Chinese Cheesiness

When did fortune cookies become politically correct?

fortune-cookies_2094Have you noticed this? Back in the days of yore, the papers tucked inside the almost-tasteless cookies offered actual fortunes. Something along the lines of You are about to come into a large amount of money or maybe something like A tall, dark, and good-looking stranger is about to enter your life, or my favorite, Whatever the hell you do, don’t open that secret locked door in your Great Aunt Stella’s basement and if you do – and survive – don’t  come back crying to me in Chinese.

Now the fortunes are not fortunes at all but are completely innocuous. Here are the fortunes contained within the two cookies Bill and I had after our sushi yesterday: Bill’s – Hope is the best stimulant of life; mine – Fearless courage is the foundation of victory.

See? Not fortunes. More like stuff your mother told you the next day when you came home past curfew the night before and you blamed it on your best friend’s car. Not fortunes; nags.

I’m blaming it on the trial lawyers. Maybe someone sued a Chinese restaurant because they spent their entire savings on lottery tickets when they got a fortune that read A small investment will result in great riches for you. Let’s face it; if Taylor Swift can be sued for plagiarism for the words Haters gonna hate in her song Shake it Off, Chinese fortune cookies can’t profess to see into your future without threat of lawsuit if their prediction, in fact, doesn’t transpire.

And why did the sushi restaurant from which we got these fortune cookies serve fortune cookies anyway? Aren’t fortune cookies usually served in Chinese restaurants? And really only Chinese restaurants in the United States because I’m pretty darn sure you wouldn’t go into a restaurant in, say, Beijing, and end your meal with a fortune cookie containing the fortune Our nuclear weapons are superior to your nuclear weapons or You’re wasting your time learning Spanish when if you really had foresight you would be learning Mandarin.

However, despite the fact that it was at a Japanese restaurant where we got the cookies containing these watered-down fortunes, I remain firm in my belief that there is not a prettier food than sushi. See what I mean?……


The first time I tasted sushi was many, many years ago when I visited a college chum who had left Colorado and moved with his wife to the island of Maui, Hawaii. On that trip, I also learned to use chopsticks for the first time. Surprisingly enough for a young woman who spent (at that time) most of her life eating beef on the Nebraska plains, I loved sushi from the first bite. I’m pretty sure that I recognized immediately that it was a great vehicle for what I really loved – the wasabi. My tastes have matured since then and I actually now enjoy the flavor of the fresh fish and wouldn’t even need the wasabi. Well, except for the fact that I can’t get enough of that feeling that your head is about to explode and your sinuses become completely open.

But back to fortune cookies. I promised Kaiya that she and I would make fortune cookies sometime soon. Since I will see them this weekend, I see a fortune cookie making experience in my future. I assure you that she and I will put our heads together and come up with more meaningful fortunes than A smile is your passport into the hearts of others.


Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around. – Carole King and James Taylor

searchBill and I returned to our home in Mesa, AZ, on Saturday night and are busily getting settled in for a couple of weeks, at which time we will return to Denver for the holidays.

Sunday night, during a break in the Broncos/Patriots game, I took the opportunity to take a quick shower. At some point, something happened. I wasn’t really concentrating, but I felt like the earth shook very briefly. It sort of passed through my mind that something weird just took place, like an earthquake? Nah. That thought went away and never returned. Because, well, we’re in Arizona, not California.

Yesterday morning I got a text message from my niece Maggie. Did you feel the earthquake? the text said. Suddenly it all came back to me. I immediately called her.

“Was there really an earthquake?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she assured me.

“What time?” I asked.

“Around 11:30 at night,” she replied.

Well, I was pretty sure I was sound asleep at 11:30 and wouldn’t have felt anything, or would have recalled it if I did. Still, I was pretty sure I had felt something earlier in the evening.

Later I discovered that there had actually been three small earthquakes – the one I apparently felt at 8:45ish, and another two somewhere between 11:30 and midnight. I wasn’t losing my mind. Well, arguably I am losing my mind, but at least not about feeling an earthquake.

I have never before felt the earth move under my feet; in fact, have only listened to the song by Carole King. Perhaps if you live somewhere in California, particularly near San Francisco, when you feel unexpected movement under your feet, you recognize right away that you are experiencing an earthquake. When you are from Colorado and you feel the earth move under your feet, you think you shouldn’t have had that second glass of wine or maybe you are getting too excited about the Broncos game.

Weather is a big deal here in Arizona. The earthquakes, though small (3.2, 4.0, and 4.1 – small enough to sound a bit like college GPAs) were the talk of the news people here in the Phoenix metro area, second only to Taylor Swift getting sued by someone for allegedly stealing the lyrics to Shake it Off. Here in Arizona, we don’t worry too much about a Russian plane crashing midair, at least not when Taylor Swift is being sued. Arizona has its priorities. She led the local NBC affiliate’s 5 o’clock news program. Sigh.

No matter, because both the earthquakes and Ms. Swift were quickly forgotten when the weather folks realized a cold front was heading this way. I promise you I’m not kidding when I tell you that the meteorologists are up in arms about the imminent cold weather. That’s the word they use – cold. It will be in the 60s. Remember, however, they are coming from a summer of 110 degree days. Sixty degrees feels cold. It’s all relative.

In the meantime, I am awaiting the aftershocks of the earthquake. It goes without mentioning that I am also bracing myself for the aftershocks of the Taylor Swift situation should the singer/songwriter be determined to be a lyrics thief.