Kettle Belle Chronicles: “Why I’m hostile to exercise”, or… “follow the way of the Wrecking Belle in the Real Madrid T-shirt and yoga pants.”


I sometimes toy with the idea of attaining exercise god status. The black yoga pants wearer,  that adored symbol of strength and power.  The all knowing being whom saunters into Pinkberry without a care or a ripple on her behind.  I endeavored to be the cut / toned / tony-excessively smooth pantaloon wearer.

I embarked on this journey with some reservations but higher than proper expectations.   I only wanted to do this if it fit nicely within my carefully crafted idea of invigorating exercise, and I painted a pretty good picture of the journey in my mind.  A precise one in fact.   I would accept it if it was moderately tiring but yet refreshingly rejuvenating.  If I could meet other ladies and affiliate with them and we could form a team of supportive women working toward the goal of being ridiculously hot!   Where shared experience and hardship made the journey that much easier and rewarding.  I couldn’t picture myself caring much about some sweat.  It might only serve to make me look like Jennifer Beals sans chair but still like Jennifer Beals.  I had the curly hair that hung around my face uncannily like her…when I didn’t blow dry that is.  And  I accepted that I may feel a modicum of pain, but that soon my muscles would be toned and sculpted.  But how much pain would be bearable?  And, as I would learn, I wouldn’t get to determine that.

Well it hit me like a kettle bell on the side of the temple when I found out that there was no magical group of women welcoming you into their leg pumping lair. The women arrived, threw down their keys, knock-off sunglasses, squeezed their water bottles into cubbies and threw their white towels round their necks.  They visually organized eachother, preened, hands on hips slowly checking out newcomers.  There were no smiles, just long gazes, that if you caught one, a sort of straight grimace was returned.  I seemed to have entered a paddock of overweight racehorses readying for competition.

I wasn’t exactly sure why all the life lessons I had had drilled into my psyche about ‘listening to pain’ were lost on the Exercise gods.  I reasoned, I was the person who was feeling the pain, the person whose brain was responsible for the urgent messages to cease and desist whatever the particular activity was at the moment, so why was ‘ignoring the pain’ the instruction that I was given? .” I had discovered the essence of the problem that I had with ‘exercise’  Do they believe that our minds are separate from our body? Does the body not work in conjunction with the brain?  does the brain not field signals from the body and then decide what actions to take?  Is it then wise that we keep working the body in the repetitive manner when the body is clearly saying, “NO YOU CANNOT KEEP THROWING THAT KETTLE BELL OVER YOUR WANING LEFT SHOULDER AND EXPECT NOT TO LAUNCH IT INTO THE CHEST OF THAT ELABORATELY SWEATING CROATIAN WOMAN!

We began with two laps around the building and were told not to stop.  One of the evil geniuses was stationed at the opposite side of the building to ‘keep an eye on us and make sure we did not stop.  Our herd returned bounding for the water fountain.  Seconds later we swang kettle bells to and fro.  We then did burpies until dizziness set in. We lifted heavy bars while doing jumping jacks. We swung ropes as though ceaselessly straightening them out.  We did squats that threatened to re-open our episiotomies.  Even if they were given to us years ago.  “Wider, Wider!”  How My mind begged my mouth to shout, “yah? let’s see you open that wide!”  We did push ups, chin ups, and fast weights to keep the cardio effect going.   We army crawls and the dreaded burpie.  Every time my body began to revolt, writhe with the equivalent of a physiological scream, heart pulsing out of my chest easily seen by passers-by, like some comic book grinch in love, and I would point at my chest signifying my lack of breath, The exercise god (female or male),  Impervious to my impending heart attack, would glance at me momentarily finally offer a deliberation,  “you can go further, you can do it Christine!”  As I looked up with long eyes, intentionally trying to clear my double vision, my soaked shirt seemed to bangle in the wind like some latvian wet towel air conditioner.  My jello thighs danced. My exercise god lavished a wide smile unto me saying, “THERE YOU GO!!!” Usually finishing off with the dispassionate and quite routine 90’s meme “YOU GO GIRL!!!”

