Friday, April 17, 2009

5:00 Fridays

When I lived in Minnesota there was nothing better than downing a hot sake after a nipple numbing walk from the car to the restaurant. Now that spring is on my doorstep (I just know it is!), I want to find some new ways to enjoy sake, one of my faves from the days of yore.
I've been playing around a bit and wanted to share my latest concoction. It's a mighty fine tasty treat when a gentle breeze is warming your teat.

Sake It To Me
6 slices of peeled cucumber
Juice of half a lime
Handful of fresh mint
1 1/2 teaspoons simple syrup
2 ounces dry sake

Whip up some simple syrup. Here's how:

Combine 1 cup of white sugar with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cool.

Bulleted ListWhen the simple syrup is cooled, put 5 slices of cucumber, lime juice, mint, and simple syrup to an old fashioned glass (also know as a lowball or rocks glass). Muddle it all together against the glass with the back of a spoon or muddler. Admittedly, the muddler resembles some sort of kitchen sex toy, but I digress. Now add a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker. Pour the sake and cucumber/lime/mint mixture over the ice. Shake until it's ice-fleck-Minnesota-nipple-freeze cold. Strain into a chilled wine glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice.

And order sushi in tonight. There's no time to cook while you're busy sipping one of these.

5:00 FridaysSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stepford Mom Encounters

Snark alert! If you are searching for a feel good story about rainbows and unicorns and a couple hand holding verses of Kumbaya, look elsewhere. In fact, you'll never find that here so surely you're misdirected, misguided, or mistaken.

I happen to live in an area teeming with Stepford Moms. I bet they lurk where you live too. I have a hunch their uniforms are different in each locale. Surely the Stepford Moms inside the beltline of Raleigh don't look like the hipster chic moms of Santa Monica or the earthy bohemian moms of Portland. I'm talking about the women who have dogeared Lisa Birnbach's Preppy Handbook and are on the perpetual hunt for the ideal bloody mary recipe. The prep school crowd, whether they went to one or not.

Full disclosure, I went to prep school and I live in the same zip code in the same coveted neighborhood as many of these moms. I am not, repeat not, one of them. For starters, I am likely one of five brown people in my whole zip code. I've met one other brown person who happens to be a good friend (but not just because we're brown). The Stepford Moms are not brown, at least until August after three months of sunning themselves at the beach or the club. They don't grace the municipal city pools, no siree. I'm talking about my town's version of Kate Middleton wannabes. A whole swarm of women Holden Caulfield would loathe.

Allow me to illustrate my point. Here's what I just saw in a habitat known to be a common gathering ground for Stepford Moms, the public library, in said zip code.

It is fact that these women have fantastic taste and svelte pilateed bodies. Not a thigh touches or an ass sags, breasts are perky, natch (with the help of Doc Op or Wacoal). The majority of the Stepford Moms are blondes, approximately 2% of them are natural blondes. Not a soul has red hair and freckles. The typical outfit on a spring day consists of white designer jeans with a striped grosgrain belt (mostly I see Paige, J Brand, Hudson, or Citizens of Humanity: the Sevens are reserved for roughing it on the playground or for preschool volunteering), Tory Burch flats in colors that are not practical in the least bit but nonetheless fabulous (lime green, orange, mustard yellow), Lily Pulitzer tunic or Trina Turk ruffled blouse, hobo or otherwise slouchy bag (lots of Kooba and Marc Jacobs), Nicole Richie-esque sunglasses bearing an obvious logo perefectly propped upon their heads (I'm guessing there are a lot of fake Chanels.), and something monogrammed, like a sunglass case, library tote bag, or water bottle koozie. And monogrammed children are a given. I could write a whole separate post on the culture of monogramming among this set. These are not women who buy clothes at Target, Old Navy, or god forbid, the thrift store or yard sales.

The Stepford Moms chatter about all of life's most important topics. When to go to the beach, what private racquet club has opened up the waiting list, tennis match pairings, nanny bargains, private school application pitfalls, sample sales and boutique party nights, Bunco, diamond cleaning, interior decorating guffaws, and the latest fiasco involving the help (their word, not mine). From what I've overheard, the economy, health care, education, reproductive rights, civil liberties, civil unions, equal pay, planet earth, or CSAs do not creep into conversation, even in passing. I'm guessing these women are not Facebook fans of Rachel Maddow or NPR. But maybe I don't give them enough credit.

What strikes me is not just the apparent shallowness of this ilk; I am in awe of how they all look and talk and laugh and point and toss their hair in the exact same way. I swear if you put a Glamour magazine black bar across all their eyes you'd think you were looking at the same woman. Apparently individuality is not a core value among this set (my favorite quote ever about individuality is found in this song).

