Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's been a long fall, y'all

Let's be clear about one thing: I do not have time to write this post. However, I need to sit here, drink a glass of wine, and think about something other than the thing that has been occupying my mind and so much of my time lately, which means I need a distraction. And I just so happen to have a collection of fortune cookie inserts begging to be posted. What, you can't hear them begging? You should listen harder. Or better. Whatever.

This is my most recent collection of fortune cookie inserts. I know what you're thinking. I used to be so organized, keeping my inserts in silver fortune cookies and cookie insert journals. Yeah, well, times have changed. It's a good day if that outlet sees a hair dryer plug. Journaling about my fortune cookie inserts is not at the top of my list. 

If you were thinking that this is less of an organizational disappointment and more of a fire hazard, a) you're not welcome here, and b) I think that every time I brush my teeth. (Note to self: move cookie inserts to side of mirror.)

A few hours ago, Pam tweeted this photo to me, with the caption, "Two for two on the not-a-fortunes tonight":
"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."
"A purpose is the eternal condition for success."

She is correct in her assessment; however, I think there is some truth to those not-a-fortunes, no? 
Pam's tweet - and that fire hazard collection pictured above - prompted this post.

The last time I blogged was October 9th. In the past seven weeks, a lot of people have shared fortune cookie inserts with me and I have eaten a lot of Chinese food. I do not promise to have saved everything people have sent me, nor do I promise to post every insert. But in the interest of removing the fire hazard clearing the books, here we go:

In mid-October, one of my longest-standing friends, Frank (whose blog you should visit if you haven't already), sent me this combination of inserts, which is ripe for analysis if only I had the time:
"A thrilling time is in your immediate future."
"It takes more than good memory to have good memories."
"You should enhance your feminine side at this time."

Apparently I had Chinese food on October 18th, as I have this saved in my iPhoto:
"It doesn't matter, who is without a flaw?"
You've gotta love a good non-specific not-a-fortune.

The Texas Book Festival came just a few days later, and it seemed like a particularly cruel form of punishment that I was stuck working in my study in the library just blocks from the festivities all weekend and unable to partake. It was pure irony when I cracked open a fortune cookie to read this:
"A house without books is like a room without windows."
And I was in a room without windows. But in a building full of books. Blocks away from a book festival. Cue confusion.

I turned 32 the following week. I wasn't interested in celebrating, but I have fantastic friends who insisted. Colleen and Amy took me to P.F. Chang's downtown, where we enjoyed an appetizer of crispy green beans (my favorite), sesame chicken, kung pao shrimp, and mongolian beef (my new favorite). After all of that, I was presented with these banana spring rolls:
The photo does not do them justice. I am hungry just thinking about all of this. Does anyone want to go back to P.F. Chang's with me?

Now, it is at this point in the meal that we ran into some trouble. Colleen opened her fortune cookie to find this:
Needless to say, she was disheartened. She asked me the protocol in such a situation. I told her my college roommate ran into this very same predicament almost a year ago. Amy and I were dissatisfied with our inserts:
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."
[I think this was Amy's original insert, but it could have been mine.]
"Your love of music will be an important part of your life."
[I think this was my original insert, but it could have been Amy's. I didn't label the photos.]

Given our dissatisfaction and Colleen's empty cookie - and, let's not kid ourselves, the fact that it was my birthday dinner - we asked for new cookies. What? Don't act like you've never done that.

These are Amy's and Colleen's replacement actual fortunes:
"Keep true to the dreams of your youth."

"Honesty and friendship bring you fortune."

This is my replacement actual birthday fortune:
"The best times of your life have not yet been lived." 

Now, it is important to note that, while this is an excellent birthday fortune, I know it was not planted or somehow selected specifically for me. How do I know that? Because I used my Audriella's patented method of mixing up the cookies and making each person choose her own fortune. Duh.

A few days later, I went to visit my parents and celebrate my birthday with them. Because I love you, dear readers (and because I am facebook friends with most of you, which means you've already seen this), I will share a glimpse of what transpired when my mother and I were left alone in a big box store that weekend:
(Yes, this is what 32 looks like. It isn't pretty.)

Moving on...the same weekend, K-Felts texted me this photo of the message on the end of her teabag:
"Work, but don't forget to live."

