My New Year’s resolutions don’t last any longer than the lifespan of a Mayfly, which is within a few hours. Last year I made a list that said I will eat more vanilla wafers. Now some may think I was going to say vegetables. I suppose if I had written vegetables, I may not have all this access flesh. The year before that, I scribbled something on a bar napkin about exercising. I was a little woozy and couldn’t make out my own writing. It didn’t matter because I blotted my lipstick and spilled wine all over it. Something always happens to the list which prevents me from carrying out those casual promises I make to myself. One year I started to jot down that I’d be a better pers–. But the cat grabbed it before I could finish and made a lovely play pal out of it, flinging it into the toilet. So I stayed the same screwy and sarcastically entertaining jollity that you have all come to know and hopefully, adore.

I never said I was perfect. I can be a smart ass, I have a potty mouth, and I’m turning into a surplus of suet. I tried flushing out my crazy cranial area with a hose to my ear that sprayed a forceful stream of purifying water, attempted to flatten my flab with a meat pounder, and I taped my mouth shut for a good sixty seconds. That didn’t last long. My shackmate asked me what I wanted for dinner and suggested that we jog through that all-you-can-consume buffet called Trader Joe’s. I yelled “Hooray,” considering I hadn’t eaten for a solid hour and love to sweat. And their food makes me drool. I get very clammy and hangry when I don’t eat. I’d be the world’s worst hostage if I was holed up somewhere without food from this enchanting franchise. It all started with their pumpkin pancake mix. Then they came out with mango Galette, that beautifully handcrafted pastry with my favorite fruit filling. I go in with an empty stomach and go home the impressive owner of mouthwatering items from every single aisle…AND the bakery section. It won’t be long before some magician comes up to me and says, “Abracadabra. You’re fat and flat broke.”

This year, I have the choice to either stay out of Trader Joe’s completely, or buy from that superstore with continued loyalty. If I never went there again, I’d be a frightening portrait of a co-dependent and wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I realize that eating Trader’s Red Vines is like eating eight inches of waxed roping and has two teaspoons of sugar per twirl. But I just can’t help myself. Nor can other women in my town. I find myself fighting off hands of mercurial shoppers who have the fondness for confiscating my addictions. I took the remaining few boxes of licorice and a lady asked me where they all went. If I’m going to take the very last eleven boxes of something, I should assume I’m going to get gangbanged by some other stalwart Trader Joe junkies who are equally jonesing. I never thought someone would be admiring my jugular veins so closely. She probably had every right to bear those big arms. I mouthed off some acerbic sarcasm to my rival. “Licorice? What Licorice!” She should have the New Year’s resolution of curbing those high levels of suspicion and paranoia. I was fortunate that a Joe’s employee didn’t approach exclaiming, “Don’t deny it. We have camera footage of you grabbing every one of them.”

It’s not like me to dwell too much on things like this. Yet methinks the lady doth protested too much, so I surrendered one of my containers, as long as she surrendered her Ganache Torte. I had to have it because it’s very likely somebody’s birthday somewhere in this country. Besides, I had a seven in ten chance of a severe spaz attack had I not inhaled enough chocolate that day. Another lady said that taking all the Sea Salt Almonds was an injustice. If by chance you and I end up tackling each other at Trader’s empire, may the odds be ever in your favor. My boyfriend is good looking, but he’s pretty smoking hot when he’s trying to sneak away to the register with those last containers of something I want. I, on the other hand, feel I’m a great girlfriend because most of the time I have Trader’s Cinnamon Churros in my mouth that prevents me from arguing with him. There have been times my lover wanted to get amorous, but his stomach was growling. He ended up having a foodgasm. Sometimes we have foodgasms together.

