Thursday, July 3, 2008

5:00 Fridays

I was first introduced to this drink when I was away for a long overdue girls' weekend. We were nursing pretty vicious hangovers and decided to partake in some hair of the ol' dog after we had eaten a gloriously greasy, Swanson Hungry Man portioned, breakfast and watched an afternoon of girly movies (Princess Diaries 2 and The Sweetest Thing) in our pajamas.

My good friend Christy concocted this cocktail but has not come up with a suitable name for it. Not that we don't keep drinking it. It's akin to dressing up an unnamed child and taking it out for a stroll just hoping a name will strike you while you're out and about. Just a couple weeks ago she drank almost the entire bottle of cranberry vodka by herself when trying to christen the cocktail. Luckily we were having a family sleep over that night so no one was driving and there were others in fine shape to deal with the kids. We're messy and wacky here at Chez Dirt & Noise but one thing we are not is irresponsible. I guess Christy figured that the more she drank the more inspiration she would have. Let's just say that all inspiration went out the door when our boys woke up at 5:00 AM....a mere four hours after we went to bed. Yeah, good times all around. I don't recommend overindulging unless you are absolved of all responsibility. Girls' weekend, anyone?

Anyway, this is the perfect cocktail to savor when you're away from your kids (OK, let's be real, and husbands. Chances are they won't like this drink anyway. Husbands that is, not kids. Definitely not suitable for kids. Unless your kids are 21.). This drink reminds me of a sweet little afternoon nip to catch a happy buzz out on the deck while playing Celebrity Crush with your girlfriends. You know, the game where you gab about all the hot celebs you'd like to mash with? Oh come on, like you don't dream about gettin' your freak on with some hot Penn Badgley action? Ahem, or is that just moi?

This is a lovely summer libation that's great with girlfriends on a hot day. It's meant to evoke girliness. You know, the kind of girl you were before you had children. Harken waaaaayyy back beyond the cobwebs and fish her out. Got her? Now don't let her go.

Yeah, that one. The one with the hot gams and 100+ pairs of shoes. Matching handbags too, natch. The one who had the time to paint her nails, decide she hated the color, and redo it all in one sitting. The one who actually had time to read the paper in bed with a cup of fresh steaming coffee in a mug without a top. Remember her? Now pour her a drink.

I call this drink, Missed Independence, in honor of the 4th of July and those days that I miss my little one bedroom apartment on Excelsior Boulevard in Minneapolis back when I was single and fancy free. And had fabulous nails and shoes Imelda would crave. Note that I don't want that life back; the memories are way sweeter than the reality, of course. I do love my family but there are times that even Calgon doesn't take me away.

Missed Independence
Get yourself a good sized glass. Nothing frou frou and delicate here. Even one of those big red Solo cups will do.

Fill it with ice in any shape or size. Pull out the fancy star shaped ice cube maker for the occasion.

Pour in a shot or so of cranberry vodka. Stoli won't let you down.

Now add some Sprite (not diet, it'll taste gross and less decadent) to fill the glass.

Stir. Garnish with a toothpick of blueberries and strawberries and a sprig of mint for a punch of color. Use a skewer if you want to make it a healthy snack too.

Cheers to my Missed Independence...and yours!
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'd like a side of advice, please.

Dear Dowager at Panera,

Was I asking for your advice? Did I look like I wanted some advice? Do you have a shortwave receptor to my brainwaves to detect I was in need of advice? Was I wearing a T-shirt pronouncing, "Go ahead, give me your opinion?" Um, no on all counts.

What exactly made you think that I was interested in your unsolicited advice?

Do I give a shit that you have eight grandchildren and raised four children? The act of simply having 'em does not qualify you to dole out advice, lady. Let me see some SAT scores, job evaluations, eHarmony profiles, psychiatric evaluations, sperm donor applications, and resumes before I choose to take advice from you. For all I know those kids of yours are whack job Neo-cons who actually think Bush has done a great job in office. For all I know those grandkids torment preschoolers on the playground and sneak weed from their parents' sock drawer. For all I know those kids eat applesauce with their fingers because they never mastered those fine motor skills that their parents deem overrated.

