Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Waffles, Rook, and a freshly killed pig.

It's 2013. 
 It'll take me a few months before I can accurately document dates on any written communications that require this. 
There will be no 13-13-13 this year.
The Mayans were wrong. Or, maybe misunderstood. Either way, 2013 came. 
We apparently do not skip the number 13, when it comes to years. We sometimes do when numbering floors of buildings or hotel rooms, but years seem to be exempt from the need to implement superstitious avoidance of the number 13. 
It is the year of the snake, according to Chinese zodiac.
Kids born in the 80's sound much older when forced to reveal the year they were born, as 2013 sounds much farther away from 1980-something than 2012 does. 
 Today is January 1, 2013. 
Feels weird to type that. You try now. 
Don't worry, I suppose we'll all get used to it. 

We all get worked up and excited about new years, don't we. 
I'm not sure, exactly. 
I guess we need to officially observe a day that symbolizes new beginnings. Fresh starts are appealing to us. New chances, new opportunities, new year numbers that mess everybody up for a while. 

I was lame last night. I enjoyed my non-celebratory lameness, in all it's lazy and nerdy glory. My wilder days of staying up all night to watch the ball drop on TV are over, I guess. Not that the tradition of observing the dropping of the ball in Times Square is wild, though. I just used to celebrate New Year's Eve the good old-fashioned American way, like that. It involved consumption of alcoholic beverages, celebratory cheering at midnight, and a regrettable hangover on New Year's Day. This year, I said no thank you to all that. 

I spent New Year's Eve at my granddad's house, rather than at a club or party. 

I played cards with my Pawpaw and beat him at Rook. He probably let me win, though nobody better tell me that if he ever discloses it. I will cover my ears and sing 'la-la-las' until you shut up, if you decide to ruin this victorious memory of mine by telling me that Pawpaw strategically lost on purpose to make me happy. I will choose not to believe you. I beat him and nobody's taking that away from me, okay? 

It had been years since I'd played Rook. My dad taught my sister and I how to play cards when we were little, but rules of Rook escaped me last night. My sister helped refresh my memory by giving me a basic run-down of what cards mattered, what cards were to be avoided, etc. I was surprised by how much I'd forgotten about the card game I'd loved so much as a child. 

Nonetheless, I won. Not before my sister had a miraculous come-back hand that won against my shameful, losing last hand of our game. Josh and I were 5 points shy of breaking 500. We'd already gloated...too soon, I'm afraid. We lost. I'll never hear the end of it, I'm sure, since my sister capitalizes on these moments of my defeat. I'd needed a comeback to deal with this tremendous loss against my Rook instructor and younger sibling. 

(Enter Pawpaw)

My grandfather challenged me to keep playing. This time, Josh and I would partner up against Kim and Pawpaw.  My granddad sat down at our card table and issued 9 cards to all players. I watched him shuffle and deal the cards when I noticed a strange, micheivious smirk appear on his face. Picking up the cards he'd given me, sorting through a rainbow of useless numbers, I knew I was in trouble. Pawpaw watched my discontented expressions with amusement that he tried to keep hidden, but the gleam in his dark brown eyes gave him away. 

He loves this, I thought. He knows I don't have a damn thing, I thought.  He knows my cards are worthless, I thought. He knows everything, I thought. 

I've always thought my grandfather knows everything. He doesn't, logic tells me, but his keen ability to size up opponents and dechiper facial expressions suggests otherwise. 

"Whacha gon' bet?," Pawpaw challenged, in a voice and tone that was seasoned with playfulness and humor.

"Uhhh...I bet 40," I said, with uncertainty and confusion written blatantly on my face for all to see.

 Pawpaw chuckled with delight. "Forty?," he asked, though I knew he'd heard me the first time I'd said it.

I was loving this as much as he was, even though I was off to a poor start.
I'd accepted the sureness of my Rook-playing defeat already, since Pawpaw's hours of playing the game are estimated to total at least a year of his lifetime. That kind of experience is hard to top, friends. Not to mention the fact that the cards tossed to my side of the table were horrendous. Even though I knew my low bet was a conservative and responsible strategy, Pawpaw's repetition of my bet value made me question it.

"I'll go a hundred," He said, after I confirmed the 40-point bet that my cards would make impossible to meet. Whatever shocked look came over my face after I heard this outrageously high bet filled Pawpaw with obvious delight. I wondered what cards he had. I wondered if he had anything at all, or simply wished to make the game more interesting by raising my bet. It didn't matter. 100 was out of my range. The extra 7 cards were now his, for Josh and I did not offer a bidding rebuttal that would have grant us the card-altering capabilities which Pawpaw was now afforded.

