Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Christmas Present Ever

'Are you getting cheese on your Whopper Jr.?

'No. I never get the cheese.

'Why not? It tastes good.

'I don't like it.

'You don't like it?

'Ok, what I mean is I don't like the marked up price for a slice of cheese.


'Twenty cents for a slice of cheese when I could buy a whole package for a dollar.


'For 40 years, I never bought the cheese so now we can afford our honeymoon.

After I allocated my life savings from 10,000 cheeseless hamburgers, my wife Beth and I had a magical honeymoon in Vermont.

Timothy Earl Somero happily married Beth Alisa Slusser-Dunn on December 24, 2011 at 5:00 PM.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


'Why are those carrots there?'

I look to the ottoman and see a huge bag of carrots.

'My roommate.


'Last November, my roommate decided to get healthy so he bought that bag of carrots.

'Ok, it's April now.

'Yeah, I know, but he pulled the carrots out of the fridge a few days ago.

Eyebrows furrow.

'So he takes a carrot out of the bag, slimy, slightly soft, and tries it. It's no good. Looks like he hasn't moved the carrots since then.


Quiet relaxation on the couch.

We stare at the carrots.

'I'm going to put the carrots in the bathtub.

I smile.

She moves.

I hear the heavy thunk of carrots in the tub.

'Let me know how long they stay in there, ok?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Change Springs in the Raspberry Patch

Last year I left a job undone in my raspberry patch. I dead headed the southern slope of the patch and the northern side was left in thick messy brambles.

I start on the north side today and at high noon lose interest before going inside. Inner resolve drives me so after an Internet conversation with my cousin, I return to the patch.

First, I collect dead, dry vines into piles.

I look at the patch and decide to sweep the patch progressively in rows, north to south.

Inch by inch and foot by foot, I snap dead dry vines near the roots and toss them into the gusting wind as they carry out of the patch.

I measure my progress after each successive row.

I sigh and lean over to continue.

Inch by inch.

Foot by foot.

I settle into a routine of snapping dead vines and I see a root system at the base of each clump.

A source.

My late Hawaiian friends words, 'Nana e ke kumu.' come to mind.

Look to the source.

My routine becomes rhythm as I take hold over each root, twist to hear the crack of old vines and the live ones bend, pliable.

Look to the source.

I stretch at the end of a row and walk around to lean over and start again.

With little thought before beginning my effort, I wear woolen glove inserts.

Prickers pass occasionally into my fingers.

Find the source, hold above the root, twist the wrist, remove the dead vines.

Leave the live ones.

I feel my bare wrist reddened as prickers touch it again and again.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

I continue and see the edge of the patch.

Every year, I try a raspberry and it lands in my mouth. My eyes squinch into a grimace. Yecch. But producing gallons of raspberries with little effort is a delight to my friends and family.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

I look back through where I moved and see mixed results. Some dry vines stand, maybe as a memorial. Some live vines nestle within the piles outside the patch.

Some fertile dark soil turns skyward as I pass.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

The wind gusts carry the dead and dry vines as I toss them, landing in misshapen piles. The sun bright, sky blue.

Funny, I think, that rebirth of any entity often means following the same routine. In the beginning, the messy brambles are a singular entity. The reclamation process is not immediately clear, but clearly necessary.

With time, patience, and persistence, a simple routine emerges.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

When I finish, I cast ashes into the patch as the wind splays them through the standing live vines. I toss used chicken bedding into the wind cast among the vines.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

Change springs in my raspberry patch.

Of Mice and Eggs

'I grew up on a farm.'

'A big farm?'

'No. We had chickens. A farm down the road had cows. We had enough chickens for eggs.'

I smile.

'I saw some of the strangest things. Before school, I check to see if there is enough food and water for the chickens.

'One morning, I peer into the hen house and we mounted apple boxes on the wall for the hens to lay eggs. And you know, shavings on the floor.

'The mice.' He laughs.

'Ever see mice in your coop?

I shake my head no.

'One morning, I peek into the coop, notice mice and just watch.

'These are big mice, sort of like rats.

'They were in the apple box and roll the egg to the edge. It drops.

'Now they jump to the floor where the egg is buried halfway into the shavings.

'Remember, they can't roll it through the shavings.

'One mouse huddles over and hugs the egg, leaning back, pressing it to its belly.

'Now get this. The other mouse grabs its tail and starts dragging the mouse, hugging the egg, out of the coop!

'My eyes widen and I run inside, "Dad! Dad! Have you ever seen anything like this?"

'Dad smiles at me nodding.'

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book List

My new ambition is to read again and people are suggesting titles. Rather than let them drift away, here's a start of my book list:

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Toothbrush Story

'Why do you have two empty tubes of anti-itch cream by your sink?'

'I use that stuff for hives.'

'Yeah, but why two empty tubes?'

'Cause if I run out, I slice open the tube and there's enough to get by with.'

'I threw them away.'


'Why did you have two empty things of deoderant by your sink?'

'Cause I throw them in my bag for weekend trips, and throw the deoderant away before I come home. Don't have to buy travel sizes.'

