Cold Ingredients Tossed in a Bowl? You’ve Got Yourself a Salad!

Eating healthy with the power of salad.

While salad was originally considered to be a side dish composed primarily of raw leafy greens, a salad nowadays can be almost anything below room temperature tossed in a bowl. Pasta. Potato. Ambrosia. All salads, therefore: All healthy!

Below are some of our new favourite salad recipes that you can enjoy guilt-free!

Weiner Salad
1 cup of chopped up hotdogs
1 cup bacon, crumbled
1 cup of grated cheddar
Dressing: Half a bottle of ranch

Stir together in a large bowl. Serve using salad tongs. 

Cookie Salad
1 cup of crushed cookies (your choice)
Dressing: 1 can of whipped cream

In a salad bowl, spray whipped cream directly onto cookies. Serve with a sprig of mint. 

Ice Cream Salad
2 cups of ice cream

Scoop into a bowl. Eat. Salad!

Invisible Body

Mrrrrrrrr. The lawnmower was a hot bee droning back and forth across the grass. The unrelenting sunshine had pushed the grass up higher than usual. Watching the rows upon rows be shorn down gave Miranda the same feeling she used to get from watching viral videos of disembodied hands slicing mounds of kinetic sand: Dull satisfaction. The young man — either Dan or Don or Doug, something like that — pushing the mower across her lawn chomped fervently on a large piece of pink chewing gum. He blinked up toward the house but, of course, couldn’t see her staring out at him from the picture window.

It was the smell of the grass she missed the most, but she could remember it if she really tried. It was a damp smell. One of life. Of living. It’s hard to smell without a nose. It had been just long enough that she could laugh at the ridiculousness of the statement. But without a throat, the laugh was silent. She was and she wasn’t.

The remembering of smells and laughter made Miranda curious. It had been days, maybe weeks, since she examined her body. She glided up the stairs into the bathroom. Her body used to be slumped against the bathroom wall like she’d fallen asleep on a gently rocking subway car. Now, her body looked like a black-yellow-orange bloated person-shaped bag. She watched a documentary once about a body farm used by the FBI to help them identify stages of human decay, so she knew the how and why behind the dark fluids that pooled around her. It still didn’t make it easier to accept. She returned back downstairs dismayed. She was glad she couldn’t smell anymore.

——

In that moment across the country, an old high school friend opens his laptop. He checks the news. 104 dead in Kabul. Wild fires in California. A truck in London driven into a group of tourists, 4 dead, 15 severely injured. He shudders internally and pulls his bathrobe instinctively around him, as if it could shield him from the horror in the world. Searching for lighter fare, he opens one of his social media accounts. An inspirational quote has cycled to the top of his feed. It reads: “The secret to being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most of everyday”. He exhales a sign of relief. It’s from Miranda.

——

Miranda floated down to her kitchen, as she’d done a thousand times before. She wasn’t hungry anymore, like she’d been in real life. She wished she could have felt like that while she was still alive. Her mother was always quick to intercept Miranda on the way to the fridge. Her mother had become thin and willowy after Miranda’s father left them for a size 0. She warned Miranda constantly that she’d inherited her father’s slow metabolism. That sugar will make you sick and and probably kill you. She died herself of malnutrition complicated by a smattering of other ailments. Miranda wondered if she was out there, somewhere, floating around.

She approached her laptop. It sat on the kitchen table, open, webcam set up on a tripod beside. It almost begged to be of use like a sentient furnishing in Beauty and the Beast. But it was dead. With no fingers to plug it in or turn it on or even worm over the trackpad, it remained a useless brick. Miranda kicked herself for the thousandth time for pre-scheduling her social media posts all the way to Christmas.

Shhhhttt. Flop. She rushed to the door. A new piece of mail had plopped on top of the small pile collecting in front of it. It was a letter from the Humane Society for the previous owner of the house. A reminder to donate. All Miranda’s bills were digitalized, so she never got any mail. Out the beveled door window, she watched the post woman waddle away with her laden bag. Miranda didn’t know her name. She didn’t even know her face.

——

In the Hague, a frazzled university student gnaws on his iPad stylus. He logs onto his online tutoring site. In his inbox, an old message reads: “Great work this week, Yorick. Looking forward to diving deeper into passive construction next week. Best, Miranda” He clicks on her profile. A photo that artfully combines approachability and professionalism. Under her name, orange letters announce, “Last online: 5 weeks ago”. He has an important exam coming up. He hastily clicks the link “Find a Tutor”.