The exercise gods believe in “pushing oneself” It’s a rite of the baptismal font of back sprains.  The ungainly church of belly crunches and impossibly performed burpies.  “If you push yourself, you will surprise yourself.’  ….”If you push yourself….you won’t be sorry…”  “If you push yourself you will be so proud!”  I find an extreme dichotomy in the fact that the women or men that are ‘coaching’ you, many of whom you do not know from Adam or Eve, are ripped beyond belief and do not remember their own days of cookies and carmel macchiatos. Well not really anyway.   Those discretions are seen through skinny-latte coloured glasses. If you ask them, the cookies are remembered as necessary ‘Tiger Milk Bars” maybe only two a day, and the caramel macchiatos are declared but suddenly remembered as intermittent at best.   The bad ‘ol days of minimal muscle and ripped adipose are forgotten and that is the disconnect.

Half way into the reality of the work out, the dry throat, the slight dizziness.  The women wince in pain and look up as they rise from doing push ups.  They begin to knowingly glance at each other.  The tired faux warrior princesses realize that they need each-other.      They begin to look for the affiliation that they narcissistically did not seek in the beginning of the workout.

Class after class this social machination repeats itself.  Ignore each other, then feel pain and affiliate. Rinse and repeat. Do they like it?  Do they like communal pain? Additionally, Do they enjoy paying the Exercise Gods to “make” them push themselves?  I offer that they do.

Part of the motivation comes from pure peer adulation for ‘just doing it’ being ‘brave.’ I was recently told I was a ‘real trooper’ I kept going in part because I didn’t relish the idea of letting everybody know that I thought it was ‘too hard‘ for me.  I had just been given the rather militaristic moniker of “Trooper” and I was feeling a tad nationalistic at the time.  I pictured myself a sort of stylized  Jane Q. Public  upholder of the exercise ethos. Well, within my circle of soft-bellied family and friends.

Ultimately, I found that the exercise gods wanted me to believe that my body was my enemy and that I must conquer it with my Jedi mind.

It was not proper to let my body tell me that one or another exercise could not be done.  Somehow I was to overcome all of the brutal messages that my body was sending me about my pain and satiety.  I really WANT TO DO THIS, but my analytical nature may be getting in the way, oh! that and my muscle capacity!  How can I know whether I can actually do this? …Guess I’ll just have to trust the ‘wrecking belle’ in a Real madrid T-shirt and Yoga pants.

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Stay tuned for hopefully twice weekly updates on “The kettle Belle Chronicles” (Written by unwilling exercise maven, Christina Long) about the ugly and hopefully someday ‘beautiful’ side of cardio / strength training classes in Los Angeles on “The Trouble With Milk.”  http://thetroublewithmilk.com

Ai Meja! Maria De La Luz’ Capirotada : Memories of old and new


Ahhh Capirotada…The smell and taste of it brings back memories of my grandmother Maria De La Luz (Lucy) collecting bread pieces, me wondering why and ends with a full belly and a smile.  As a child I wondered what the heck my grandmother was going to do with all those stale bread pieces saved in a plastic bag.  Finally she fesssed,  “Oh Meija, I’m going to make capirotada, it’ll be good, you just watch!”

My grandmother a few days after marriage in Fort Worth Texas. She had been making Capirotada for her brothers and sisters many years by this time. She probably learned from an aunt as her mother had been passed away many years by this time.

Now Capirotada was a word I could just not get my head around.  Capirotada.  Capiro-WHAT??  I was six years old.  I think I was only being fed two syllable words at school.  Yes Capirotada is a weird word and I have no idea what the origin or etymology of it  is.   That being said, I’ll probably look that up in a minute and add it to this post….  But Capirotada  is a  rich bread pudding derrived of collected and deliciously stale bread.  The bread can be french bread, white bread, wheat or sourdough.  If it’s stale it’s actually better due to the slight sour taste that it imparts in the final dish.  The bread is then soaked in three kinds of milk (for some people it’s preferable to use a mexican condensed milk, and this Mexi-gringa prefers “la Lechera”), and to the uninitiated, a very strange tomato / onion / pilloncillo / clove concoction which is boiled and reduced to a sauce with some tooth to it. 

