Couple of quickies before we get going:

1. I was driving along the road that skirts our lake last week, taking it pretty slow because of all the ice, when a freaking bald eagle shot right in front of me carrying a (presumably) dead squirrel. He was hauling ass, trying to outpace the dozen or so smaller birds right behind who were either trying to steal his take-out, or just getting him the hell out of their territory (“I have an idea: let’s build a wall! Oh wait, we can fly….“). That close up and with wings fully extended he looked bigger than my dad’s Cessna. If I had been going just 1 mph faster I would have had fresh Eagle and Squirrel Pie for dinner that night. Welcome to New Jersey, national symbol.

2. I took a really horrible picture of really wonderful food:

egg tarts

Ok, follow along here.

I like pecan tassies, and had enough cream cheese in the house to make the traditional cream cheese crust. But I didn’t have any pecans to make the filling.

I like Chinese egg custard tarts, and had enough eggs and cream in the house to make the filling. But didn’t have enough butter to make the traditional puff paste shells.

You guessed it: Chinese Egg Custard Tassies. Those things on the left.

The thing on the right?

Well, I still had cream cheese paste left thanks to my usual disdain for things like “measuring” and “advice”. So I decided to wing a larger tart with that remaining lump of dough. I whisked up some more custard and….

I’ve had a block of plums preserved in…. I don’t remember – booze? spiced wine? simple syrup?…sitting in my freezer since last September when I made another batch of Slivovitz but purchased too many plums. I got sick of seeing that block last week and decided to turn it into plum jelly. But that left me with a block of strained plum solids, which turned out to be delicious. So I spread them out onto a Silpat like a lumpy sheet of Fruit Rollups, and they’ve been sitting in my fridge ever since. (The jelly is wonderful, btw.)

Ok, so I rolled out the remaining paste and lined the tart pan with it, made some more custard and poured it in, scattered the rest of the plum goop over the top, then tossed on some slivered almonds and baked the whole lot off. It looked like – well, let’s just call it “rustic”, shall we? – but tasted wonderful. As it happens, NewWifey(tm) doesn’t like plums, so guess who ate it all in one sitting?

(I did insert a sliver of that plum glop into one or two of the small tassies. That’s what’s poking out of the middle one in the photo.)

You are soooooooooooo jealous right now, aren’t you. You should be.

3. One of the most hallowed of all hallowed radio traditions is the tradition of sending a reporter to the grocery store whenever a big storm is forecast so they can describe the roiling mass of human locusts stripping the aisles clean. So when the big storm hit earlier this week we sent a reporter down to the local Food-n-Shit to get some audio of the mayhem. Most of it was the same ol’ same ol’. But one cut cracked me up. A woman being interviewed said in a very exasperated voice, “Look at this. They’re all grabbing bread! Milk! Eggs! What is there, a French Toast Crisis or something?”Β  The chef in me applauded her immediate recognition of Pain Perdu and I put it on the air in my very next newscast. Maybe there’s hope for humanity after all.

4. I’m going to make this soon. Yes, I am.

And now, on to The Story!

In our last exciting episode I posted pictures of dead alpacas, live alpacas, and a bar of soap. I also posted pictures of NewWifey(tm) squeee-ing in delight at all of them (although the one picture of her indignation over being ignored happens to be my personal favorite).

One thing I neglected to mention however was NewWifey(tm)’s reaction to those pictures.

I don’t recall her words verbatim, but the general gist went something like:


Honey? What’s the matter?

“I put on weight is what’s the matter!” She jabbed a finger in my chest. “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?!”


“All those times I said ‘does this make me look fat?’, why didn’t you say ‘yes’?”

Honey, are you familiar with something called the ‘self preservation instinct’…?


Oh come on baby, you don’t loo-

“This is YOUR FAULT” she said. “All those stupid French sauces! That never-ending bread experiment! All that goddam ice cream! Scones! Cheese! Wine! THIS IS YOUR FAULT!