—-

She drifted into the hallway. She was greeted by the smiling faces of the people she used to consider her best friends. Sandy, married in Florida with three kids. Expecting a fourth, according to a saccharine video uploaded to Facebook for all the world to see. In it, her three children, ages 7, 5 and 2, ask their father to look in the oven. When he discovers the bun inside, they break down into fits of giggles. Tears of joys are shed by the adults. Six months ago, Sandy sent an email apologizing for being so out of touch. She had promised then to come visit soon.

Hatty lived in Argentina with her life partner. Jane was climbing the corporate ladder in New York. Ella, who lived just a few towns away, just simply cut everyone out years ago like they never were. In terms of family, Miranda assumed she had a gaggle of half-siblings as far as her father could toss his seed, but she had never met any of them. Her father. Hank. He had stopped reaching out after Miranda made it very clear at 18 that she never wanted to speak to him again. He had never been one to respect her wishes, but for some reason that one stuck. He would be the last person to wonder if she was dead or alive.

——

In a downtown bar, Theo waits for his Tinder date Thea to come back from the bathroom. It’s been going surprisingly well so far, considering his success with the app. He had just been on the verge of deleting it permanently when she flickered across his screen. She super liked him, which meant something. A super like was special. It was more than a swipe. As he stares at the fake succulent in a tiny pot on the table, he marvels at how similar the names “Theo and Thea” looked, but how different they sounded. Just one letter off. Imagine how it’ll look on their wedding invitations. He’s getting ahead of himself. He reminds himself what happened last time with Miranda: Things were going so well — just like this —- then she just ghosted. When Thea returned from the bathroom, all smiles, Theo lies and says he has to go.

——

Miranda tried to remember Theo’s face. It was hard because they’d only seen each other a handful of times. One of those was also in a darkened movie theatre, so her memory was an eyebrow here, a nostril there, stubble, full lips, kind eyes. Most of all she wished she could explain to him that her sudden exit had nothing to do with him. He didn’t even know her address, so he wouldn’t come looking. She cried silent, nothing tears.

Through the window, she watched the neighbour let her bichon frise out into the backyard. Their last name was Milton, at least that’s what it said on a kitschy sign on their lawn — “The Miltons” — but Miranda didn’t know her first name. She looked weary, as if she’d been gently beaten all morning. She yawned an aggressive yawn she would probably never allow her kids to witness. She looked over to Miranda’s house bored as she waited for the dog to finish its business. Miranda waved to her for the first time ever. She didn’t see. Couldn’t see.

Back upstairs, her flesh was black and papery. How long now had it been now since she last checked? Her calculations were interrupted by Dan or Don or Doug, the bee mower boy, who had started up his machine. She peered over the frosted sticker that covered the lower half of the window. He worked hastily this time, rushing through the job, looking irritated. She glided downstairs to the front door. When he was finished Dan or Don or Doug stomped up to the front door. Instinctively, Miranda backed away, out of sight which was unnecessary. He looked right through her as he hammered the doorbell. BINGBONG. BINGBONGBINGBONG. The bell was like a bomb going off, shattering weeks of silence into a thousand invisible shards. She moved as close to the glass as she could, staring intently into his irritated face. BINGBONG. His finger driving itself into the button.

“Hey, Lady!”

He waited.

“Ms. Kawalsky!”

He waited more.

“This is the last time I’m cutting your grass for free.”

She listened.

“You only paid me in advance til the end of August.”

August.

“It’s almost October.”

October.

“I’m not going to cut it anymore, Ms. Kawalsky. Not until you pay me what you owe!”

Silence. He stepped across the porch to the living room window, peering in with both hands shading his young face. All he saw was a pristine, minimalistic living room staring back. Not Miranda’s aching non-corporeal form.

——

She once saw on HGTV that grass grows two to six inches a week, depending on the weather. She wondered how long it would have to be til someone figured it all out. Someone was bound to notice soon, right?

Watch Sarah Smoke

watch sarah smoke

“It takes me five minutes to smoke a cigarette”.

This comment reverberated inside Sarah’s head for a good five minutes before she fully realized the implications of this comment. “Exactly five?”, she asked Tina. “To the second”, was the reply.

That was the only assurance Sarah needed. It was decided: she would take up smoking.

Sarah’s problem with time had been acute for many years prior. Clocks mislead her, watches were bulky and inconvenient, even the sun sometimes alluded her when it disappeared behind a mass of cloud. Yet, at this moment, after so many years of being late, she had figured out that smoking would be her answer.

After a little thought, Sarah had come to the conclusion that the time it takes to smoke a cigarette was a more accurate measure of five minutes than any quartz watch on the market. Her new way to measure time was not in minutes, but in cigarettes. One cigarette equals five minutes. A seemingly seamless plan, in her eyes. Later that afternoon Sarah headed to the convenience store and bought her first pack of cigarettes.

