was wrapping my legs around the abrasive pillows of the couch, and every time I moved, I would scratch and cut my legs against the pillows’ zippers without even waking up!

Love hurts.

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