Friday, March 9, 2012

Snow Owls - Borgs and Red Cabbage

I guess it had to happen.

After 30 years of getting shuffled between 3rd shift, PM's, 3 a.m. start times, and now...bankers hours.....Klecko's sleep is messed up.

I'll spare you guys the "ISH" details, I hate when people get technical about medical.

Medical freaks me out, In my own mind....I leave medical to God,the Angels and Nurses.

As a life long Pollack, I have always believed that if you stay away from the doctor...She/He can't tell you that you are going to die.

But then a month sleep got worse. I couldn't breath out of my all.

At night my throat got all crusted out from breathing through my mouth...EWWWWW.

So I did it, I went to the Doc....she sent me to EYES/EARS and NOSE...and they looked at me and said I have a deviated septum, maybe sleep apnia and for sure an inner nose infection that looked like it had been there for over a year.

For Klecko...and many other bakers and 3rd shift workers...the normal standards to sleep do not apply.

My sleep routine consists of bright lights, plasma TV's and at least 2 dogs contributing to my sleep pile.

So last night was my appointment with the sleep clinic. It kinda unerved me that it took place in an off wing of a Best Western Hotel.

They have you show up at 8:45 p.m., and you walk through that hotel foyer, and those foyers are always filled with kids running by swimming pools, kids that are screaming.

I usually hate those kids, but last night I so bad wanted to sit on the pool deck and be left alone, but wasn't my fate.

When I entered room #236, it looked like a normal hotel room, but there were 2 major differences.....

#1 -

On top of my bed was a pile of electrodes, circut boards and enough wires to fill a grocery bag.

#2 -

They only had 1 HBO station...not the 10 I am accustomed to.

So the staff comes in and hooks me up. Technician chick was really very nice.

But then she told me that I would have to shut off my TV, and I would have to be asleep by 11 p.m.

First things first......during the summer of 1969, my Grandfather gave me my own black and white TV.

I don't know why he didn't give it to my Mom or Sister, but for whatever reason, I was the lucky recipient.

From that day on, I can only think of one night in my life that I've slept w/o my electronic companion.

That was the night I slept in the womans dorm at the University of Moscow Cooperation (Perhaps a story for a future post).

So me and the technician chick argued a bit, I hate to be "That Guy".

She looked at me and asked....

"Come on, its not like you sleep when you are camping...right?"

You had to be me, to totally appreciate my Klecko response.......

"Do I look like I've ever been camping?"

Anyways, I've never really laid my head on a pillow and closed my eyes to pursue sleep.

I feel in my element when sleep just sucker punches me.

I don't ever want to stare it in the face.

So after the lights were shut off, I pulled out a newspaper from Warsaw Missourri called the Missourri Chigger and read it from the TV's glow.

It's a "Down Home" publication that my friends from Greenwood Mizzou subscribe to, and there was a column written about phrases that "Church Fathers" used to torture their kids, as you can imagine...a topic I embrace....

"Children in Hell don't get ice water!" was in there, and that made my snort because I've dropped that one on my kids about a billion times, but then there was a new one I read that was almost epic......

"Novices build Arks...while Professionals built the Titanic."

I laughed out loud so hard that the nurse stationed in her virtual crows nest chimed in over the intercom to ask if I was OK.

Then my mind drifted to just before heading over to the torture chamber.

I was at the gym on the dreadmill hoping that a cardio fix would help me to fall asleep....and slowly, first one by one, and then in pairs, people started walking out of the gym and simply stood in the middle of the parking lot.

I could see their reflection in the mirrored wall and everybody was looking into the sky, they had wonderment on their face, and when I say wonderment, I mean the most abject kind.

From their collective expression, I swear to Caesar I thought Christ was returning in his glory, or maybe Aliens were cruising the Highland Park neighborhood looking for people to probe.

My rule (Guy Rule #226) is that you can never leave the tread mill untill your pre determined mileage has been accrued, but that yeah, I hopped off and joined the mob.......

Then I saw it, in all its glory, there perched on top of Cheapo Records was a huge Snow Owl.

I had just heard earlier in the week that they had entered the Twin Cities, but bird people didn't know why. I guess Snow Owls have never traveled to my town.

I've seen owls before, and they are pretty cool, but this was different, first was 5 times the size I had imagined.

Immediately I gave thanks to the Polish Christ, to be in the presence of this creature. The moment was majestic.

That old bird sat there like royalty looking down on us.

Dude from the record store said that it had been perched there for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

So there I laid in my "Sleep Testers" bed all Borged out thinking....

"How many things in this world can unite people w/o even trying?"

There was rich guy, slob guy, all skins of the pigment spectrum were represented, and everybody enjoyed this moment in unison.

The packet that the sleep instatute sends you tells you that you must feed yourself before coming, if you "must" have a snack you should bring one.

I chose not to, but now I was getting hungry.

I could tell I was getting sleepy, so instead of driving the mild hunger pangs from my thoughts, I decided to race towards the roar.

I decided if I could eat anything, I'd want sausage and red cabbage.

If you read my last post about my poet friend Dara, one thing I didn't mention is that she has a killer-killer red cabbage recipe.

The "bait" ingredient in it is juniper, and I know that's a "Love it or Hate it" kind of ingredient, but I'm a fan.

In fact when Dara handed me the recipe, she also gave me a zip lock baggie filled with junipers.

Poet Girlfriends can be so thoughtful.

(Recipe based on 1/2 head of cabbage)










Mix the ingredients into a pan, steam them and stir until crisp turns to soft.

The "Year of the Dragon" has pretty much been a kick in the groin to me....but when you see a Snow Owl in Saint Paul, its gotta be a sign huh?

Things just have to go better for the Last American Baker.


  1. Have I mentioned how much I love your writing - it is so thought provoking and interesting. I love studying animal totems and the Snow Owl is the best possible animal that you could have witnessed while on your journey to health. Snow Owls are known for their ability to survive - they are master hunters in full sunlight or full darkness, Native Americans used to watch the Snow Owls to learn where food supplies could be found or if no Snow Owls, famine was soon upon, and the Snow Owl embodies strength, power and courage. They conserve their energy by waiting for prey - always ready to attack when the time is right. I think you have a lot in common with the Snow Owl - and maybe that is why he showed up to remind you of that. I love the red cabbage recipe - I am Danish and grew up having red cabbage nearly every day of my life. Still can't get enough of it.

    1. Lisa Sellman, you may be the smartest person I know....but that Snow Owl....I just can't tell you how 5 minutes with it inspired me. Great at ya kid.

  2. this year there was what they call an 'iruption' of snowy owls coming down from the north in search of food. my brother wrote a piece about them for the Mason City Gazette. so cool that you saw one.

    1. Did your brother comment on how often it happens? If you have a link....I'll trade lemon thumbprints for it.