After a long day teaching on Halloween, I went to the grocery store and then ordered Chinese food.
"Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend."

Erin's mom came to visit from California around the same time.
Erin: "A pleasant surprise is in store for you soon."
Erin's mom: "Now is a good time to explore the nearest coastline!"
(Was Erin's mom's visit a pleasant surprise for her? Did Erin want her mom to "explore the nearest coastline" immediately? We'll never know...)

Teresa labeled this fortune "sentimental" and a "keeper":

"Love is a present that can be given every single day you live."

While prepping Jorge (pictured below) for Erin's birthday bash, Myrtle and I enjoyed some Chinese delivery from my favorite neighborhood haunt.

For reasons I can no longer recall (32 can suck it), but probably because there were three fortune cookies and only two of us, we let my dog The Nickel (remember him?) have one.
"Do not mistake temptation for opportunity."

It turns out this was the perfect warning for The Nickel, as he tried to eat his own not-a-fortune:

Myrtle's fortune cookie insert read like a lyric from a Madonna song: "Express yourself: Don't hold back!" (Am I the only one who hears "Express yourself, don't repress yourself" from her Human Nature album? btw, that link will take you to the awesome YouTube video of the song. Do it.)
My not-a-fortune is torn in the upper corner not courtesy of The Nickel but because the cookie did not want to release it: "Emotion is energy in motion."

He was a tired puppy after all of that excitement:

About a week later, I was gifted with a fortune cookie bearing this:
"Don't pursue happiness - create it."

I wish I could properly convey to those of you who are unaware of what has been preoccupying my time this fall just how on-point the not-a-fortune on the following tiny little slip of paper is. I did not go home to my parents' house for the Thanksgiving holiday, as I usually do, in order to maximize my time spent working. Friday night, after spending the day mired in research and knowing I had several more hours of work ahead of me before bed, I ordered Chinese delivery. I ate my egg drop soup, some of my lemon chicken, and then I opened my fortune cookie:
"A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking."

I am so tired, y'all.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This Post Brought to You by My Mother, the (cookie insert) Hoarder

A week ago, I joined my parents for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in San Antonio. I finished eating and selected my fortune cookie before my parents did:

"If you have no critics, you'll likely have no success."

I think it's a reverse fortune? An unfortune?

My mother's insert:
"In all matters of opinion, you always say it better."

My father and I agreed that this is just another way of saying my mother is always right. She didn't disagree with us.

My father tends to receive very appropriate cookie inserts, and this was no exception:
"It's not the end yet. Let's stay with it."

This might be one of my favorite inserts he's ever received.

It was at this point, after we shared our fortunes and not-a-fortunes, that my mother remembered she had a collection of cookie inserts in her wallet. She began to dig in the outside flap of her wallet and eventually removed five cookie inserts.

"Be mischievous and you will not be lonesome."
"New and rewarding opportunities will soon develop for you."
"Mistakes show us what we need to learn."
"Many successes will accompany you this year."
"It's important to you that money not be important."

And that's not all...

Five days later she emailed me to tell me she found yet another cookie insert on her desk at work:

"Keep your feet on the ground and your thoughts at lofty heights."

 Thanks for your contributions to the blog, Mom!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fortune Cookie Day?

The question mark that concludes the title of this post is no accident. When Blonde Birdie told me that September 13th is Fortune Cookie Day, my response was that we just celebrated National Fortune Cookie Day not too long ago (in July, to be exact). Nevertheless, according to at least one source, it is Fortune Cookie Day. I don't want to be persnickety (okay, I almost always want to be persnickety, but in this case I don't want to direct my persnickety ways at fortune cookies), but what is the deal with all of these dedicated days? Have you noticed that there is a day for everything lately? I'm not complaining about National Beer Day or National Cupcake Day, necessarily, I just think it might be getting a little out of hand. You know what I'd like? National Nap Day. Or week. Or month. Perhaps I'll move to one of those countries where they take the idea of a daily siesta seriously. Where would that be, exactly? Spain? Italy? Fiji? Please say Fiji...

But I digress. Last night I wrote a thank-you note on one of these cards. I'm almost out of them. I suppose I'm in the market for new note cards. Will I find anything as perfect? (Doubtful.)

