La Dolce Ordinario / by Deborah Clague

I lost Pee Boy. The third most iconic symbol of Japan (next to Geishas and that mountain in all the paintings), Pee Boy gracefully hung on my keychain, adding a touch of class to the lint and miscellaneous coins at the bottom of my purse. And now he's gone. My lucky charm. Lost in translation. Lost in narration. I weep. Pee Boy was the greatest souvenir I've ever known. 

I noticed he was AWOL as I stood in line at Wal-Mart for what seemed like days, foolishly shopping for unnecessities while their anniversary sale was underway. Playing with my keys seemed more intellectually stimulating than paying heed to the tabloid headlines touting Heidi Montag's latest surgery and also doubled as a welcome diversion from staring at the butt crack of the person in front of me. Unfortunately, it wasn't the first moon I witnessed that afternoon. *shudder* Pants are a requirement to shop at most establishments; it's a damn shame that underwear can't be added to the list. Momentarily questioning my cheapness frugality, I later determined that saving 50 cents on toothpaste was, indeed, worth the torture.

Also in my shopping cart was a pan. A baking pan. I am teaching myself to bake thanks to a few internet recipes and a somewhat shaky confidence that what I create will actually be edible. A less ambitious amateur chef might choose to make muffins or some variation of bland biscuit, but not I. Diving headfirst into this new pursuit, I have decided that my first creation will be Italian tri-colored cookies, which actually aren't cookies but rather a small pink-yellow-green cake separated by layers of raspberry jam and smothered in dark chocolate. I have fond memories of my mother taking me to Eaton's in downtown Winnipeg in order to pick up a few as a treat. They were always so delicious...but pricey. Definitely not a regular indulgence but rather a treat to be savored on special occasions. The special occasion now is that I'm 30 and barely know how to boil an egg. Swan dive. No floaties. Next up: fried fugu. If only I still had my lucky charm.