Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

A Simple Bob

When it comes to haircuts, I don’t have a regular schedule of when I get it done.  My barometer is when it drives me nuts, then I go get it cut. 

I’m quite a simple person, very low-maintenance, if I do say so myself.

One recent evening, I walked into the house after getting a haircut.  Zen Mum took one look at me and declared “I want my hair cut too!”

Her schedule, on the other hand, is whenever I get one.

Because I’m her hair stylist.

Okay, so long story.  My favorite haircut is a simple bob.  Simple and low-maintenance.

Like me.

Just in case you forgot.

After so many years of getting it done, I started paying attention to how people cut my hair.  And I tried it out on Zen Mum one day, many many years ago.  You know, just to see if I could do it.

It was a real vote of confidence when Zen Mum didn’t cringe at me coming at her with scissors.

And now I’m the only person who touches her hair.

Yep, besides being simple and low-maintenance, I’m also free.

Luckily, I don’t have to worry about Zen Master’s hair since, you know, he’s bald.

“I am not bald.”  Zen Master corrects.  “I shave my head.  There’s a difference.”

Okay, fine.

But I don’t have to worry about trimming his hair.

So what did I just do for Zen Mum this week?

Yup, she loves bobs too.

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Phalaenopsis Orchid

Remember this little beauty?

My beautiful gift that someone gave to me for Christmas?

This wonderful Phalaenopsis Orchid.

It went full bloom.

And the instruction manual that came with it said that it usually lasts a couple of months. 

Well, this is what I have to say.

Phooey at the instructions!  I spit at the instructions for it know not what it say!

I laughed at those instructions, because Zen Master and I have green thumbs, and between the two of us, this beauty shall live beyond those miserly couple of months. 

It shall live and bloom for us always!

So sayeth Sally in the Zen!



Here she is.

Can we say bald chicken?

Yes, that one bloom at the top right of the picture is drooping.  In a little bit, that droopy bloom shall breathe its last gasp and fall off.

It couldn’t have been its exposure to direct sunlight, when the instructions clearly said that it can’t be exposed to direct sunlight.


And it couldn’t have been its daily watering, when the instructions clearly said that it should be thoroughly watered and not watered again until nearly dry, but not until bone dry.


Let me just state for the record that it’s not my fault.

Because it’s not.

The instructions did say that it normally lasts a couple of months.  And it has been a couple of months.

So it’s, um, right on schedule.

“It’s going to be completely bald soon!”  Zen Mum wails each time she steps into her bedroom and catches sight of the orchid.

Yup, that’ll be a sight to behold when that happens.

Morale of this lesson:  find another orchid.

The End.

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Milk Kick

Zen Master, Zen Mum and I don’t really have a favorite supermarket.  We tend to go visit and wander around everywhere because, you know, it has food.  Rows and rows of colorful, bright, fragrant edibles!

And very pretty, fragrant flowers.



With Zen Master now into his milk kick, with his two big glasses of milk a day, he’s starting to pay attention to other things in the world of dairy.

Like organic.

“Is it really organic?”  He asked as he slid his glasses on and peered closer at the sign that says ORGANIC milk.  “How do we really know if it’s organic?”

I shrugged.  “Maybe that’s why they put that ORGANIC sticker on it.”

But Zen Master persisted.  “But is it really organic?”

“Why don’t we keep the receipt, just in case?”  I suggested.  “Try it out and if you’re happy with it, I bet they’ll give us back our money.  No big deal.”

Zen Mum peeked into the grocery cart.  “Isn’t milk…milk?

Excellent question.

Inquiring minds want to know.

So as soon as we got home, Zen Master broke into the milk and poured himself a full cup of the organic milk.

Zen Mum and I crowded around Zen Master, waiting for him to stop pondering and musing and just spit it out.

But rather than waiting for his verdict, I grabbed a mug and sampled some for myself.

It was cool, quite refreshing.

It was smooth and quite creamy.

It was..milk.

And I promptly got the runs.

Yes, my name is Sally and I forgot that I’m a little lactose-intolerant.

Oh well.

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Crow like a Rooster

Zen Master is always telling me stories of his childhood, growing up on a farm in rural China.  He would tell me about the chickens in his yard, his pet goose playing with his pet cat and his pet dog.  He would relive for me moments of time from his memories of his home.

