Saturday, May 2, 2020

Tobi Alfier - Mid-Life Crisis in Quarantine


Meet Big Marv. He’s my dad. He’s about 5’ 10’ and weighs as much as one of my legs, but he’s called Big Marv because he used to belong to a gym where there was a littler Marv.

When he had his first mid-life crisis, he didn’t buy a Corvette. He didn’t buy a boat. He took a ceramics class. I have a bank he made me—he says it’s a bank. It looks more like a whale.

Now whether it’s mid-life crisis #2 or just being quarantined, he and my mom are still taking the dog for long walks, they’re still going to the dog park and maintaining social distance, but now that he has his shoulder-to-hand cast off (the result of their dog not wanting to maintain social distance), Big Marv has found himself a new hobby…cooking.

Acquiring 
cookbooks 
and magazines:

There are more opportunities to acquire these and other books besides buying from the “Big One”. Our beloved independent bookstores, while not able to open for browsing, are still probably open for mail order. The trick is finding the information on their websites, which may or may not have been updated.

Here is the address for Space Cowboy Books on-line bookstore:


These stores still have bills. They still have taxes to pay. And truthfully, some of them will close and never reopen. But we’re writers. And readers. And artists. We may need things we can get from our beloved local stores. So please try not to forget about them. Even if we’re not walking past their open doors on the way to our monthly Open Mics. For those who don’t live near Joshua Tree, you can support your own local bookstore by going to the main page of bookshop.org and entering your zip code. 

So yeah, Big Marv is reading Cooking Light and Bon Appetit, and cooking for my mom. Which is kind of funny because she’s a GREAT cook!!!  And she has TONS of cookbooks!!!

According to my dad, after reading his new magazines:

“I used your mom’s recipe for Oatmeal pancakes.
2 cups of milk
1/3 cup salad oil (I substituted butter)
3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups of uncooked oats

2 eggs
2 T sugar (I substituted brown sugar)
1 tsp salt

I also added:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup toasted walnuts

I had them for breakfast this morning with sliced bananas and syrup. Yum.
XOXO”

This is my dad who burnt his eyelashes off blowing out a tortilla that caught fire in the toaster oven!! My dad who doesn’t realize there’s more to a recipe than the ingredients. So yes, he has cooking magazines.

What else can we get at the local bookstore?

Our store is different than yours, of course, but here are some of the things we can get by mail order:

Gift bags and tissue paper – If you read last week’s blog, know that my gift wrapping skills are the same as my sewing skills. Non-existent. Still, a gift isn’t a gift unless it’s wrapped. I’m thankful that pretty bags and matching tissue count as wrapping these days.

Gift cards – It’s not just about Christmas, there are graduations and birthdays all year long. Even though we’ve all done it, we’re not supposed to send cash in the mail. So send a gift card and make sure the website is somewhere on your card.

BOOKS! – Every single Facebook friend has a new book coming out. Some, like mine, are only available from the publisher (or directly from me).

Last year you may have voted in the contest to decide what color the cover would be when Rich republished “Sanity Among the Wildflowers”, my very first chapbook ever. I just ordered thirty-five copies from Space Cowboy Books.* If you’d like a copy, please put your email address in the comments below. OR - of you prefer, go to my facebook page (click here) and message me. I’ll contact you for your name and address, and send you a copy of my new book too. And thank you.

*Editor butting in note: Tobi could have ordered from the printer at deep discount, but in these times she made the very cool decision to order the book at retail cost through the bookstore as a cool method of receiving her books and helping the bookstore at the same time. This means she had to pay extra for tax, shipping, and per book cost; but she felt strongly that helping the bookstore was a good way of keeping the economy moving along. Tobi is a hiding-in-the-background hero. So, to "the rest of the story..." 

Calendars – When I supervised a team, I got them calendars based on their personalities. It was a ton of fun trying to figure out who would be the best choice for what. And if you’re like Jeff and I, we buy our calendar super early to write down when submission windows open.

Puzzles!!!!! – I see your pictures on Facebook. Nothing wrong with working on a thousand-piece puzzle in good daylight.

Board Games, dominoes, decks of cards, Tarot cards – these make great pieces for collages and all sorts of cool art. My art skills are about the same as my sewing and gift-wrap skills, but if I were artistic, I’d TOTALLY steal pieces from games and use them!!

Let’s talk about browsing:

We’re all kind of rolled under the bus right now. We can’t browse.  Dang it.
Most important? If you have a big dog and you’re a little person, please be careful. Being in a full-arm cast in hot weather is not comfortable. You won’t be able to make pancakes, most art, or comfortably use a keyboard until the cast comes off.

I’ll watch the comments and contact you for your address so I can send you a book. It will be my pleasure to send you something to read while you’re hanging out and stuck at home. Have a good week. Just because April’s over doesn’t mean the poetry stops. Oh, and if you don’t use all the bananas on your pancakes? Make banana bread. It’s so easy even I can make it. xo

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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.


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