You know babe, there are three cucumbers in the crisper even as we speak. Untouched.”

I nursed that black eye for a week.

One thing about NewWifey(tm) that I’ve always admired: no matter how upset she is, she can clamp down on her emotions and rationally chart the best course out of whatever problem caused her fury.

THEN she blows a gasket.

So I wasn’t surprised that after she stomped off I didn’t hear anything more about it for two days. I let her stew.

On the third day – and by “day” I mean “middle of the night two hours before I had to wake up and go to work” – she jabbed an elbow in my ribs and said “I want you to research FitBits.”

This time I do recall verbatim my response. It was, “xrnfff…wu…huh? wha…OW! Da fuck?!

She pressed on, oblivious. “I’ve asked on Facebook and all my stitching ladies say they heard from their nephews that FitBits are the new ThighMaster. You’re a news guy. Find out it that’s true.”

I didn’t bother explaining to her that product reviews generally don’t feature in any of my newscasts. When NewWifey(tm) gets it in her mind to do something, she doesn’t even hear me. So I just shut up and researched FitBits as best I could during my few breaks at work the next day.

Cut to the chase: I got her a FitBit Charge 2 for Christmas. Purple.

“Why purple?” she said when she unwrapped it.

It matches my Le Creuset tart pan.

“Yeah it does, but what does that…oh, never mind. Thank you.”

(Side note: it’s a refurb. Got it for 50% off, with full warranty.Β  The trade off? They only had ’em in purple. But it does match my tart pan. That’s important too.)

She read the manual (people do that?), watched an online tutorial, bragged to her Facebook ladies, then put it on. Now a month later the only times she’s taken it off have been to charge it, and to shower. (So, 4 times….)

I gotta give her credit here, she’s really sticking with it. Every hour she gets her ass off the couch and marches around the house a few times, then goes up and down and up and down and up and down the stairs til she hits her Steps Taken goal. I’m very proud of her, and I always tell her that from where I sit with my pork rinds and 6-packs of Guinness.

(She’s not achieving her sleep goals, though. Every day she shows me the graph of her previous night’s snooze pattern. And every day the readout says she’s getting substandard deep and REM sleep compared to “normal” women her age. “Who are these bitches, and how are they able to nail a perfect pattern night after night? I hate them! I’m so mad I can’t sleep!” I didn’t point out the obvious.)

However, inasmuch as stomping around the house and tramping stairs is meeting her Minimum Daily Steps requirement, she’s been getting absolutely zero credit for “Working Out”. Apparently mere motion isn’t enough to qualify. You’ve got to get your heart rate up to at least 116 beats per minute before Sergent Purple pins that medal on you.

If this was spring, or if we lived someplace like Mordor, NewWifey(tm) would just hop on her dirt bike and get her heartbeat up to 116 within seconds through sheer panic. Or she could mow the lawn with the manual push mower she got for some reason. That would do it. Maybe engage in some power gardening. But as this is winter and we live in Planet Hoth, New Jersey, the gas in her bike is frozen solid, the lawn is under 3 feet of snow, and the only possible gardening she could do is trim her own bush. So…hallways and stairs. Heart rate: 80 BPM. No medal.

Internet to the rescue!

She posted her frustration to her stitching group on Facebook, and the group immediately sprang into action. Women who hadn’t seen their toes since the Reagan administration waxed authoritatively on the best way to keep weight off while building lean muscle. (I was heartened to see more than one recommend “eat cucumbers”). A virtual storm of URLs were hurled at her, running the gamut from astrology sites to genetic engineering labs.

Guess which one she clicked on?

Get In Shape Through Better Sex!


I was completely oblivious to all of this, by the way, as I was at work when she got the idea to enlist her “friends”. The first I learned of it was when I walked in the door and found NewWifey(tm) standing naked in the middle of the living room. The only thing she was wearing was the FitBit.

Uhhhhh…is the thermostat up too high for you, baby?

“Shut up. Take your clothes off.”

Don’t get me wrong honey, this really is a pleasant surprise. ButI just got home from work. Can I get some lunch first?