So, a few years ago, I brought home two small black travel alarm clocks, one for Zen Master and one for Zen Mum.

Because these cute little things could be set up to coo-coo like a cuckoo clock or crow like a rooster.

Kinda like this little guy.

I mean, how cute is that?

“I haven’t heard a rooster crow since China!”  Zen Master replied as he watched me fiddle with the programming on the alarm clock.  “Are you sure it sounds like a rooster?”

Always a doubting Thomas, Zen Master.

But he took to the alarm clock as soon as that darn thing crowed.

So I programmed both alarm clocks to crow.

How cute would that be, to have two roosters crowing in the morning?


Okay, now that we’ve had them for a number of years, I can say…

…they’re not that damn cute anymore.

What the heck was I thinking?

Every morning those darn roosters shriek and I want to kill them!

I want to throw my shoe at them and make them shut up!

There’s actually no volume control and I know that my neighbors can hear them!

When you don’t push the snooze button on them right away, those damn roosters would crow louder and faster!


“Don’t even think about it.”  Zen Master warns me whenever he sees that gleam in my eye.  “Those are my roosters.”

“They’re alarm clocks, not a roosters.”

“I like them, so keep your paws off my roosters.”

Yeah, now I think twice whenever I come across something “cute”.

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Mood Swings

Warning:  this subject may offend fragile sensibilities. 

Don’t say you weren’t warned.


Okay, so I’m PMSing today.

Yes, yes, I know.  TMI (Too Much Information).

But hey, I’m just keeping it real.

Let me just make an observation here.

I’ve noticed since I passed the 40 mark, things have started to act funny.  Mood swings were rare during this particularly wonderful time but nowadays


….it’s all about the freaking mood swings now!

There’s no happy medium with them either.  Because it ranges from one extreme end to the other with nothing in between.

And for me, that means…

… I either get really, really snarky or just downright depressed.

Zen Master:  Do you want some blue cheese and crackers for a snack?

Me:  (baring my teeth)  I don’t want any stinkin‘ cheese!

Zen Master:  Oh-kee…

Zen Mum:  (rambles up to stand beside me)  We need to get more zucchini because we’re finished with the last batch.  Okay?

Me:  (giving her the extreme evil eye).

Zen Mum:  Uh oh.

When I’m finally left on my lonesome, I fidget.  I stand up because I can’t stay still.  I sit down because I don’t want to stand.  I stare at my stack of library books on my bed and I have absolutely no interest in reading them.  I stare out the window and hear the birds and have absolutely no interest in their noise.  I hear my parents chattering in the living room and I have absolutely no interest in being with people.

I look at the sunlight streaming through my window and think Hah!  What a joke!  It looks like spring out there but it’s still freaking winter!  What a con!

I want to SCREAM, just for the heck of it!

I want to bungee-jump off the Screaming Tower of Terror and shriek like a BANSHEE!

Then I notice Zen Master and Zen Mum tip-toeing into my room.  I snarl at them as they come near me.  Zen Master slowly places Pamprin on the table while Zen Mum puts a glass of milk beside the pills.  I watch as they slowly back out of the room, closing the door behind them.

I have to blink back the tears.

God bless Pamprin.

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A Sweet Craving

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been craving cheesecake.

I don’t know why or where this itch came from, but I’ve been dreaming about creamy, dreamy, decadent cheesecake.

And because I’ve been talking about it to my family, they’re now craving it with me.

Talk about the power of suggestion.

Then one day, a month or so ago, I came home with a couple of pieces of plain cheesecake from Lenny’s Deli, a local store in Baltimore. 

Before I could even take off my coat, Zen Master and Zen Mum tackled me for the goods before disappearing into the kitchen. 

It wasn’t “Hey, how you doing?” or “How was your day, dear?” or “Hurry up and wash up for dinner.”


It went down a little more like this.

Zen Mum:  Kiss, kiss.  Give me that!  (Fastest snatch I ever saw her make.)

Zen Master:  (chasing after Zen Mum)  Hey, where you going with that?  Let me have some!

Cue sound of stampede away into the kitchen.

And to add insult to injury, they didn’t even save me a stinking morsel!