I received a few cookie inserts since my last post. So did a few of my friends. In celebration of Fortune Cookie Day (whenever that is), here they are:

I received this hedging-your-bets fortune at the end of August:
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

Not long after that, I ordered take out and got three fortune cookies. Apparently, an order for egg drop soup, shrimp spring rolls, and sesame chicken should be enough for three people on a Friday night.
"Joy comes from peace today, save the adventure till next week."

"It is up to you to create your own adventures today!"

At this point I was quite confused. Conflicting advice, much?

"If you want to win anything - a race, your self, your life - you have to go a little berserk."

Berserk it is!

Continuing in the spirit of adventure, Pam shared these inserts:
"Traveling to the south will bring you unexpected happiness."
"You have a charming way with words and should write a book."
(The bottom fortune was Pam's and her partner told her it's true. Awww.)

Erin sent two inserts, both actual fortunes:
"You are next in line for promotion in your firm."

"Something wonderful is about to happen to you."

From the way the fortunes read, Erin's life is about to get very exciting- in a good way!

This not-a-fortune came to me yesterday by way of Single Blonde's co-worker, who received it at lunch at Hwa Yuan Chinese. I had no intention of writing this post but the combination of this insert and Fortune Cookie Day was too strong a temptation.
"A woman who seeks to be equal with men lacks ambition. Ouch!!!"


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Solve the Puzzle

Last weekend I turned down an offer to meet UnScurvyGirl and Mr. Fabulous for dinner so that I could stay in and work. Glamorous, I know. Maybe as a way of showing me what I was missing (or maybe just because she was thinking about me), USG sent me this photo of her Lone Star beer cap:
Can you solve the puzzle?

 While I did miss out on an evening of puzzle solving, beer drinking, hipster watching, and locally sourced, inventive dining, I managed to secure a fortune by ordering takeout from China Hill:
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Are there any more actual fortunes?

Tonight I received this text from G: 
"I'm beginning to wonder if there are any fortunes at all" 
followed by this photo:
"Broke is only temporary; poor is a state of mind."

Yep, that's a not-a-fortune. As is this, shared with me by another friend a few weeks ago:
"Something wonderful is about to happy."

Man, I love an improperly worded not-a-fortune. What's that? This *is* a fortune? Huh. I must have been distracted by the awkward wording and lack of a period.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Write Your Own Not-a-Fortune, Win Things

Do you drink Sweet Leaf Tea? Have you noticed the sayings on the undersides of the caps? They're called Grannyisms. I thought I had featured one or two on the blog in the past but a quick search returned zero results. Sweet Leaf, an Austin-based company (woo hoo!), is running a contest - the Great Grannyism Cap Off Contest. Click HERE to enter or vote on the entries. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Fortuneless Cookie, Baby Slippers, & an Update

First up, no one has commented in response to the questions I posed at the end of the last post. Feel free to click here and do that. I actually want to know what makes you save fortune cookie inserts (or not).

And now, for what's happening in the world of fortune cookies:

Pam shared these two inserts, which she said were not-a-fortunes:

"Someone is looking up to you. Don't let that person down."

"You will bring sunshine into someone's life."

I told Pam that the second is an actual fortune but she says, "Maybe technically, but 'you will bring a phrase from a Stevie Wonder song into someone's life' is a pretty floppy fortune." It's tough to argue with that.

Have you seen these White Lotus "Fortune Cookies"?

Colleen sent me this pic and said the cookie is labeled "fortune cookie" but doesn't offer a fortune, even on the package. Things that make you go hmmm...

And finally, from Uncommon Goods via Myrtle, these adorable Baby Fortune Cookie Slippers, which immediately made me think of Cristina, who guest blogged here and here about her most recent pregnancy and the relevancy of fortune cookie inserts.

The tiny little inserts sticking out of the slippers say "An amazing adventure awaits you" and "From small beginnings come great things." Cristina's baby girl was born just a few weeks ago. Congratulations! Now go kiss that elephant! ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Which Ones to Keep, and Where to Save Them?

A few days ago Jenny Gardiner, whose new book happens to feature fortune cookie inserts in some "relevant" way (perhaps a blog review is in order?), told me she keeps "memorable fortunes" taped next to her desk. One of them reads, "You are the greatest person in the world." It's not a fortune, per se, but probably an insert I'd keep in plain view if I ever received it. Another reads, "You are a happy man," which is maybe a little off target for her but hey, whatever makes you smile, right? 

