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.