Originally “Capirotada” was a typical spanish dessert using ingredients placed in layers. Originally there was Olive oil, Cheese and eggs, The second layer added the meats, probably partridge!  (shudder)….The given name comes from “Capirote”  which was a hat that that was worn by Spanish noble women in the early 15th century.  Capirote come from the Latin word “Cappa”  which is cape or cloak.  Today’s Mexican Capirotada is certainly cloaked!  Those bread pieces are hidden and layered with many ingredients!  As the dish was prepared for more of the population and ceased to be exclusive to nobles, meats were left out and sweet overtook savory.  At some point the dish gained more of a religious significance and was prepared during lent so as to provide Christian denizens of the middle ages, sustenance in the way of protein (derived from the cheese and nut ingredients).   As is still common today,  during Lent, meat per se, is not allowed.   The ingredients and recipes for Capirotada have been recorded by the Holy Office of the Inquisition and saved to this day in the archives.

Pre-dating the Spanish appearance, Capirotada’s gastronomic ancestors can be traced back as far as Ancient Rome.  Seen in a dish called  “Sala Cattabia,”  The Romans used a bread for this casserole dish which was baked, covered with a layer of goat cheese, and then layered with chicken, cucumbers,  onions, and pine nuts.  This concoction was cooked with a dressing of raisins,  honey, pepper, and vinegar.  Spainards brought this or a dish like it to  ‘The new Country”  (that would be us  peeps here stateside), who eventually modified it to become the varied Capirotada we know today.  Capirotada is viewed by many Mexican and Mexican-American families as a reminder of the suffering of Christ on Good Friday.  Holding special the symbolism of this ancient dessert, Mexicans believe capirotada’s bread represents the Body of Christ, the syrup, his blood, the cloves, the the nails of the cross.  They believe that the whole cinnamon sticks represent the wood of the cross.  Some say the  melted cheese stands for the Holy Shroud. The truth is that a version of this dish was being served  in Spain at the time of the Conquest.  Here is where you imagine Conquistadores  abducting and  pillaging villagers and then feeding the stragglers dessert nice huh?  While the the conquest was vile and not to be glossed over by history books, the Spanish did bring changes in gastronomy and this one was good.    Mexican Capirotada has evolved to include specific types of Mexican ingredients including a special brown sugar called pilloncillo which is produced and prepared into a large cone and  Queso fresco, a Mexican farmer’s cheese.  The inclusion of  a sweet / savory  tomato ,onion, clove and cinnamon  broth begets a rich and delicious complexity within the pudding.  Some people add  peanuts or pineapple and even add festive cupcake sprinkles on the top of the entire dish.

There are alot of versions of bread pudding possibly all originating during biblical or Roman times, but the one nearest and dearest to my heart is my grandmother’s recipe, and yes it’s a MEXICAN bread pudding.  Although she is half Basque Spanish and half indigenous Mestizo Indian (of the Aztec blood line, a tribe called Tarahumara to be exact ),   The most important thing to me now about Capirotada is it’s power.  My grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease and her memory is fast fading.  When talking about Easter last year, I asked her if she could remember her recipe for Capirotada, I was hoping I could glean a few of her special ingredients, to make sure I was making it right.  I really wanted to make sure and carry on a part of her wonderful food tradition, but I also just wanted to jog her memory.