What’s up with that?

For the past number of weeks, we’ve been stuffing our faces with nothing else for dessert.

And let me just say that it’s not my fault!

Like this one from Santoni’s.  Plain, Raspberry, Chocolate Chip and Strawberry.  All quite tasty but to me, their Chocolate Chip Cheesecake wins hands-down.

“What about Cheesecake Factory?”  I asked as we would cruise around to different stores in search of good cheesecake.

“We already had that before.”  Zen Master shrugged.  “It’s okay.”

“Yeah,”  Zen Mum piped up.  “Been there, done that.”

And what did we score recently?

This time, instead of a couple of slices, we got the entire thing from Lenny’s.

Because we can’t get enough of a really tasty cheesecake.

I’m almost tempted to try my hand in making my own cheesecake, just for the heck of it.  But it’s not quite calling me than, say, a honey bread that I would make first before making a cheesecake. 

I’m not quite compelled to make it yet.

Or maybe I’m just plain lazy.

Or maybe I’m getting sick of cheesecake.

So much for a sweet craving.


Note:  Lenny’s Deli and Santoni’s don’t know me from Adam.  I’m not getting one penny from them for writing this.  I just love their cheesecakes and want to spread the word.  Just so we’re clear.

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Roquefort Blue Cheese

The first cheese that Zen Master ever encountered in his youth in China was blue cheese.

“It stank!”  He recalled when a friend shared it with him.  “It was like stinky socks!  Why in the world would anyone eat this stuff?!”

Because he wanted to know what it tasted like, he tried it.

And promptly gagged and threw up.

This is one of his most vivid memories from his younger years.  And every time we go grocery shopping, when we pass the Cheese section, he would always peek at all the wonderful assortment of cheeses and point out always the blue cheeses.

So while we were shopping at Trader Joe’s over the weekend, Zen Master, Zen Mum and I picked up the Roquefort Blue Cheese.

OMG!!  The MOLD!  The MOLD!

Would you LOOK at that MOLD?!

“That’s nothing!”  Zen Master said as he eyed it before taking a deep whiff of it.  “The one I had was moldier and smellier!”

The SMELL!!  OMG, the STENCH!!

OMG!!  The TASTE!!


It was pretty damn tasty!

Me:  UMMM….YUMMM…..SLURP…..DROOL…..must…have…more…moldy…cheese….

Zen Master:  SLURP…UMMMMMHUNMMUUM…..good…cheese....

Zen Mum:  YUCK!!…ACK!!…GAG!!…BLAH!…disgusting

And I flew over to rescue those precious, precious moldy morsels from her plate before she could chuck them in the trash.


Who would have thought that something made out of raw sheep milk in a limestone cave would be so damn tasty?

According to Wikipedia:  “Before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, it was common in country districts for shepherds to apply this cheese to wounds in order to avoid gangrene.

Um, eewww.

Ok.  I think that’s enough information about Roquefort Blue Cheese for me.

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Red T-Shirt

“Do we have a red T-shirt anywhere?”  Zen Master asked dourly, as he wandered from my closet to his closet, and then into Zen Mum’s closet.

“I think we have a red T-shirt somewhere.”  I watched as he came out of the closet and started rummaging through his drawers.  “What do you need a red shirt for?”

Zen Master doesn’t wear red.

“I have to wear something red to work for Valentine’s Day.”  His words were muffled as he went down on hands and knees and peeked under the bed to pull out a drawer from underneath.  “Nonsense.  Nothing but a bunch of hooey.”

“Aw, isn’t that cute?”  Zen Master was the only male in the all-women kitchen crew at the public school that he worked in. 

“No,”  he snarked as he finished going through the drawer and stuck it back underneath the bed.  “This is complete crap!  Valentine’s Day should be for other people.  Why do I have to wear red?  I don’t even like red!”

“Well, it’ll match your face right now.”  I murmured and got an evil glare from him.

“Here’s my shirt that you can wear.”  Zen Mum came in, holding up her burgurdy T-shirt.  “I don’t have to wear red.”

Zen Mum’s burgurdy T-shirt:  an item from Sears for a few bucks.

Zen Master wearing Zen Mum’s clothing on Valentine’s Day:  PRICELESS.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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