Monday, November 30, 2009


I noticed her name because it wasn’t spelled the right way on her nametag. Instead of Jordan, it was spelled Jordynne. She was the grocery store checker for the line I was waiting in. I was next in line when the lady in front of me put a bottle of Merlot on the dull black belt that seemed to move quite randomly. Jordynne quickly picked up the black phone receiver. “Override on check stand 3. Override on check stand 3.” she announced to the entire store as she rolled her eyeballs. The very young looking, gum popping Jordynne wasn’t old enough, apparently, to run a bottle of wine across the magic beeping, barcode reading, scanning machine. I watched as the lady wanting the bottle of Merlot became annoyed at the delay.

A hardly mature looking, but apparently more important woman, who was probably 23 years old, casually appeared from parts unknown. As she ran her special card across the scanning machine, she turned to Jordynne and started joking…or so I thought. “So Jordynne, I see you are trying to drink on the job again!” The young Jordynne huffed and again rolled her eyeballs at the presumably older, special card woman as she wandered back to her hiding place. Jordynne politely took the Merlot lady’s money and told her to have a nice day.

And then it was my turn.

I couldn’t resist having a little chat with Jordynne. As she scanned my garbanzo beans and my orzo and my Smores Goldfish I audaciously asked her outright, “So, been drinking on the job lately, huh?”

Jordynne, thankfully, taking my comments in stride, let out a mini guffaw laugh. “Ha! If I was gonna drink on the job, I can tell you one thing. I wouldn’t be drinkin’ no fancy wine.”

Fascinated by the most exciting grocery store moment I’d had in awhile, I, mostly sarcastically, continued to pester Jordynne. “Really? No wine drinking on the job, huh?”

Jordynne, however, became altogether serious. She was also most forthcoming and educational with her answer. “Oh, hell no! You gotta be smart. Anyone can smell wine on your breath. Wine at work is usually a bad idea.” And then she lowered her voice and turned her head a bit more toward me. “If you’re gonna drink at work it’s gotta be vodka. There’s no other choice. It’s clear, it’s innocent looking and there ain’t no one who can smell vodka.”

Not being a vodka consumer, I found myself captivated by Jordynne the checker and her patent honesty.

I curiously pushed on while Jordynne tried to find the produce code for my fresh ginger. “So, seriously, if you drink vodka, no one can smell it? Has that worked for you before?”

Jordynne stiffened a bit. She slowly looked to the left. She casually put my ginger in the bag and told me I owed her forty seven dollars and eighty three cents. Then she slowly looked to the right.

And then young Jordynne,20 years my junior, looked me straight in the eye and scanned my face, just like her scanning, checking machine did to my produce just moments before.

Jordynne lowered her voice to a whisper and she pointedly said to me, “Well, all I can say... is that….well……it worked in Junior High. “

Check This Out!

I must admit, I think American Idol alum Adam Lambert's recent television actions probably were uncessary. I've listened to his new album. He's good. He's got talent. He doesn't need the drama. Sure...he's trying to make a certain point. But the fact remains, the voice can stand on it's own. I suppose the drama makes for good publicity. In fact, I'll admit...the dramatic publicity got me to listen sooner than I would have. But honestly, it's the great voice that will get me to buy the whole album instead of just his first single. See for yourself at where you can sample the entire album.

And in case you're looking for something a bit more traditional, Christmas music, perhaps, I am here to tell you that the wait is over. Heavy Metal fans finally have Christmas and winter music that they can listen to at this special time of year. Rob Halford, of Judas Priest fame, has just released Halford III, Winter Songs. Complete with Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel, We Three Kings and many other Christmas traditionals and originals, this album will fill a void in your collection that has existed for a very long time. I encourage you to go to www. halford and explore his latest.

Monday, November 23, 2009


While the rapid gunfire, so close to where the teenager and I were sitting, did come as quite a shock, it was the look on the teenager’s pale face that scared me the most. “Those weren’t gun shots, were they, mom?” the teenager asked me with wide eyes, her heart beating much faster than it was just a moment before. In one second, I found myself nervously assuring her that it couldn’t possibly be gunshots. And in the next second, it seemed, we were in lockdown.

The teenager and I had gone to watch a girls’ high school soccer game at a local stadium. Just as we took our seats the shots rang out. It happened just like the shooting victims on the TV news said it would. It was fast forward. And it was slow motion. All at the same time.

As the shots rang out I saw dozens of birds fly off the roof of the building next to where we were sitting. It seemed as if I saw the details of every single bird. I saw both soccer teams running off the field, toward the locker rooms, with escorts yelling at them to run faster. It seemed as if I saw every single girl’s face filled with perplexed fear. I saw the fans in the stands questioning each other. “Did that sound like gunshots to you?” I saw the usher running toward us telling us to get to the safety of the building as quickly as we could. I remember running toward the building beside the teenager. I remember thinking that it was important for me to shield her from the gunshots. I remember wishing that I knew which direction they were coming from so I would know which side of her to run beside.

After an hour and a half in lockdown we were allowed to leave. They said it was gang related. They said they never caught the shooters. It happens all the time, they said. No big deal. The shaken up soccer teams left as well. The game was rescheduled for later that evening at another field.

The husband took the teenager to the rescheduled game that evening. As he left, I handed him the cell phone. “Now, I don’t want any calls about teams being rushed off the field or your life being in danger or anything…..!” I jokingly lectured. We laughed at the absurdity of my overprotective warnings.

The game was to start at 7:00 pm. At 7:01 pm my phone rang. It was the husband. Shocked, I answered the phone and didn’t give him any chance to speak. “Why are you calling me?” I yelled. “Hasn’t the game started yet?”

“No," the husband answered. “We’re having a little situation here. The teams have been rushed off the field into the safety of the locker room. It looks as if it’s going to be awhile before the game can start.”

The husband tried to explain more but I quickly interrupted him with my own rapid paced questioning. “What do you mean ‘rushed off the field’? There are no gangs in that area! It can’t possibly be another gang shooting! That’s ridiculous! Are you and the teenager ok? Are you safe? Seriously! What could possibly stop a game other than ‘SHOTS FIRED’? What could be worse than gang shootings?” I hysterically yelled at the husband as I had flashbacks to my own scary afternoon.

Like a good and wise and experienced husband, he paused to make sure I was done with my unrestrained verbal flailing.

And then he spoke.

“I’ll tell you what can be worse than gangs. It is MOTHER NATURE! We are in a 30 minute lightning delay. We have quite a storm going on here!”

OH. It was a storm.

Gunshots versus lightning-I wasn't quite sure which was worse.

Check This Out!

The older half of the Slightly Exaggerated family recently enjoyed the old Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movie, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?". While we initially thought this to be a nice, happy movie, we were quickly proven wrong. It's a bit scary and a bit shocking...but all in a nice old movie not too over the top kind of way. We enjoyed this movie while eating our romaine, salmon, red onion and garbanzo bean salads topped with sea salt and black pepper croutons. Add a nice vinaigrette and you can enjoy the perfect movie/salad combination as well.