The Author's son fist bumping with Lucy, his Great-Grandmother

I was desperate to jump start any other memories surrounded by food and family and friends.   Initially I was sad to find that she could not remember ingredients, but she remembered the act of making the capirotada!  In thinking about it, I realized that I could ‘just get a recipe online” (the most authentic I could find of course), and then query her on the particulars of it.  What would she remember? Maybe we could do a process of elimination.  Did she add peanuts? Well that was a yes.  Did she add pineapple? or other fruit?   I had to laugh because mostly she remembered  toasting the bread and layering the pan.  She didn’t remember any pineapple, but she did remember peanuts.  She was insulted when I asked her about sprinkles…so that was a no!  One day she said “Leche” (but I already knew that!)  Still one day she said “sauce” cebolla and tomato…So I selected the recipe with most of the ingredients she had mentioned, and was the oldest syle of preparation, and went to town.     I was so happy to hear some of these things coming back.  She knew that she loved to make Capirotada and and that everyone on the street would stop by to have some and talk.  Her friend Joyce was very clear in her memory, which was very nice to hear, as Joyce was her very best friends and unfortunately passed away in a very sad manner later, but my grandmother’s thoughts of her were happy and included how they used to talk over capirotada and a bit of iced tea.    Funny how older memories can be eased from Alzheimer’s patients via the memories of food.  I finally made my (grandmother’s)  capirotada.  The next day I returned to her “home” with an entire tray of the pudding.  I cut that first wonderful piece as the word got out to caregivers who crowded around.  I served a piece to my grandmother.  Her hand shook, he glasses slipped a little.  She pushed them back up.   She chewed and smiled, she said, “oh Mejia…THAT’S  THE BEST CAPIROTADA that I’ve EVER HAD! ”  Now… my grandmother is not one to dole out compliments easily… or exclusives like that.   She’s usually in her chair complaining and uttering the word “Bah!” when she can’t stand something, or if there’s a situation that she can’t control.  Or in frustration when her  opinion doesn’t get the proper response. So, I was filled with surprise and joy because…well…because she was!

There’s something about that savory bite of cheese hidden within the flavors of cinnamon, cloves and raisins. It’s a natural pairing, even if I did think it was strange as a child. boy how our tastes change as we grow.  This special batch of capirotada  seemed to spark, for my grandmother, a visual, multi-dimensional memory of a happier time. A time when she proudly fed family and friends and would sit down and chat in her kitchen.  A kitchen she misses so dearly!  All she has a is a little room now but it’s necessary for her care.   Funny how food carries such  intense experiential feelings.  Memories through food can be so useful for alzheimer’s patients and for all of us.   Now my grandmother is requesting that I make  her cocido!  and bunelos!   I’m pretty worried about re-creating those recipes,  but I’ll try …. just to help her remember….

"Lucy" about 1946

Maria De La Luz’ Capirotada

1 24-inch loaf of French bread, cubed and toasted (about six cups)
2 cups of brown sugar or 16 oz. of piloncillo
2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup of pecans, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup of raisins
½ cup of dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup of butter, melted
Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Make a syrup by boiling the sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves together for 10 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened and reduced.In a greased large cast-iron skillet or an 8×8 cake pan, place half the bread and pour over it half the melted butter. Toss to coat. Drizzle about ¼ cup of the syrup over the bread and toss to coat. Layer on top of the bread the cheese, pecans, raisins and dried apricots. Place the rest of the bread on top, drizzle over the remaining butter and then pour over the rest of the syrup. Make sure that each piece of bread is properly coated in syrup.Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for fifteen more minutes. I like to eat it warm.

Serves 8.

My Resolve is strong: ‘What I am endeavoring to correct in the latter part of 2012’


Well I missed the boat.  The huge Italian-piloted-playboy-of a captain’s-type of boat that is.  Because well I’m just not the glitzy “12 lido decks” sailing type.  

"Lido Deck"

I like the impermanance of the warm and sea-worn dinghy.  I love the sheer mystery that goes with the wind in my hair and the”throw caution to the wind”  feeling of, “Will I make it to shore?”  So I missed the boat on putting to paper my “wants” for 2012.  First of all, I wanted the world to continue.  I did not REALLY believe that those crazy Mayans correctly foretold of the end of our spastic little attention deficit planet.  They were probably like….tired of tip tapping all that crazy angular text into stone and were like….Um…bro, I’m DONE! this sh*t’s TIRING!!! Or maybe there’s a “mayan Calendar part deux” buried beneath a behemoth pyramid and the archeologist types will unearth it and will be like…”crap….sorry…you mad bro?”   Not to knock Mayan, because I’m pretty sure their my ancestors.  I’m Mexican and Irish, which officially makes me a “Mexi-gringa” and my grandmother’s family comes from The Tarahumara Tribe.  all you need to know is that they actually chase (yes still) deer and whatever they want to eat, on foot. They wear crazy little skirts.  AND THOSE ARE THE MEN!!   They live in high altitude cliff dwellings in Mexico’s  Copper Canyon to be exact) …and drink a beverage called Iskiate that makes ecstasy look like baby food. So I don’t diss the Mayans.  I’m not an ancestry buff but i’ve a feeling the corn meal doesn’t  fall too far from the huarache if you know what I mean.    But I’m glad they got it wrong.  VERY WRONG.  Because that means we all have more time to ignore Super-Pacs, not stand up for Women’s rights on contraception etc.,  I guess what I’m saying is…DOES IT TAKE THE IMPENDING END OF THE WORLD TO GET FIRED UP ABOUT THESE THINGS?! People…PEOPLE!!!! …..  Seriously.  If you’re gonna get fired up and change things…ahem…then these are some starting points.