She pushed a sandwich into my hand. “I figured you’d say that. Eat this on your way to the bedroom.”

In between bites I got out, “Why the urgency? You binge watch a bunch of Robert Pattinson movies again?

“No. An article I read said that sex raises your heart rate and burns calories more than even mowing the lawn. I have to get to 116 beats per minute to get my badge, so stop talking and fuck me so I can lose weight.”

She rolled onto her back and spread ’em. I started to protest, as I still had half a sandwich left, but…what the hell. I jammed it into my mouth and hopped on. Something told me she wasn’t worried about formalities.

I have to say, it wasn’t the most erotic of boinks. NewWifey(tm) held her wrist in front of her face the entire time, monitoring her heart rate. I had half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sticking out of my face, and because I couldn’t chew or swallow while both my hands were bearing my full weight on the mattress, a constant stream of saliva trickled past the breading and onto NewWifey(tm)’s forehead.

After about 3 minutes she pushed me off. “This isn’t working. Let’s try doggie style.”

I hurriedly downed the rest of the sandwich while she got in position. I wish she’d remembered milk.

I saddled up, and we took off. NewWifey(tm) had one hand down on the mattress, the other bent in front of her face so she could read the numbers.

Another three minutes and then, “You really suck at this. My heart rate isn’t going up at all! Get off.”

Man, talk about a college flashback.

As I mentioned earlier, I really admire NewWifey(tm)’s ability to rationally formulate a plan in even the most stressful of situations. And believe me, this was stressful.

“Ok” she said. “Lie on your back. This time I’ll do the work.”

That scared me, mostly because of the look on her face when she said it. “Grim determination” is not the expression you want to see on the face of someone who’s about to start bouncing up and down on a particularly vulnerable member of your…well, on your particularly vulnerable member. But I didn’t have a choice. I lay back and braced for impact.

You know what I discovered? It turns out it doesn’t matter WHAT kind of look is on the face of the naked girl bouncing on top of you. It feels great.

Too great.

NewWifey(tm) heard me starting to breath hard and tore her eyes off the FitBit. To her horror saw that mien start to creep across my features. The mien that said, “In about 40 more seconds I’m gonna suddenly fall asleep.”

“You better not!” she said. “Goddam you, DON’T. I’m at 109 – if you stop now I’ll kill you. Think about dead puppies! Nuns! Nuns killing puppies! Puppies killing nuns!!

I closed my eyes and thought of nuns, but all I could see was Jane Curtin’s nun character tearing her top off in the movie “Nasty Habits”. This wasn’t helping.

Desperate, I went nuclear.

Let me call you ‘James‘” I gasped.


Just do it!!

“Fine, if you think it will help.” She resumed bouncing.

It helped. “Hey, James” I said.

That’s all it took. Crisis averted. I was good to go again.
















She screamed. “ONE SIXTEEN! I DID IT!!

So did I.

40 seconds later I was asleep. No stamina at all.

I think I better get a FitBit….


This Sunday is my birthday, and in case you missed it NewWifey(tm) has a tradition of making me an authentic Sicilian cassata cake every year on the day:



Sierra Exif JPEG

Guess what I’ll be having this year, though?


I had to have some minor oral surgery yesterday, and my mouth is now full of stitches and raw nerves. For the next week I can’t shovel in anything that needs to be chewed, so I’ve got vats of congee, rice pudding, and various smooth soups lined up in the fridge. Guess I’ll stick a candle in one of them and call it a party.

Can’t even drink.

Pity me.



47 thoughts on “116

  1. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. Your writing is masterful. πŸ™‚

    PS: As a self-professed foodie, I had to watch the video at #4. I’ll never make it but it was interesting. Pecan tassies are on my long LONG cooking bucket list. Cucumbers are NEVER on my shopping list.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, you really must try making tassies. They are SO easy. SO easy. Seriously, just leave the cream cheese and butter out overnight to soften, and you can whip them up the next morning for breakfast before you even get hungry. Try it, you’ll see!