'When was your last weekend trip?'

'Labor Day. I don't have money or vacation right now to travel.'

'I threw them away.'


'Why do you have so many tooth brushes?'

'I like to rotate them.'

'I piled them standing up in the corner.'

'Uhm...did you put my roommate's toothbrush in the pile?'


'That's pretty gross.'

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Avoiding Work

I lived in Minnesota during my 20s and this timeless story springs from that era.

My future brother-in-law sleeps in.

His phone rings.

He answers.


'This is work. Is that you? Are you coming in to work today?'


'Why NOT?'

'Cause I'm stupid.'

The phone clicks back into its cradle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Playground Lunch

The cafeteria where I am working sells fish on Friday. Delicious. I typically buy two servings of fish along with rice and vegetables.

Today, they serve cod.

The happy checkout lady notices a business card fall from my wallet and mentions it.

'Thanks, I saw it fall, too. Two pieces of cod.

'They're real small, but looks good doesn't it?

'Very good.' I nod.

I pick a fork and napkin and go to a table reserved by a co-worker's handbag.

My first co-worker of three joins me and we continue our conversation.

My second co-worker approaches the table with a plateful of protein including ribs, barbecue beef, jalapeno cornbread, and braised sweet potato.

'Wish me luck guys! Can I eat all of this without making my new white shirt all messy?'

We smile.

She pulls the edges by the shoulder of her shirt, 'See? White. Not so much after I eat.'

'Trade?' I ask.

'Serious?' She eyes my cod.

My eyes dart upwards, thinking.

'Yeah. Your lunch looks good.'

Trays pass across the table and we dig in to our unexpected lunches.

My other co-worker says quietly, 'That was the weirdest thing that I ever have seen.'

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

If you make that shot, I will...

Facebook takes me down memory lane and tonight a classmate chats with me. In a different chat window, an online friend asks me about her and I smile into my computer screen.

In high school, I played basketball as often as I could and a few one on one partners stand out, including my classmate.

'Hey Tim.'


'If you make that shot, I'll pull down my pants.


'Ok, if you make that shot three times in a row, I'll do it. Serious.


'Just shoot.

I laugh to myself and tuck under the door to the gym, right shoulder touching the door and look at the shot.

To myself, I think, 'Extend a little to get out from under the door frame, graze the ceiling to get enough loft, aim at the glass and visualize where the hoop really is not where it looks.'

I take a breath, relax, and smile.


'Shoot already!

My fingertips touch the ball at the seams and replay the motion in my mind, close my eyes, open them, and take the shot.


My eyebrows raise as I smile, 'Ready for the second shot?'

I look at my friend's face turn white.

She's nervous.

I laugh, receiving the ball. 'Ready?

Her eyes narrow.

I relax, hold the ball, dribble, mentally planning things. My right shoulder touches the door.

I release the ball and watch it pass over the glass.


I smile.

Silence now as she passes the ball back.

I laugh.

But while I dribble and before setting up the shot in my mind, I worry.

I make this and will she really do it?
Will she pull down her pants?
Do I want her to?

I mean, I can make it. But...

I relax, touch my shoulder to the door and remember how I moved to make the first two. My mind goes through the shot. Relax.

I laugh recklessly, 'Just shoot...'

I release the ball and it arcs through the air, passing the glass.


I laugh now, worried and wondering and anxious wildly wondering, 'Will she?'

She narrows her eyes, upset.

She walks to the other gym door and leans over, hands down unbuttoning.


She's serious!

Zip! Before I realize it, her pants drop!

Oh no!

Then I laugh.

She turns to look at me while she pulls up her pants.

My heart stammering, pounding.

She wins! And she leaves the gym.

All I saw were her white spandex shorts!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You're Getting Old Tim

My mouth open, waiting, a bright light at the bottom of my peripheral vision.

'You're getting old, Tim.' He says, 'Give Tim the mirror so I can show him what's going on.'

The dental hygenist hands me the mirror as Dr. Giaimo prods my teeth, 'See that hole there? The enamel is wearing off and there's only dentin. So you can expect sensitivity from time to time like you had.'

'I'll have to fix that someday. That mark there is nothing to worry about, but that filling on the next tooth is wearing out so I'll have to replace that when I fill in the hole.

'But if you look on the other side, you have one on that tooth, too. That's most common to have them one each side.

'Overall, looking good though. See you in August, ok?

Later in the day, I reflect on holding the mirror, because I remember in the early 80s when I watched intently in the reflection off his glasses.

Eventually, he handed me a mirror to watch better.

In the 70s, he had a fish tank in the office and my siblings and I would watch the huge fish swim around while we waited for our turn in the chair.

In the 80s, Dr. Giamimo buys a bottle of Mountain Dew in the local pizza parlor and drops a tooth in it. Mountain Dew is the local beverage also known as Finn Beer.

Our community is fascinated by the slow motion drama as the tooth gradually decays in the sugary drink until it becomes a powdery residue on the bottom of the bottle.

I ask a year ago, 'Still have the Mountain Dew bottle?

'Yes.' And he laughs in his familiar and comforting way.