I’m also endeavoring to figure out why young female children are hanging their entire tiny self esteems on the millions of mostly hardened YouTube Viewer’s opinions! Patt Morrison of KPCC devoted one of her radio shows to this question the other day.  I was lucky enough to have one of my comments read on the air by Patt, (I can’t tell you how exciting this was…) but my thoughts on this subject have not been entirely aired and I wish to explore this phenomena more fully here! You lucky readers!  Okay you four readers of mine, (you know who you are…)   Personally I don’t remember being wary of my self esteem as a child never mind manically  questioning  whether I was “pretty” or not.  Not much of a thought to tell you the truth.  Not until my next door neighbor, the evil Yvette Lopez,  told me that I got to borrow the ‘ugly Barbie’ because as she put it, ‘I was ‘ugly too.’  I remember being angry, and not really believing her.  I guess my parents had done some work there and made sure my  intrinsic self esteem was intact and somewhat unretractable in a way.  Some sort of positive verbal massaging of the spirit went on.  I do know that I did not own Barbies, either by the sheer prospect of borderline poverty or by ideal I know not.  I do know, however, I was the eager recipient of an occasional chicharone or  pan dulce whilst watching 1970’s basketball with my dad.  My mother had me busy with art projects.  As for Yvette?  I wanted to punch her lights out and began making mud pies to launch over the wall into her front yard.  Being resourceful, I enlisted my little brother and the offensive began.   Looking back, that was my first taste of justice and haven’t’ lost the thirst for it.  Today I’m wondering why America has been resting on it’s laurels with regard to women’s issues.  Not only are we on the razor’s edge of losing contraception rights, we are okay with so much misogyny in our media once again.  I wasn’t around for the 50’s and I was just a wee tot in the 60’s and all I know is that in the 70’s women’s issues were important. I felt it. I saw it.  Women were in a fight.  Gloria Steinem was a common visual on my parent’s magnavox. Cher might’ve been in a tiny deerskin bikini but she was a strong woman.   Women with caftans, flared pants large flowered prints were pissed and on guard.  They wanted to be respected for the women they were.  In the eighties the idea of ‘being an airhead’ or one’s entire self-esteem being soley based on looks still didn’t fly.  There was an enduring radar out there just daring any inkling of disrespect to waft within it’s general airspace.  How did things change so quickly? Now we have The Kardashians, The Bachelor, Jersey Shore’s women put out there as defacto role models for young girls.  Women in bikinis selling hamburgers.  Maybe the ladies on Hee Haw or Petty Coat Junction we’rent perfect but they certainly weren’t bouncing booze soaked ice cubes off the pecs of half naked guido boys! There was enough strong feminist vibe going on that even girls as young as I was knew that we weren’t to be messed with or disrespected and most of all? I had more than my looks to make me feel whole.

Thankfully there is a group called G.A.T.E. (Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment) spearheaded by John Raatz, Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle

John Raatz, Eckhart Tolle and JIm Carrey : G.A.T.E.

