Hermit Crab Cakes

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do you remember when the hermit crab craze was so prevalent a few years ago?  They were everywhere, including kiosks in the shopping malls.  Well, that was about the time that I gave in to my two daughter’s constant requests for the, oh so, cute crustaceans. 

It all began innocently enough.  We bought a little starter set with the cage, the sponge, the food and the little plastic palm tree.  We started out with two crabs, presumably so they could keep each other company.  One of the hermit crabs died almost immediately.  We got a replacement, but he also didn’t last too long.  Soon after that, the original one died too. 

What was I thinking when my youngest daughter said that she wanted another hermit crab?  I must have been thinking a lukewarm “yes,” because I went with her to a pet supply store and picked out a replacement.  It was a nice conversation piece for a while.  We changed its water, the sandy beach platform and even got a bigger cage.  I would take it out for walks on the kitchen counter and let it crawl over my hands.  Once, I was successful in getting my daughter to let it crawl on her hand.  That turned out to be a mistake.  She flinched at the touch of the crab legs and the little guy pinched her skin tightly so he wouldn’t fall.  I had to rinse her hand with cold water in the sink to get the crab to release its grip.  That was the last time that my little girl did anything with her (my) hermit crab. 

Since then, the crab has molted about seven times, growing a little bigger each time.  He has even escaped a few times in the middle of the night, and I’ve been convinced that we’d never find him again.  Each time, I found him in the far corner of our family room behind our sofa.  How he survived the drop from our kitchen counter onto the tile floor, and then evade our boxer dog is still a mystery to me. 

And now, I learn that these hermit crabs have a lifespan of up to 23 years.  I don’t even know if I’m going to live that long; and I know that my daughter is never going to take care of it in my absence.  What’s a Dad to do?  I can’t make crab cakes out of it, because it’s just too darn small.  I’m afraid to get another one as a companion, because that might extend my watch for another - who knows how many more years. 

I guess if I want any crab cakes for dinner, I’m going to have to go to the restaurant like everyone else.  I’m not a big fan of them anyway, so maybe I should just keep watching the seafood in my aquarium, and praying that they increase in portion size. 


Exercise in Futility

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let me just think out loud for a moment, because I’m having a difficult time understanding something.  You are at your gym.  You are admiring all the people that are trying to do something healthy for their body.  You’ve got the bruisers, the cruisers, the heavy, the thin and the people that don’t fit into any of those categories – like me.  Some are enjoying the publicly provided music, while others have brought their own custom blends of entertainment. 

In the distance you hear something that sounds like a phone ringing.  You casually glance to the right and see that a person is, in fact, having a phone conversation.  They haven’t stopped exercising; they are continuing to pedal or pump or whatever motion they were performing at the time.  I can tell that this is not some urgent business call; this is a personal call.  These are not quick phone calls where they say “Hey dude, I’ll have to call you back a little later.”  These, many times, end up being five to 10 minute conversations.  I am not a body builder by any stretch of the imagination, but when I’m at the gym to exercise, I’m there to exercise.  I leave my cell phone in the locker room.  I’m not there to socialize or talk to my neighbor on the bicep machine.  These “cell-ercisers” offend me on a different level than phone conversations at a table in a restaurant. 

After working out myself, I leave the gym – perhaps a little more confused than when I began.  I make the obligatory MP3 changeover from my headphones to the car stereo.  This time I glance to my left, because I can’t believe what I think I’m seeing.  There is a guy riding a bicycle while smoking a cigarette.  I’m sure it’s a cigarette, because I see a smoke trail leaving the business end of his face.  You might not agree with my opinion of cell phones in the gym, but you have to admit that smoking while riding a bike is just wrong on so many levels.  Is this guy so addicted to cigarettes that he can’t even wait until he gets to his final destination (no pun intended) before taking a drag from this portable tobacco product?  Can the buzz feel so much better while on a bike? 

Personally I think that talking on the phone and smoking, while exercising, is too much work.  It’s a bad example of multitasking.  Come to think about it, exercising is too much work.  I think I need a nap.


Good to the Last Drop

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

 If you ask around, you’ll probably find that most people don’t know a whole lot about blood.  Sure, we know that we bleed when we get cut, and it’s red, but that’s about the extent of it.  When I first heard the title of the movie There Will Be Blood, I thought that it was a horror film.  You can imagine my surprise when I watched that movie. 

As a lot of my beliefs came from my Mom, it’s not a big surprise that blood awareness became a part of my life because of my Mom.  She was a big believer in blood donation and gave quite regularly.  She used to bring home those little plastic blood drops on a pin (parting gifts from the American Red Cross after giving) to proudly display on a shirt collar.  Today they give out little stickers that say “Be nice to me, I gave blood today!” 

I think my first blood donation might have been during my Mom’s oncology treatments for breast cancer.  It was at that time, when I truly realized the importance of blood banks, apheresis and blood types.  As she was going to need blood to replenish her own supply following a bone marrow transplant, the hospital’s blood bank would need to be replenished afterward.  It’s one of those circular concepts where one side borrows life while the other side tries to give it back.  Sometimes we can only work together with the hope that our efforts will bring a little relief to someone’s life. 

I began to take great pride in my blood donations.  I have given a lot of blood and platelets over the years.  I’ve almost fainted a few times and gotten tingly lips and fingers at other times.  When I give platelets, my feet still cramp up a little toward the end of the 90 minute donation process.  But don’t ask me to stop; that’ll never happen.  As long as I’m healthy and able, you’ll find me a regular on those little blue gurney things at the Red Cross.

I give the stickers to my youngest daughter now.  She likes stickers, and thinks it’s kind of neat that I give blood.  Anyway, I don’t need a sticker to remind people to be nice to me.  That’s not the reason I give blood.  I give for the unseen children and adults that are in need.  It will never bring my Mother back, but it keeps her very alive in my daily life.  I’m not sure that we can really give life, but we can contribute to it and hope that it continues for as long as possible. 

I hope that my daughters will donate blood when they get older.  Maybe they’ll take selfless pride, like me, and be able to think happy thoughts of their loved ones – past and present.  We all need to make an effort to ensure that there will be blood for those that need it.  It's a little gesture that goes a long way.


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