Someone left their resolution list in the shopping cart I was using that read: Buy more collard greens, quinoa, flaxseed, and crap like that. The person was probably meandering somewhere out there in a state of wanderlust, simply because he didn’t buy bacon and crap like that. His healthy wife likely wrote that list. Little did she know that I also found a half eaten container of Cookie Butter Ice Cream. I myself have vowed to eat organic plant-like products and arrived home with croissants and calorific crap like that. And their Mac ‘N Cheese??? We usually buy a dozen of them at a time. The problem is that Trader’s food isn’t all fat free. I found that out when I went home to my bathroom scale and it went digitally berserk on me. I tried teetering on it with one foot, but I didn’t know a leg filled with what looked like mounds of cellulitic macaroni could weigh so much. So I put down Joe’s Raisin Rosemary Crisps, removed four pounds of make-up, took off my sock, wiped off the heavy toenail polish, and laid down next to the scale with just one pinkie dangling over the thing. But that seemed awfully ridiculous. I finally flung the scale into the trash and came to three conclusions. I can’t control a dang thing and blubber is proof of that. Secondly, my goal isn’t to become a Hollywood star, so I can put on a few extra pounds. And thirdly, plump folks are just happier folks and that much harder to gag and force into a van.

I’m a little leery about Trader’s bell system. One bell calls another cashier to the register. Two bells means a question needs to be answered. But a mixture of bell tones together means they are either playing around, or someone is shoplifting. God knows I’ve eaten a grape or ten in produce. If I’m going to ascribe to any New Year’s resolution, I should buy a Trader Joe’s franchise so I can take whatever I want, whenever I want. And I can write my own cute things on the chalkboards. Otherwise, I’ll take up scuba diving off the coast of Newfoundland, since I found out the Titanic sank with an elaborate buffet. That, or hack an Al-Qaeda website and replace all the terroristic information with Joe’s Mini Pie Medley, leaving their taste buds ever so tingly in exchange for those urges to bomb.

I’m somewhat in shape. If by “exercising” and “deep meditation” you mean, doing wine crunches on the floor by holding a bottle of vino between my legs with a mouthful of Trader tortilla chips, then yes. I’m mentally and physically fit both morning and night. Squats are a little harder. I could spill the wine and choke on the chips, which could keep me from opening my Trader’s Nutty Seedy Fruity Bar. I may not get rich from writing. But I do expect to get something substantial by endorsing Trader Joe’s. My New Year’s resolutions? Italy. Tango. Trader’s Fig Butter. Wear more sensible pants to allow my buttocks the space it needs for expansion. Trader’s Trek Mix. Get a doughnut tattooed on my cellulite. High five those ninety-year olds buzzing by me in traffic. Trader’s Jalapeno and Honey Chevre Cheese. Cha Cha. Make better bad decisions. Decorate the Joe’s shopping carts. Master the hula hoop. Trader’s Molten Choco…


There’s something you don’t know about me. I wanted to be a songstress, and an instrumentalist. I also wanted to be another Mother Theresa but that didn’t happen either. Christmas’s came and oh by gosh by golly, it was time for mistletoe, holly, tasty pheasants, wishful presents, and our Michigan countryside covered in avalanches of snow. It was my third Noel morning, and I ran to find gifts under the fifty zillion fir needles and stringing lights. The tree wasn’t the only thing that got lit up. Mom and Dad were drinking toddies when I started beating on the drum that Santa left me. As it turned out, my favorite Yuletide melody was The Little Drummer Boy, and theirs became Blue Christmas. Whenever possible, I would spontaneously burst into song while thrashing the membranophone and my irritated mother would tell me, “I appreciate your wonderful arrangement, but I just got your baby sister to sleep.” I pondered, what child is this who lay to rest on Mom’s lap is sleeping? She could have laid her in some far away manger so I could rock around the Christmas tree letting my Christmas spirit ring. There was always an excuse why I couldn’t make music. It didn’t matter though. Because later I’d have some pumpkin pie and resume my pounding and off-key caroling. My parents were forever casting aspersions. “Good God! Do you hear what I hear again?” I think I made my parents tone deaf, but I looked so cute crooning and pummeling with pie crust clinging to my lips. Nor were they impressed when I wanted to get all jolly and deck the halls with boughs of marshmallows and grape jelly. I heard Mom tell Dad, “Honey. Let’s get a babysitter and go to the Caribbean for Christmas. I’m looking a little pasty.”