…and they endeavor to change some of the tendencies in Hollywood that culminate in movies and shows that lower that self-esteem bar.  Basically GATE is trying to raise the bar making Hollywood responsible for what is conveyed in their productions.  Can we tell a good story that people want to see without all the gratuitous sex or stereotypical demography that we now use so wantonly? Can we make an impact without the gratuitous violence?  Can we merely allude to the violence in the story if it is a necessary part of the storytelling?  but not glorify it’s detail? Can we get past using sex and violence as cash cows? and raise our cinema arts to a new level?   Can we tell better stories? and can we tell stories that are more impactful and help us all get along on this tiny blue idiosyncratic planet?  I think so.  And if we do…succeed that is, in making Hollywood just a little less attention starved, we will we have an impact on young children.  We must do this because young kids  are starting to show signs of  the hyper sexualization and adult drama that they encounter everywhere in out society.  A ten year old asking the world if she’s pretty, an eleven year old worried that she’s ‘not hot’.  it’s worrisome.   Endeavor with me.  Eyes on the prize.

The Man On The Screen: Or…The Pedophile at the table next to you…


My husband and I were bantering about the ipad…. again…all the cool things it does and what’s going to happen with the stock etc., etc.,our usual conjecture..

the illustrious ipad...which I am salivating to buy...

tha handy dandy iphone....which changed my life....btw...

when we pulled up to The Whole Enchilada in Diamond Bar, CA I know, I know…Diamond Bar.. that should have been our first clue.) Now I’ve been told, but I didn’t listen… The saying is, NEVER , but NEVER, go to a restaurant where the name of the joint is a goofy play on words because It never ends well. You’re either quickly contributing to the sewer psi or you’re way to the local CVS to get some over-the-ounter concoction that could be used to tackle rotovirus (if it was packed in a wee-bit larger dose that is.) We chose TWE because the confines of this certified boring town have not afforded us anything palatable, challenging or just plain interesting. The Whole Enchilada is a virtual hotbed of authenticity (i lie), but comparied to El Torito…(just go with me here)…it is.

The Whole Enchilada. How many times have I said,

Basically it’s not as ‘huero” if you know what I mean. We wanted some semblance of real mexican food. This place ain’t exactly Tarahumara fare complete with tsguino, which I have been itching to try, but certainly good enough for our suburban corralled selves that night. We were fed up The Karaoke singing warbling denizens of El Torito, whom paraded their Evo’s and smeeevo’s and whale-tailed this and that, around for their ‘Snookie’s in half shirts, and eyelashes that seem to need cherry pickers to lift them once they chanced a flirty flutter in some Diamond Bar Bro’s face.

Their dangly mirrored earrings did not bother me not because of the style (they rather soothingly reminded me of the Solar Power facility out in Kramer Junciton as a matter of fact.)  Actually, they were so shiny that you could use ’em in the Sierra Madres to signal a fellow bandido that invaders were trekking too close to your pot farm! We were also tired of dodging boys in plugs and Testy trucks with lift kits high enough to help set the new tiles on my roof! I reasoned, If I got run over, would anyone know?

Anyhow when compared with El Torito, The Whole Enchilada just plain smacked of down home cooking! Not!!!…. but as I said, go with me. Remember I said ‘compared to’ that’s key. So Fan-Boy and Fan-Girl (myself and my partner in grime – Steve)… sit down with iphones out, and start checking out the stats on on our blogs. We check for email from clients and the friends that pursue them.

The lanky waiter that sat us takes our drink order and saunters off to seat another couple. I notice a bit of perfume, and then a man’s cologne as a sixy something couple is led to the booth right behind my husband. The smell of chips and the lemon slice that I am drizzling over it overwhelms me in my mad rush to expeditiously slather the chips with Tapatio and lemon I spill my coke, but not badly. It’s that kind of spill that is a gray area. I begin to salivate upon smelling the lemon and hot sauce…and even before I’m done as I think about the acidic pleasure I am about launch down my gullet. I look up from my voracious preparation at the sound of, “Honey…what am I going to eat? I mean you just killed all of the chips with acid and Tapatio!” Coming back to my regular table manners I remember that my husband does not like alot of salt, lemon OR Tapatio on his chips! Yes I was being selfish. I was hungry, talking, thinking, and well, just on ‘automatic pilot’ actually. “Sorry honey..I’ll call the waiter and get more, sorry.” While I am looking at my husband trying to explain my inappropriate food zealousness, I notice that the older man who was sat just behind Steve is staring at me. I mean really staring. Did he have a sensual penchant for the lemon drizzled atomic warhead flavored chips? Did he think that I was Gillian Anderson? Oh god please…I thought, not that again. He kept on staring. I looked away, then back again and yep…he was still there…staring. ‘Okay, this is weird, but I really want to enjoy my ‘close to real, sort of in a Diamond-Bar-huero-sort-of-way- food. I ignored this guy the stock power of Mecha Mook, for he had Laser Vision. He had real glowing eyes of doom. My hubby and I meandered through tons of different subject matter, we sort of approach conversations in a sort of free association way and nothing of off limits. It’s really fun, creative and never boring being with him. This time I tried to stay on the subject we were talking about but just couldn’t! Mecha Mook was done staring at me and was looking behind me creepily intent manner. We aren’t talking the type of looking that some people do. Looking to see who’s around, check out your surroundings, look to see or hear a smattering of what people are talking about in general. Some of us just look to take in our surroundings in general. Blasts of heat were coming form Mecha Mook’s eyes Now he had turned in his seat and was staring at the sides of two young girls’ heads.