The next morning, Sarah awoke at eight. Her life as a smoker was about to begin. She had her first cigarette already waiting for her with a lighter close at hand. She had to be at work at nine: twelve cigarettes’ worth. Without hesitation she flicked the lighter and inhaled.

It was much more difficult than she had anticipated. Smoking in the shower proved difficult, and smoking while preparing her breakfast left her with an ashy taste in her mouth. Yet, her desire for punctuality prevailed, and she continued to puff away. Time was easy to tell now, it was only a matter of counting the number of cigarettes she had smoked and multiplying that by five. By 8:59 there were only a few millimetres of cigarette left, so she knew she was on time. She headed up to the office, albeit huffing a little on the way up the last flight of stairs.

During her lunch break she smoked nine cigarettes and was perfectly punctual upon returning to her office. At this point Sarah was confident that her plan was flawless.

Yet this new way of telling the time had many other implications. Whenever she needed to measure time, no one wanted to be around her for fear of the cloud of smoke that constantly surrounded her, choking out all life in the vicinity. Her nieces and nephews refused to come near her, as they gagged and coughed when she was within twenty feet. At work, if she had a meeting to attend, she had to go out on the fire escape, as the building was smoke-free. This presented a problem, as she couldn’t get anything done all day until her meeting took place. If her meeting was at three she would merely sit on the rail and smoke for the whole morning and early afternoon. Her job was threatened many times because of this habit, but every time her managers came out to chide her, they always ended up partaking in the habit and five minutes later they would walk away clicking their tongues.

After many years of this method of time keeping, people were still remarking on Sarah’s amazing punctuality, although they also noted her sallow complexion, hacking cough, and general sickly appearance. Not to mention the almost unbearable stench that emanated from here mouth, clothes, and hair. Even her eyelashes carried the smell of smoke with them, and with every blink a wafting of stale cigarette odour could be detected.

It wasn’t long before Sarah went to the doctor because she was feeling a little unwell (of course before her appointment she had to smoke 27 cigarettes to make sure she was on time). When she finally sat down in the examination room, the doctor took one look at her and said, “My God woman, I’m surprised you’re still living and breathing”. Although, what she was doing couldn’t really be described as breathing. It was more of a shallow rattling. After doing some tests and diagnostics and prognostics he found that Sarah was, indeed, quite ill. “Sarah, your smoking has taken a severe toll on your health. As it stands, you have at least 135 diseases, some of which haven’t even been discovered yet. The reality is, medically, you shouldn’t be alive at all anymore. You have two weeks to live.”

Sarah was taken aback by this news. Could her foolproof plan for being on time have a drawback she hadn’t foreseen? Yes, it could and it did. Sarah was dying and had been for some time. Now time, that which she strove to befriend, was her ultimate enemy.

Yet Sarah felt she couldn’t stop her time keeping, on the contrary, this would be the ultimate test of the accuracy of smoking as a time keeper. If it truly was as accurate as she thought, perhaps in death she would receive some sort of recognition for her efforts. After walking out of the doctors, she lit up again frantically. She rushed to her car, clutching for a calculator. She needed to figure out how many five minutes were in two weeks.

It was a huge undertaking. Sarah would smoke for two weeks straight to put her system to the test. She enlisted the help of family and friends, who’s primary task was to ensure she smoked the entire time (sometimes deep brown drool would attempt to carry the lit cigarette with it onto Sarah’s shirt front). Each night she stayed up as long as she could, smoking all the while. When she collapsed from disease and exhaustion, she instructed her loved ones to place a cigarette in one nostril while she slept, taking care to plug the other one. And of course, she demanded that they keep track of the number of cigarettes. They were also to keep the butts from her nightly smoking so she could verify the number in the morning. With each day, Sarah would wake feeling closer to death, which only helped to reinforce her confidence in the system. One week, twenty three hours and fifty minutes after her first cigarettes when she left the doctors, Sarah was wheezing heavily, sprawled out on her bed. There were only two cigarettes left. She smoked the first. She lit the second, bringing it shakily to her mouth with a skeletal hand. Her family came in closer, waiting for signs of the life to escape her. Her last puff of the second cigarette was drawn in. The tobacco crackled menacingly as the last millimetres were burned by Sarah’s inhalation. Everyone around her also took in a breath and held it. She exhaled. She looked around. She took in a breath of oxygen, as everyone else let theirs out.

Six minutes and thirty seven seconds after her last cigarette, Sarah was dead with the knowledge that all along her system had been flawed, and that her wasted life was for naught.

 

©Lauren Greenwood 2013