      Lol. Not a cucumber fan either, eh? Can’t say I blame you. They don’t taste like meat.

      Thank you for the wonderful compliment. I’m glad you got a kick out of this one πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I bought a cucumber about 10 yrs ago … my first attempt at making sushi with my nephew. We overcooked the rice. Threw away about 8 rolls. I’ve learned how to make good sushi since. But I’ve never bought another cucumber.

        I’m a facultative carnivore. I’ll EAT veggies if I have to but, if given a choice, I prefer not to. I think I’ve gotten up to a count of a dozen veggies that I’ll eat voluntarily. Cucumbers are only on the list because they put them in the sushi rolls at the place I go to. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 1. This reminds me, I have some cukes, tomatoes, and green onions to make a salad. Going to make a vinaigrette with a pinch of the dill weed before I forget I have it.

    2. If you reap the benefits of NewWifey(TM) and her FitBit craze, everything’s good, right?

    3. I’m not thrilled with plums either, but could always cook an alternative version with a different fruit. I’ve never had pecan tassies. Found a basic recipe. I want to caramelize the filling, though.

    4. Happy almost birthday! You’re old. (Not as old as I am, if I remember right. Still old.)

    5.I’m sorry to hear dental surgery will prevent you from having your Cassata cake and eating it too. That’s also gotta make work challenging for a few days. Here’s to healing quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. Lovely! A real classic.

      2. Dern tootin’!

      3. You’re certainly good enough in the kitchen that you’d have no problem substituting ingredients. The caramelized filling is pure inspiration – do it! And let me know how it goes.

      4. Thank you. And fuck you.

      5. Thank you. For real this time πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love tomatoes and cukes. Was also thinking this would be a good base for a chicken pasta version, too. Hmmm…

        I’ll let you know how the tassies come out. I’m a sucker for caramel anything and this recipe screams for it

        You’re welcome for the birthday wishes. And you wish on the FU sentiment. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you do the tomato/cuke thing with chicken, can I suggest two things? First, salt the cukes and let them drain for a while. Do the same with the tomatoes, but also do a concassΓ©. Otherwise you’ll probably end up with so much liquid it will dilute the flavors and also probably make the pasta mushy.

          Of course, you probably already know that. But I like typing πŸ™‚


  3. Must admit I was laughing out loud at this as well. I must ask if new wifey ever reads your blog and if so, what her reaction to it is. Or is new wifey a figment of your imagination–just a fill-in dream between bites of pecan tassies and plum custard?

    Your spouse’s cakes are amazing, but your proclaimed expertise in working with baking ingredients at hand prompt me to consult you instead of her over a present cooking dilemma. For Xmas I bought a huge number of dinner rolls at Costco, only to find neither of my house guests ate bread. So, I froze the big bag of dozens of rolls and since I left for the beach soon after Xmas, brought them with me. Now I find myself with the task of figuring out what to do with them and since I also brought the ingredients for another recipe we failed to bake, I have decided to try to transform the baked rolls into cinnamon rolls. I have brown sugar, agave syrup, butter, walnuts, sliced almonds, dried cranberries and a number of other ingredients that don’t seem relevant to the task. As well as three dozen thawed-out cooked dinner rolls. Do you have any idea about how to recoup my losses and make them into something my friends will actually eat? Or do I acknowledge my mistake and just feed the rolls to the gulls?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Different friends, by the way, who would probably agree to eat bread. Especially if it were disguised as cinnamon rolls. I do, by the way, have cinnamon and regular sugar as well. And several small grocery stores within short walking distance. And a coffee place that sells cinnamon rolls, but that wold be cheating.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks so much for the nice words! Glad to hear you’re a girl who appreciates good smut, even if it IS with an imaginary wife. (BTW, we met online so she was well aware of my writing style by the time we got together. If fact, after reading my posts she’ll sometimes say ‘Make me meaner! Make it more graphic!” I think it’s me that’s more horrified by her sometimes rather than the other way around.)