Eye lasers baby, eye lasers!

I looked just beyond Steve at Mook’s wife and saw her bantering away about what sounded like some sort of “work issue” (this person said this and that person said that to supervisor so and so)… and Mook continuously nodded but continued to stare even craning his neck a bit to get a ‘better view’ of the girls, and later whatever was behind me. All the while I was listening to my husband, adding to our confab but stealing away small investigative glances at Mook and his wife. I knew something was askew and like a meerkat I was on task! I was gonna find out. I didn’t really know what I was looking for,  but I was collecting the data!   I was doing this because something was out of the ordinary and I am a gifted multi-tasker… (thanks ADD!!!! ) I finally fessed. ‘Honey..’ I recognize that guy behind you… WAIT!!! don’t look! …don’t turn around!!!…I am not sure if he’s been at the kids’ school…or if he lives on the street going up to our house…or what!…maybe I’ve just seen him in the grocery store…i’m not sure…but he was staring very intently at me when we first sat down and now at someone or something behind me.’ “Christina, you have probably seen him in one of the local grocery stores, or the bank…don’t worry about it.” “I don’t know, I know I’ve seen him somewhere…and here’s the weird thing, he just turned entirely to the side in his seat to stare of the two young girls in the booth across from he and his, I assume, wife.” “Oh, hell, maybe he’s one of those pedophile guys on that app that I downloaded on the iphone! Steve laughed,  half kidding but with a glint of a ‘what if’ situation playing on his face.   He was half expecting to be wrong. ‘Let’s see…wouldn’t that be weird if it was?…but i doubt it.’  he said. Steve pulled up the app and asked rme for his approximate age and general description

the app pictured. Though this is not the Mook, it

“He’s caucasian around 64 or 65 white hair, prominent chin, thin eyes and slightly droopy eyelids, hid eyes look blue. He doesn’t look especially nefarious, looks harmless really, so I really doubt he’s one of those guys.” Steve filters the app for our local area and spins the phone over to me. “Is this the guy? cuz you know I can’t turn around, it would be rude.” “Nope, not at all.” I begin to more closely describe his features. Another spin of the phone and my throat tightens, my eyes get wide and I know immediately, that I am staring right into a carbon copy of the face that is sitting right behind Steve! I want to scream “THAT’S HIM! OH MY GOD, THAT’S HIM!” but I say it quietly, quite expeditiously. and after the first word I am in control of my voice. I keep within a talking / whisper as I exclaim ‘THAT’S DEFINITELY HIM, RIGHT BEHIND YOU.’ Steve is believes me I can tell, but still doubts a bit too. It can be easy to mistake such a person as this due to his common face, his common eyes, but no, not that chin in conjunction with those eyes. The lids the irregularities of his face were noted and I knew in my gut that it was the same guy. “Does he have this prominent chin? these slanty eyes? this salt and pepper mustache ? says Steve. “Are you sure?” “YES, YES…” “Well then as soon as they finish and he gets up we should make the wait-staff aware. and yes. The restaurant has the right to refuse service to whomever they choose.” I wondered about the rights of someone who had done something as heinous as what Mook here did. Mook was and is “Headly, James E Headly to be exact. He was convicted of Lewd and lacivious acts wtih a child under fourteen years of age.