I am not interested in talking to you. Especially about my children. Sure, if you want to chat about the weather or how busy the parking lot is, I'm all ears. I'll at least grant you smile and head nod like I do when I hear "Hey Mommy" for the 1400th time in a day. But don't come to my table and inquire about what my kids are eating. And do not park yourself next to us and wince, groan, or sigh every so often when you look our way. If it wasn't such a pain to make two kids move, carry three trays, and keep track of a teddy bear, I would have switched tables. Oh, but then I wouldn't have blog fodder, would I?

For the record, my kids have astoundingly great eating habits. A grilled cheese panini on wheat bread with some fruit and an organic yogurt is a perfectly acceptable, healthy even, meal. Have you checked out the sales of Lunchables lately, woman? I assure you that crap will never make its way into my shopping cart. So what if Bird and Deal had a chocolate milk treat? Don't assume that they belly up to an Ovaltine tap at home every night. And seriously, you're hung up on cheese? First of all their dad is from Wisconsin so there's no in hell we're giving up cheese. Secondly, cheese represents truth in advertising because it really does make everything better. Thirdly, did I mention it's not your business? Um, as I recall, I wasn't talking to you and was avoiding eye contact at all costs.

Bird and Deal exhibited excellent table manners that day. For a 3 and 4 year old, they exercised amazing restraint, sitting quietly while I happily munched away on my salad. They actually ate half of my salad. Did you notice that? Oh, I suppose not. You were probably scouting your next victim. Your snorting and omigoshing made way more noise than my kids did. And yeah, we totally noticed you were eavesdropping on our conversation. That's why we talked in our super special, ultra secret spy inside voices.

You should be ashamed and embarrassed. Did you realize that all the other people in our vicinity were staring at you aghast and giving me consoling looks of sympathy (and glad they weren't your prey)? Of course not. You were too busy being self-righteous. Here's a tip, next time you feel the urge to inflict your opinions on a mother, leave. Walk out. Go to your car and talk to yourself. People will be more forgiving if you're busted talking to yourself than if you're chastising a mom who's just trying to get her kids fed before nap time.

By the way, when we got back in the car, away from your creepy watchful eye, my kids asked, "Mommy, who WAS that old lady and why was she talking to us?"

My sentiments exactly.


A Bad Mom Trying
I'd like a side of advice, please.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ad Cents

Is anyone aware of the proposed legislation to limit the ability of small publishers and bloggers to carry or sell advertising? I've just heard of it from a graduate school alum (helps to be part of a Journalism school listserv). This could affect Google AdSense and operations like Federated Media.

It seems that the Internet Advertising Bureau is the only group trying to battle this legislation. Anyone have insight on this issue? I can understand how this could be under the radar for me because I am living at a frenetic pace these days, but how could it get by my blogging brethren? Is it for real? Is there more to know? Am I over reacting? Please shed some light on this girl in the dark.

Yoo hoo! That would be me. Over here. No, here. Just follow the sound of my panting and hyperventilating. I'm in the corner behind the stack of to-do lists, bills, business cards, receipts, dog eared recipes from Cookie, and Post-it notes of books to buy (which include Sacred Hunger, Silent Spring, The World Without Us, Mississippi Sissy, Loving Frank, Blessed Unrest, and Blindness in case you're wondering).

What up, man? This mama needs a new pair of shoes!
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Breast Thing I Ever Did

I have been wanting to post for a couple weeks about the Race for the Cure I did with Christy, Kim, and Shell. It's been hard to nail down exactly what I wanted to say and what I wanted you to take away from my experience. If I could just hook up some wires and sensors to my heart, you'd know everything. I'm pretty sure that sort of wackiness is not far off. Trust me, people I used to work with are testing and using such a device as we speak (if you clicked on the link you'll note that the logo looks oddly like the Police's Ghost in the Machine album cover).