      Ok, cooking advice.

      First, and most important: dump those “friends”. They don’t eat bread? Uh-uh. Nope. Bye, chicas. You shouldn’t be consorting with non-humans.

      I have to admit I’m working from a position of ignorance here. I’ve never used pre-made rolls, nor agave syrup, so I’m not familiar with, oh, little things like “flavor”, “texture”, and “what the hell is agave syrup??” (Actually I do know what it is, just not its cooking properties. Does it burn? Is it really sweet? You know, minor things like that.)

      However my gut instinct would be to turn that pile of ingredients into a bread pudding rather than cinnamon rolls. Why? Because cinnamon and other sweet rolls are generally baked off from raw dough. I gather the pile of rolls clogging your kitchen are all pre-baked, right? I’d be worried about serving really tough rolls if they were to be tossed back into the oven and basically double-baked. Even with a topping of syrup and other flavorings, I think that’s a difficult proposition.

      But if you can get a hold of some eggs and milk, tearing those rolls up and covering them with a liquid custard is a classic way to prevent that. And honestly, if you mix in those various nuts, dried berries, and all that other stuff, it will make for a pretty impressive presentation – and not one they’ll likely got too often, unlike cinnamon rolls.

      I do have other suggestions, but that seems the best and most obvious one to me, as well as the one that requires the least amount of work. Just butter a big roasting pan, tear up the rolls, pour a custard over the top, mix in the ancillary flavorings, and bake it off. Maybe throw a tub of vanilla ice cream on the table next to it.

      Waddaya think? What that helpful, or should I go ask NewWifey(tm) what SHOULD be done?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Too early in the morning to ask NewWifey as I’m sure it would involve activities that would make you late for work. Actually, I inspired myself and after I wrote begging your assistance, I took a half stick of butter, dumped in some brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon, crushed up some walnuts and put the bowl of it into the microwave for a minute or so. Perhaps two minutes. I cut some of the rolls in half and dipped each in the molten concoction, then poured the rest over the top and put them in my toaster oven for a few minutes. I actually made two batches, but burned the second a bit. The first batch was delicious! But, I’m going to try making bread pudding out of the rest. What a good idea. Problem is that it is blistering hot here at the beach during the day, so I’ll wait and do it tonight. I knew you’d have a suggestion and that it would be really vague–that you wouldn’t even hint at ingredient proportions. That’s actually the way I cook as well but my mother had an incredible custard recipe I wish I had with me. Oh well, Martha Stewart probably has one online that will come in a close second. Thanks very much for responding so quickly and well and I’m relieved to hear your first hint of an admission that your NewWifey stories might be fictional. But, only those who bother to read comments will ever hear a breath of it. And most will probably forget. But for a few more years, at least, as my memory holds out, as I read your scurrilous accounts of home life, I will have in the back of my mind the real Wifey whose disposition is more in line with her sweet looks and beautiful birthday cakes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Woo hoo, look at you go! I’m so glad to hear your ad hoc microwaved cinnamon roll concoction came out fantastic. I always love hearing when things I wouldn’t consider actually work quite well. Now I know!

          Lol – you know what’s funny? I completely forgot there are other parts of the world that are warm! Talk about parochial, huh? Yup, it’s all about me.

          Aww, you don’t need no steenkin’ recipe. Have some faith in your abilities! Just get a couple of eggs, beat ’em up, and add cow stuff until it looks custard colored. You can’t mess it up! Your mom would be proud πŸ™‚

          HA! Don’t let my devious little wife fool you. “Sweet disposition”, her ass. Do you know what she wants chicled into her tombstone? It’s a quote she saw, “Here lies NewWifey(tm), demure at last”.

          She does make some fine lookin’ cakes though, I’ll give her that….


