Friday, February 20, 2009

5:00 Fridays

I happened upon this drink at a friend's house recently. I'm not on the cutting edge when it come to soda. I didn't even realize that Tab and Fresca have seen their glory days and tried to relive their heyday a time or two. We don't buy soft drinks, so if you ever stop by for a visit and you're panting and sweating and gasping for air, all we can offer you is water, beer, wine, milk, or liquor. Don't come a knockin' asking for a soda. We'll have to send you to the BP down the street for a liter.

But this new fangled green tea ginger ale intrigued me. I wouldn't drink it on its own, but it was begging for a shot of something grizzly.

And so I bought some and mixed it with a shot of vanilla vodka. OK, perhaps not grizzly, but it was gggoooood. A tasty sweet treat that has worked its way into my hot weather repertoire. Tonight was a sampling party. The summer will hold a liquid feast.

Vanilla Antioxidant
1 shot vanilla vodka (You should still have some Stoli Vanil left over from last week.)
Canada Dry Green Tea Gingerale

Get yourself a tall glass and fill it with ice. Add the vodka and top it off with the gingerale. Finish it with a sprig of fresh mint.

Cheers to spring getting a fast forward on the weather track!
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Bounty

The lovely Julie at The Artful Flower has written quite eloquently about a new phenomenon in classrooms all across America. I'm feeling the need to vent and share my $0.02 too so hang on for the ride.

The boys and I made homemade valentines this year for their classes. We figured we'd give something both useful and homemade. We poked pencils (10 for a buck at the Target One Spot!) through little flags we made of scrap craft paper we had stashed away in the over flowing art box. Deal's flag read "Pencil me in for a playdate." Bird's pencils read "Write on, Valentine." Bird wrote his friends' names and then signed his own. Deal added rainbow glittery stickers for just the right finishing touch. We were quite proud of our crafty creations.

I volunteered at Bird's school and helped the kindergarteners decorate their Valentine mailboxes. Those red wrapped shoe boxes were decked out with more bling than the Kimora Lee Simmons section at JCPenneys. I'm talking crepe paper flowers, doilies, heart stickers, bejeweled ribbons, faux rose petals, crystal hearts, foam hearts, and glue galore. Memories flooded back to me in a slow motion blink. I remember painstakingly decorating my shoe box back in the day. Wwwaaaaaayyyy back in the day. My crowning glory was the mailbox flag I fashioned out of leftover wallpaper scraps and a paper fastener. Being the OCD adult I am, you can imagine what type of child I was. I cut and measured and glued all the details with scientific precision. My doilies were perfectly centered. My name was signed with a just-so flourish. I spent ages making the slot the perfect size - large enough to hold an envelope, small enough to not allow busy bodies to peek inside at the goods.

The slot of my Valentine box would not have been adequate to hold one single valentine my kids got this year. Apparently I did not get the memo that Valentine's Day is Halloween in February, sans costumes and scary creatures (though Cupid in a diaper ain't the stuff sweet dreams are made of). Bird's shoe box was bulging from all the candy. Candy! Deal's class made darling mailboxes to hold their cards. Deal brought his loot home in a brown paper bag. Nothing fit in that little puppy mailbox. Not one thing. Candy. And I ain't talking the token Necco conversation hearts that are forgivable because the sayings are so darn entertaining. I'm especially fond of the new fangled high tech ones like "Be my icon" and "Email me."

Bird and Deal came home with chocolate bars, lollipops, Hershey kisses, licorice, candy necklaces, bubble gum, and a few stickers and tattoos. Not one person gave just a simple token of friendship on a homemade heart. Granted, neither did we, but our intent was clearly not a sugar crash or oneupmanship. As a rule, I don't even bother playing those mom of the year games, and the Joneses are dead to me. So what's triggering this obscene display of false affection? When and how did a simple, fun, sweet celebration turn into an event?

What's worse, Bird came home upset that people made fun of his valentines. Some children went so far as to mock him and say, "I don't want that stupid pencil. Don't even put that in my box! Whadya mean you don't have any candy?!" Imagine the horror I felt when he relayed this to me, confusion and sadness coloring his voice. I grabbed the reins of this teachable moment to explain gratitude, manners, respect, friendship, and above all, the whole point of this freaking Hallmark holiday. And inside I was F.U.M.I.N.G. Even at age five Bird didn't understand why candy, that would be chewed up and pooped out in an instant, was more valuable than a pencil that a kid could use for a year or more. "A year or more, Mommy!" he wailed. I had no words to explain the over-the-top parenting today that will hand over to us a sickening generation of entitled brats. I had no words to explain why everything has gotten so out of hand and why the simple precious tokens of life are no longer cherished.

And so I told him about my mailbox with the flag. I told him how I so anticipated giving and getting those treasured little cards adorned with funny sayings and cutesy images. I told him how I used to go home and lay out all my cards, stacking them in order with my best friends' cards on top (as a fellow OCD neatnik, he could totally relate to this). I spoke of tucking that box under my bed and sneaking out of the covers to read and reread them by the faint glow of my night light for weeks on end. I showed him the stack of Valentine's cards Mac Daddy has given me over the last 12 years, tied daintily in a red satin ribbon.

And I told him that no one hangs on to a candy wrapper.

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