The Race for the Cure was amazing, even if it meant getting up and out the door before my children. Oh, and we added a mile to our route because we had to park so far away. Well worth it for my thighs and glutes. We were running late (because of said added mile) and saw an amazing scene unfold before us. 25,000 women lined up, clad in pink, ready to roll. A sea of women with a shared cause. Must be similar to the Filene's Basement wedding gown sale. As we approached the mass of racers, some runners from the earlier race were crossing the finish line to a whole lot of whopping and hollering. I'm talking arms flailing in the air, rock star screaming mania. Contagious. It totally pumped us up to get started.

Women all around sported names of breast cancers victims and survivors whom they honored. I ran in celebration of Team Why Mommy from Toddler Planet, though you can't read it on my sign in the photo. I've shared one her posts here before. Other women wore signs that said, "I'm running for mom, my hero." Overwhelming heart swells. Others wore signs that said, "I'm running for me. Survivor." Still others scribbled names on their shirts...Helen, Elizabeth, Adrienne, Johanna, Meg, Lori, Kaitlin. I don't know those women but I ran for them too.

We ran through a lovely old neighborhood with a canopy of trees and homes with front porches galore. It seemed the whole neighborhood came out to support us. Signs emblazoned on porches. Pink ribbons tied to trees. Sidewalk chalk messages of encouragement. Even the neighborhood kids banded together to squirt us with mega super soakers as we ran by. Other people hooked up fancy flower misters and sprinklers to offer a bit of relief from the heat. Some simply sprayed us with a garden hose. A welcome spot of H2O.

The best site on the route was a well-kept old gingerbread house with a rocking chair front porch. Indeed there was a rocking chair. A gray haired grandmotherly type sat there alone, rocking to and fro with a winsome smile on her face. Occasionally she lifted a hand to wave. A giant banner on her porch read "27 Year Breast Cancer Survivor. Age 88." Blow. Me. Away.

The camaraderie among the racers was unlike anything I've experienced. Smiles, high fives, chants of encouragement, and laughter were easily shared. We chose to make light of an otherwise heavy situation. Everyone there had a breast cancer story to share. Some with happy endings, some with sad endings, some with a pending ending. The deep, deep sisterhood of survivors was palpable. A sorority to which I hope to never be inducted. What floored me was the wide range of women in the survivors' tent. Clearly, breast cancer does not discriminate among the rich and poor, brown and white, old and young, large and small, tall and short. We saw women younger than us, women wearing traditional Arab attire, women with young children, women with multiple generations running side by side. I don't normally see such a diverse crowd in my everyday life. I couldn't help but think "This could be me" at every turn.

There were some pretty funny T-shirts that race teams created. My favorite was a group of firemen. Their shirt had a hottie fireman in all his gear on the front. The slogan said, "Firemen protecting second base." Hardy har har har. That makes me crack up every time. Second base! That's funny stuff! Next year we're putting together a bigger team so let me know if you want to join us. We have a year to come up with something clever for our shirts. Put your thinking caps on!

Bird and Deal were particularly interested in the race. I didn't explain the ins and outs of cancer. I simply told them I was racing to raise money for sick women. They were pretty proud of their mom and took turns trying on my race number. They really wanted to see me burst through the finish line ribbon. I had to explain that the ribbon is only there for the first person to cross the line, not # 24,374.

So each year on the boys' birthdays we take the money in their piggy banks and put half in savings and donate half. We let the boys choose their cause (Mac Daddy and I chose for them based on something significant in our family when they were itty bitty.). For instance, we gave to the Humane Society when Bird was one because his first word was "dog."

I guess my small part in the Race for the Cure had a big impact on Deal. He chose to donate his piggy bank proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation this year. As he put it, "I want to give money to the mommies you raced for."
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