When Jenny said she has some fortune cookie inserts taped to her desk (or nearby), I responded that I love to hear about places people store their memorable inserts. I most often hear about wallets and refrigerators. (Jenny keeps the inserts in her wallet, too.) I have a few special inserts I keep in plain view, pinned above my desk. One was given to me by UnScurvyGirl; another I received a couple of years ago. I keep the rest of my inserts (fortunes or not) in these two places, which I've written about before:

my first cookie insert holder, courtesy of Myrtle

my newest holder, thanks to Hester

This conversation with Jenny made me wonder: where do you all keep your fortune cookie inserts? More importantly, how do you decide which ones to keep and which to discard, leaving them on the table at the restaurant after having read them aloud to your dining companions, possibly laughing at their messages, or perhaps even carrying them around with you in your wallet for a few days or even weeks and then, upon finding them again and remembering why you saved them in the first place, tossing them in the nearest trash can? Respond in the comments if you feel so inclined...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ah, Perspective

I spotted an unclaimed fortune cookie on the table at work today. I was able to resist for about five hours before cracking it open. Quite a feat, if you ask me.

"Any day above ground is a good day."

Ah, perspective.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

National Fortune Cookie Day

A little birdie (fine, Matt over at My Daily Fortune) clued me in to the fact that today is National Fortune Cookie Day. Although it's also National Lollipop Day, so if you're not a fan of fortune cookies but are craving something sweet, reach for a celebratory Tootsie Pop today. The last time I had Chinese food it was take-out and I didn't get a fortune cookie (boo!), though I was fine with that at first because I thought I had gotten home with an order of shrimp dumplings I hadn't asked for but then I realized the dumplings were the won tons for my soup, packaged separately. Then I was upset about the lack of a fortune cookie. And now I'm kind of mad about it all over again, just recounting it for you here. So, thanks for that.

Nonetheless, it's National Fortune Cookie Day (Maybe? It could also be September 13th, the inter webs are unclear about that.), and though the blog has been somewhat inactive for the past few months, I didn't want to pass up the chance to share the inserts people have been sharing with me. Y'all are so thoughtful. 

Agostinelli sent me this Magic Hat cap. Isn't it perfect? We've all had those days. Maybe you're having one today. You know what to do.

Following dinner with his work friends, BoogieRoc gathered their inserts and found a distinct lack of fortunes in the bunch. One cookie included the same insert three times, which is pretty funny given its message:

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind, and won't change the subject."

 Becky sent me this from Tennessee:
"Be prepared to modify your plans."

 I think this is the first time we've had a cough drop not-a-fortune, courtesy of Hillary:

I am about 99% certain this is from one of my meals, but I can't remember much else about it. Which is maybe ironic:
"Be unconventional, even visionary."

 This also came to me via Twitter, and may be our only actual fortune of the bunch:
"Your eyes will soon be opened to a world full of beauty, charm, and adventure."

My friend Abbey and her father-in-law received the same not-a-fortune after sharing a meal a few weeks ago (and it's one we've seen before):
"Someone is interested in you. Keep your eyes open."

Pam shared hers as well:
"Your judgment is a little off at this time. Rely on friends."
[This reminds me of the "Friends" episode where Rachel decides she sucks at decision-making and tells Monica to make all of her decisions for her.]

Colleen got this not-a-fortune about three weeks ago:
"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."

Last week she received these:
"There is a true and sincere friendship between you and your friends."
"You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability."

I leave you with two photos of beer caps Erin and I collected over the past few weeks:

 The one on the right says, "Ya sure, ya betcha," which I like to say in my best midwestern accent, which is admittedly not very good (it is in fact very, very bad).
The middle cap says, "Washes down whatever the world serves up." This needs to be paired with Agostinelli's cap from the beginning of this post.

Okay, that's all for now. I have a couple of other photos people have shared but am having trouble uploading them right now. It may be National Fortune Cookie Day but it's also a Wednesday and I have important things to do. (What? This isn't important? NO!) Go. Enjoy your day. Eat a fortune cookie. Read the insert. Report back.