On line dating…. like shopping the circular ads

For a few years after my divorce, I tried dating. Being in the Internet age of course all of my dating began on-line.

One person I knew compared internet dating to the bar scene. You look around, find someone who looks appealing, and approach them. It’s kind of like shopping the circular ads at the grocery store. You look at all of the pretty pictures; delicacies all dressed up looking their best. So you think, “Awesome! This is such a deal!” so you grab your designer environmentally friendly grocery bags and rush down to the store. When reality hits, you find the meat looking pretty small and fatty, the juice 3 times as expensive as the brand you usually buy, and the fruit is just nasty after other people picked through it leaving only the knarly rotted pieces behind. These are my choices for nourishment? I’m surprised people don’t choose to starve, or remain single, whichever kills first.

I thought a lot about Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs while I was cyber dating. He noted that sex is an essential biological function, right next to breathing and eating. Maybe that’s why folks would start in right away with sex talk. It would be everything from crude remarks to monologues describing fantastic sensual pleasures. The odd thing about seduction in print is that spelling counts. While my Don Juan thought that he was sending me into screams of ecstasy, the only thing my head would be screaming was “Punctuation! Oh My God, use a complete sentence for Christ’s Sake!”

People were bizarre about it. Sometimes I met people who were binging, as if their dating profile was a secret stash of Ho-Ho’s. Talk as much as you like, as long as it is during odd hours and kept hidden from the wife. Some folks treated it like a Buffet, gorging on as many different flavors as they could possibly stand in one sitting. One lady would routinely run several different chats all at one time. She was such an incredibly fast typist that my fingers would run out of breath when we talked.

Amazingly enough, those online chat rooms turned out to be like Lays Potato Chips; you couldn’t stop at just one. I had profiles on three dating sites running all at one time. I became an addict, where online chat became my chocolate bar. I would get up and run, literally run, to my computer first thing in the morning. I would stay up chatting until 2am. It was the first thing I turned on when I got home at night, it was what kept me company while I ate dinner, it was my coffee companion, my study partner, my weekend entertainment, my Sunday ritual. I wasn’t the only one, either. I knew people who had the chat running behind their more essential functions while at work. We craved the empty calories of the internet glutting our lonely hearts with hopes and dreams only to wake up feeling bloated.

I suppose that, like our food, we have choices about the quality of sex that we allow in our lives. If all you want is an entrée from the frozen isle, I’m certain that it would be cheap and easy to find. But if you want food made from raw ingredients that was assembled with skill and love, then you have to work at it a little more and give it more time. The payoff is that homemade lasagna always tastes much better than anything pre-made, boxed and frozen.

I learned that whatever choices you make, regardless of the ingredients you choose, your food, and your love life are what you make of it. It’s up to you to decide what spice to add to your life.

Coffee-Cake-with-Streusel-Topping

Dried Fruit Coffee Cake

The Food Bank is responsible for providing items from all four food groups. Fresh fruit spoils easily, so often they provide bags and bags of dried fruit. Prunes seem to be a specialty. While I love these sweet treats, experience has taught that small amounts are necessary, otherwise the results can be pretty sh*tty.

Items marked with a * are from the Food Bank.

2/3 c. white sugar*

¼ c. butter melted*

2 eggs*

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour*

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

2 mashed bananas*

2 cups prunes or dried fruit*

 

Streusel Topping

1tbs brown sugar

1tbs flour*

1tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ c. oats*

1tbs oil*

Mix together dry ingredients until coated with the sugar and spices. Add oil and mix until clumpy. Sprinkle over top of batter before baking.

Mix butter, sugar and eggs until creamy.  Add banana. Sift dry ingredients together, and slowly add to wet ingredients. Pour into a greased and floured 9” baking dish. Top prunes and streusel. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

The Meaning of Means

When you have limited means, it means that your entire life is limited. There is so much that you simply can’t do, like…..see first run movies, or go out for the evening, just because. You can’t buy that new blouse you liked, and shoes are on an as needed basis only. Then there are the kids, who you would like to give anything you can; so you find ways to give them what you can.

For a while I donated my plasma for cash. The money isn’t really in the payment for the plasma itself, but in the incentive bonuses that they give to return donors. My son’s birthday is in the first week of December, so Christmas was approaching rapidly. At that time, the plasma center offered extra incentives. The first donation was $25, but the second was $30. There was a bonus after the fourth donation. My arm developed a definite crater where the needle was repetitiously inserted. I completed my fifth donation, and then the big bonus came after the sixth donation made that month.

My son was waiting for me when I got home.

“Can we go now?” he asked.

Before it was time to take my bandage off, we were coming out of Game Stop with a reconditioned X-Box. We had managed to pay cash.

“This is the best birthday present ever! Thanks Mom!”

My son developed a loving and devoted relationship with that machine for the next three years until the poor thing whirred and sputtered to its death. The hours of happiness that it created for him cannot be reproduced. White blood cells can be.

 

This Weeks Recipe:

Ham and Macaroni Bake

Items marked with a * are from the Food Bank.Mac & Cheese

While Americans have adopted the box of instant macaroni and cheese as a staple carbohydrate, a plain bag of macaroni noodles is cheaper and far more flexible. A can of creamy soup such as mushroom or cheese can help make a good base for your cream sauce. Otherwise a thick creamy sauce can be made with a simple roux.

1 lb. bag of macaroni noodles*

1 cup Cubed ham or turkey ham

1 16 oz. bag Frozen Broccoli florets*

1 Can of cream soup, mushroom, chicken or cheese.

OR

2 tbsp. butter or margarine*

½ cup flour*

1-2 cups milk*

2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated

Boil the macaroni noodles until al dente. Drain and pour into a baking dish. Heat up the broccoli until thawed, and drain. Mix with noodles. Add ham.

On the stovetop mix the soup with some milk and grated cheese until thick and creamy. If you want to use a roux, do this: melt the margarine or butter in a small sauce pan. Add some flour, one table spoon at a time. The butter and flour will become thick and make a paste. Add a small amount of milk, stirring constantly until the milk is absorbed and the paste is smooth again. Repeat. The idea is to keep adding milk to increase the volume of your sauce.  Pace your cooking so that the sauce has a chance to thicken between each addition of milk. When the sauce is about the amount that you want, add the cheese and melt it into the sauce. You can add spices and seasonings such as garlic, seasoning salt or ground pepper.

Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, meat and veggie mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow to sit for 5-15 minutes after coming from the oven, and enjoy!