Regardless of whether or not he'd been bluffing, his odds of winning were increased significantly now. They were before he even sat down to play. Now, they were certain. 

We laughed as round after round of card tossing ensued. Each player poked fun at the others and Rook members gloated when they'd been dealt an unstoppable hand. Pawpaw won that first hand. I somehow managed to make it through the entire game, without receiving any good cards. Until the last hand, that is. Fortunately, that's what won the game. Pawpaw was defeated. I rejoiced and recited back to him all of the gloating comments he'd directed at me throughout the game.  

"How 'bout that, Pawpaw? You like that, huh? A 'hundred little piggies', you said."

Pawpaw has countless expressions that I don't understand. They're very Southern and even though I don't always get them, I love to hear him say things like 'a hundred little piggies' when he makes fun of my 100 value Rook bet. I knew that his expression meant that he thought I couldn't make that bet. What a hundred little piggies have to do with it, I'm not sure. I just know what he means when he says things like that...I think, anyway. He had either doubted by ability to reach that bet, or just wanted to make me sweat it a little. Either way, I referenced those piggies when I ended up with a winning hand that surpassed my 100 bet. Pawpaw loved it. His laughter filled the room and I could tell that he enjoyed my surprised and boastful reaction of winning the game. I did, too.

Either my granddad is a gracious game loser, or he let me win. Winning is winning, however, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. 

I am grateful for my Pawpaw. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for the game of Rook. I am grateful that I spent New Year's Eve with the master of cards and I vow to visit him more often in 2013. I hope to spend next New Year's Eve betting 'a hundred little piggies' again. Winning at Rook is better than watching the ball drop, anyway. 

I left Pawpaw's house last night with a little piggy. This little piggy was wrapped in a soft cloth sack, in the form of fresh country-smoked sausage. Pawpaw slaughters a pig on an annual basis, so that I may eat the most flavorful meat produced ever, in the history of the freakin' universe. Pig lovers, beware, you may not wish to read on. This is no PETA advocacy, here, and the following photos may be disturbing for lettuce-only-eating-rabbits, such as yourself.....

I support ffreshly-killed-by---Pawpaw-piggy for the following reasons:

REASON #1: I shall have a lovely New Year's breakfast-for-dinner meal, thanks to the pig who is now inside this soft cloth sack.

REASON #2: Fresh meat is easy to cook and also quite speedy, especially when meat is not frozen. Set burner to HIGH and a few minutes later, VIOLA! Piggie on a plate. Oh, don't worry. He was tired of rolling around in the mud, anyway.

REASON #3: There shall be leftovers. GLORIOUS LEFTOVERS. You see, friends, one can't consume this entire piggie portion in one sitting. No sirrrrreeeey, Bobskie. One will have leftovers. One will have more meals. One will eat freshly ground sausage without preservatives once or twice again! Horrah for New Year piggie!

Reason #4: Piggie would die without cause if I did not eat him. I didn't tell Pawpaw to kill piggies. He just DOES. Now, what kind of person would I be if I let that pig die for no reason? A vegetarian, more than likely. See, piggy is already dead. He would have liked the idea of people remembering him and talking about how delicious he tasted. He told me so.


Everyone in the world should have this waffle stick maker. It's name is Babycakes. I swear to you, it's the BEST waffle maker I've ever used in my life. I can't stress this to you enough...GO BUY IT. Seriously, I don't really even cook. That's why I love it so much! We didn't even have any eggs to make the waffle mixture when we tried out Babycakes for the first time...yeah, so what? It didn't matter. I managed to sub some secret (or none-of-your-business ingredients) that made the waffle sticks rise like they were meant to do. I'll admit that they didn't taste the same as they would have with eggs. Still, if Babycakes can make my crazy this-n-that mixture into edible and solid food...I applaud it. Oh, and you can bet that Babycakes waffle sticks made Pawpaw-murdered-piggie even more tasty! :)

While I wondered if my make-shift waffle stick eggless concoction would work out, I made some 'taters. putaters...That's how we say it in the South. The rest of you can get used to it. potato, potater, 'tater, know what this picture is and you can bet that they were quite scrumdiddlyumptious. 

Watching the New Year's ball drop was not as great as these waffles. I don't care where you were on New Year's weren't winning Rook or eating THIS. My married-life, piggie-eating, no-egg-waffle-making holiday ROCKED.



This year, I will remember the New Year's Eve that kicked off 2013. 
I will make the most of it.
I will practice at ROOK.
I will see my family more.
I will show them how much I love them.
I will tell Pawpaw how much I enjoyed the poor piggie.
I will tell Mama and Daddy 'thank you' for giving us the Babycakes waffle maker.
I will....


I will stop saying I'm lame for doing what I want. I will-


I AM.    












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