James R. Headley

Our app did not specify whether it was male or female that he molested, but that shouldn’t matter. When I say molested, I mean it in the most literal form of the word, “to bother.” James R. Headley was convicted of “Lewd or lascivious acts with a child under fourteen years of age.” I can construe that he probably did not rape his victim, but that leaves a multitude of other just as agregious acts that can fall under the lewd and lascivious category. Knowing this caused my stomach to turn. My mouth could no longer eat, my hands were shaking in anger, surprise and yes fear. Fear for the young girls that he had turned ninety degrees to stare at as they ate their albondigas soup and tortillas. They chatted about boyfriends and the android phone and he stared them down with lust as his lady friend (wife?) ignored his behavior which was at the very least rude to her. Did she know his past? Had she forgiven him? I can think of no possible innocuous situation that could land one in prison for these acts with a child. It’s reprehensible and knowing that any person man or woman would make these decisions to use his or her power, body and mind in the control and abuse of a child. And it’s very hard to sit near someone who has made these decisions to cause intentional, immense, mental, physical and life-long harm to a child. My husband called the waiter over and showed him the photo and listing on our phone via the App. Our waiter confirmed to my husband immediately that the man in the booth that had been sitting behind him was indeed the man on the screen. “YES! that’s the man! he’s a regular here! he always comes in!” “I can’t BELIEVE IT!” he continued. Clearly the waiter was a caring and responsive individual. I could see an anger beginning to run through his body. He began to move faster, talk faster. He said, “Oh my god, I’m sorry.” I told him..”It’s not your fault, it’s not the restaurant’s fault.” “I couldn’t eat my food, and I had a weird feeling about him, so we checked it out because he was just staring down all the women sitting in this area. You know not just glancing or even like a guy who was you know…enjoying looking a women in an innocent way, but in an angry, deep, staring uncomfortable way.” The waiter said he would tell the manager and they would decide what to do. Steve and I left and wondered what should be done.

While logic tells me that someone who has ‘paid their debt to society’ should be allowed to go out into society, I find it a hard pill to swallow. These people will forever combat the fear that they have generated in the society. To prey on anyone is agregious, unfogiving, but to target children is just worse. These are our protected spirits, our little loves. Our babies. The shunning attitudes that sex offenders encounter everywhere they go as their crime becomes known is just something they will have to deal with. That shunning, that anger, those reactions are a but one small consequence for the actions that were committed. I have children. We know the statistics about re-lapsing felons. By now we know that know that this Mr. Headley lives in our community. I was struck by how ‘average’ he looked. By looking at him I would not have pegged him as pedophile, which leads me to wonder how well our preconceived notions serve us. I was clued into this guys abnormal behavior, his movement, and that caused me to further scrutinize him. Finally I asked questions.

Since we had downloaded an app called “Offender Locater” by GoVision2020.com (available on the iphone and the ipad), we were able to recognize this man and have information at our fingertips about his past felonious behavior. Just think about how helpful this ap would be for children who walk home from school! Or who are at a newly independent age! I am all for giving our children the tools and resources to spot people who have a history of abuse and might pose a potential threat. Maybe educating our kids in self-defense isn’t enough. Maybe every kid should have an offender register at their fingertips. I am interested in hearing what you have to say about “The Man on the Screen” (The Pedophile at the table next to you.”) what would YOU do? Would you go back to the establishment if they decided that they would not bar him? Would you have confronted the man and shown him his data on the app? (My husband wanted to do this, but I thought it could’ve potentially started a fight)…Would you have simply moved your seat and not be bothered, thinking, ‘he paid his debt?’

I am an emotional thinker and a staunch believer in children’s rights and their welfare. Children should have protection in our society so that they can grow and become who and what they will be. That is one of our most important jobs in our society. This incident was traumatic for me. By the way... the person that James E. Headley was using his Mekarra Beam on was a small blonde fourteen-ish year old girl soccer player innocently having dinner with her family. Thanks for your comments. ~ Chrissylong.