Being obsessed with music did save my makers from a lot of unwanted solicitors. And faithful friends who were dear to us, gathered far from us, once more. The drums were probably frightful and my voice, well, not very delightful. But Mom didn’t exactly birth Sheila E! The parents were probably hoping I wouldn’t become a composer or Karaoke singer, unless of course I led a band in the Netherlands. They couldn’t watch White Christmas without me belting out Bing Crosby lyrics while playing the flute. “Stop,” said the king and queen to the little lamb. So, to honor them, pa rum pum pum pum, I stopped blasting the cylindrical noise maker and went with a sweet sounding harmonica. Although applying my lips to another mouthpiece was not a pleasant diversion. I blew entrancingly in the presence of my delicate and suffering family members. Yet when Dad took me to see Santa, he wanted me to make a list, check it twice, but ask primarily for a trumpet. It was beginning to look a lot like Mom was angry because she started hissing at Dad in the worst way. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe is what makes a season bright. But they didn’t know that with me around they’d be entertained all night. I was their star of wonder, star so bright, star of keeping them up late in nocturnal hours of friggin’ sleeplessness.

My Christmas lists always consisted of something that was no doubt going to create a lot of ruckus. “I want a piano,” said the child to Santa’s everywhere. But my parents would have had to remove the furniture and most of the kids from our house to accommodate such a large acoustic keyboard. I would have liked a tambourine, but they would have gone into jingle bell shock. Some years were a major disappointment when I didn’t get what I wanted. At twelve years old, I still had this prolonged belief in Santa and waited next to the fireplace for his arrival. I figured having personal communication with the man would assure me gifts that were eminently practical to me, although eminently painful to my parents. Besides leaving cookies, I left four brownies, two Twinkies, and thirteen Mars bars hoping that would satisfy his every need and in turn, he would supply me with a slew of musical instruments. I got dozy while waiting and thought jeepers Santa baby, hurry down this chimney tonight would ya? It was a silent night, a holy night, a night that was perfectly quiet and sacred until I heard something rustling outside in the bushes. I thought to myself, must be Santa, must be Santa Santa Claus! But I didn’t see soot falling in the chimney or a jolly white-bearded gentleman carrying a big bag with a bountiful endowment. It was my older brother trying to sneak back into the house. He was a curious sight, slurring his words while crushing dogwood in our winter wonderland, pressing his face against our ice frosted glass door whimpering, “Baby it’s cold outside. Let me in!” I wanted to bonk him over the head with my drum, but it may have killed him. So I opted for an empty roll of wrapping paper. I never wanted to limit my pounding to just a percussion instrument.

My brother threatened me if I told our parents and of course, that didn’t stop me. I walked around the house the following day using pan lids as cymbals and serenaded the rest of our household with, “Do you know what I know???” I did that about twenty times, because doing it once wasn’t nearly enough. I even got other siblings to join in. Not everyone can become a marching band conductor or lead a relief effort. As I kept telling my delinquent brother, “Santa sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re out with your friends at all hours of the night getting into trouble.” I worried though, that he would come after me and I’d be asking Santa the following year for twins, which would not mean more siblings. All I wanted for Christmas at that point was for my two front teeth not to be pushed out of alignment. My parents may very well have told me to be quiet on occasion, or “better not pout.” But at least they never had to tell me to shovel snow for a month straight, or repeat themselves when I went potty by saying, “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be neat and wipe the seat.” Mom and Dad definitely had their own song during the holiday season. “Christmas Christmas time for cheer, time with boys is time for beer.” Of course that was before I grew into a mischief making and ill-mannered teenager myself.

Says me to people everywhere…
Have yourselves a Merry Christmas while using your own weapons of mass percussion. Let’s just hope you don’t cause any grief if you end up banging in public places.
AUTHOR OF DAMSEL IN DIS MESS (girlie antics & other shenanigans)