              1. I’m a network announcer, so I am heard on a number of stations – I don’t have my own show. My studio is in Rutherford NJ, just across the Hudson River from midown Manhattan. I’m mostly heard in the NY/NJ area, but sometimes do work for affiliate stations in other markets around the country. I’m kind of professional sidekick πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on so many accounts, I had to just stop counting. Happy Birthday and happy healing, no matter where one gets stitches in their head until they are out, life’s a bitch. PS – a Dry January has proven to me good sleep is possible for women over 50! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor Danger’s mouth sucks to miss out on all that great food… and cake! Hopefully NewWifey will take pity on you and make it later when you can eat it. But as always fucking loved the story. But hey layin’ back letting her do all the work can’t be all that bad

    Liked by 1 person

              1. Not really. Though I know I’d probably get slapped if I said something was better than sex with my beau. Then again he’d probably also try to prove it wrong too which I wouldn’t be opposed to.

                Liked by 1 person

  6. That exact fitbit (purple band and all) is how I lost 20lbs before my wedding. I wore it during sex too and it didn’t give me what I wanted either (said I burned less than 100 calories over about an hour; I call bull shit). Has she been logging her food with the app? That’s what I did and though I hated it at times, that’s probably how I lost all the weight. I have a gym membership myself, but if she wants some at-home work outs, there are plenty of HIIT workouts on youtube that would for sure get her heart rate up until it warms up.


    1. An HOUR? How many guys did you marry???

      I have to admit, I start playing the SpongeBob theme song in my mind when NewWifey(tm) starts going into detail about her FitFunctions, so I’m not sure. Thanks for the advice though, I’ll pass it on to her if I ever manage to return to the present during one of her sessions.

      (BTW, good on ya for losing the weight and hitting the gym! That really is very inspirational πŸ™‚ )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I factored in foreplay and recovery, but even so, I was a sweaty mess by the end (a sign of a good time-always πŸ˜‰ ) and my BPM averaged around 90-100. Just like it not being built for swimming, I don’t think they’re built for tracking intercourse-at least not accurately.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s where you and I differ. I’m a sweaty mess at the start.

          And during.

          And by the end.

          How could an activity tracker neglect the fact that sex is a real workout if you’re fat enough to need an activity tracker? Talk about a no brainer! I bet it was designed by Mormons or ultra orthodox Jews. “How many calories could possibly be burned by cutting a hole in a sheet and praying with your eyes closed? Let’s not included it.”

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Cucumbers deserve better! You must come up with a nice recipe, throw some Sriracha or harissa. She will go nuts. Or cucumbers for them!

    my sympathies about your mouth problem – I am almost at 1 year anniversary of braces, and I can tell you one thing, it is a constant struggle and suffering and pain and I am not a Drama Queen at all. Just saying as it is.

    ok, let’s have some porridge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, I had no idea you’ve had braces in that long! I hope you’re careful with your poor husband’s…er….lips. How much longer do you have to suffer with them? Yeah, you and I can definitely bond over a bowl of gruel any time.

      Ohhhhhhhhhhhh no. No harissa or Sriracha or even spicy Doritos for my delicate little flower of wife. She wilts at anything farther up the Scoville scale than a lime popsicle. This is probably the greatest disappointment in our marriage, as far as both of us are concerned.

      However, I have made interesting things with cukes before, if only because I myself very much like them. I have an old recipe for Austrian stuffed cucumbers taken from the “Time Life Foods of the World” series that’s fun to make and tastes pretty good. Once in a while I’ll make cold cucumber soup during the summer, yogurt based and flavored with mint from our garden and sometimes Thai basil and lime. And one thing my wife does enjoy very much, of all things, is the cucumber compound butter I use sometimes as a topping or spread for various dishes. (If you make it, make sure you draw out as much water as possible first. I often double salt it – once after a rough chop, and again after smooshing it into a puree.)

      More gruel!



      1. I have probably another year to go – I don’t want to ask my orthodontist because I am afraid of the answer, but the original plan was about 2 years – so yeah, 13 months to go. Cucumber compound butter… WOW.. now that’s something very intriguing! I know I will love it

        Liked by 1 person

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