They all try so hard to be the same, sound the same, think the same. It seems to me that they are afraid. Afraid to be themselves, to stray from the crowd, to think irreverent thoughts, to break the pink and green mold, to turn their paradigms sideways and backwards and upside down. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of not belonging. Afraid of being singled out. Afraid of being exposed. Afraid of being an individual.

What scares me is a flock of lemmings.
Stepford Mom EncountersSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wordless Wednesday: The Brothers Yin and Yang

Wordless Wednesday: The Brothers Yin and YangSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, April 13, 2009


I spend a lot of time with my sons. I'm a chatty one so we talk. I figure I've got a captive audience until they're at least eight so I babble and ponder and regale. Plus both boys are chatty, so we all fight for air time. We are in the car running to and fro an awful lot. And when we're not staging a singalong to Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride, Robot Parade, Shake Your Booty, or anything by Barry White, we are chatting. Mostly I tell them stories, real tales or fabrications of what strike me as better antidotes to the truth.

And there are the questions. Geesh, the constant questions that boggle my mind, wrench my gut, tickle my funny bone, squash or propel my inner cynic, depending on the inquiry. The questions range from the deep to the absurd and back 'round again.

And it all starts with, "Hey, Mommy?"

There's the God/Jesus/Bible line of questioning:
Whom did you talk about school, Jesus or God?
Is God the same as Jesus?
How old is God?
Was God poor?
Where does God live?
How old is Jesus?
Why does the Lord want to take us away and keep us?
Why don't we have a Bible? Why don't we read it before bed?
Did those gods really have all those arms and blue skin? (a nod to the Indian folktales we read)
Who hears our prayers? Is someone listening?
Who are the angels?

And the baby questions that offer no easy way out:
How does the baby get out of your belly?
How did the baby get in your belly?
How does the baby know when to come out?
What does the baby eat?
Where does the baby poop?
Do daddies have babies?
Did you know that we start out the size of a sprinkle? (my personal favorite quip)

Biology, the body, and the like:
Why is Daddy hairy? (not on the back, mind you, for that's a deal breaker)
Do you really have eyes in the back of your head?
Why does your belly touch your belt buckle when you sit down? (badge of motherhood, I say)
Why do we have a belly button? Can it do anything?
Babies drink milk from there?! (guffawing ensues)

And the random deep thoughts, Jack Handey style:
Will our next pet die?
Who's the oldest person on earth? (for a while the boys' debate was between my dad and my brother until I squashed that)
When will I die?
Who invented seeds?
What was the first seed? (Adam's?)
What language would people speak if everyone from around the world met?
How long ago was "back in the day?"
You mean we don't just take some meat and sew up the cow?
Do we kill animals when we eat them or are they killed before they're on our plate?
Why does hair grow crooked? (perhaps because it's cut that way to begin with)

I entertain Mac Daddy every night with tales from the car. We lie in bed cracking up, feeling the oozing warmth of love and pride and amazement that the mantle of parenthood carries. For some reason Bird and Deal don't pepper Mac Daddy with such questions. I guess they realize that Daddy is the fun, wrestling, Super Hero, magic epee wielding playmate, while I am the erudite omniscient one. Or they're simply trying to get me to stop singing Can't get Enough of Your Love off key.

InterrogationSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Order and Chaos and a Little Girl Named Maddie

First, forgive me for my inarticulate yammer today. I am struggling with words, for they are all so inadequate to express the roaring going on in my heart. Read on and try to get past the rambling. This is clearly not my best work, but I had to get it out. I warn you that I say nothing profound or comforting or meaningful. But please, read on. Coaxing out words and coherent thoughts when your mind is empty and exploding at once is not an easy task. But here goes...

To go against nature and disrupt order results in chaos, no? To shirk the natural order of things is to play chicken with the universe, tempting the Fates. Order is fundamental to our existence, Chaos its unwelcome disruptive cousin. And so it is a mystery, a painful, heartless mystery, when a parent must bury a child. The natural order of things turned upside down.

And so it is for Heather and Mike Spohr, who lost 17-month old Maddie last week. Their baby girl.

I don't know the Spohrs but I know their story, and that is enough. More than enough. Our paths cross in the blogosphere and on Twitter. The funny thing about this sorority of so-called "mommy bloggers" is that we do indeed feel like we are friends. We share more intimate thoughts and tales online that we do in passing coversation with our friends in real life (IRL, as we say). We laugh at the zany antics of our children, boost each other up when we admit our shortcomings, applaud our families' milestones, and mobilize when someone is hurting. If you simply google "Maddie" or "Maddie Spohr" you'll see the amazing words and prayers and love that the blogging community has poured out. You'll see how these virtual friends from all across America rallied to walk for the March of Dimes in Maddie's name. You'll see how Heather's March of Dimes donations on her blog went from $3000 to $20,000 in a blink. We are kindred spirits.

And so I look at my sons with an even greater love. I hug them a little longer. I smother them with wet kisses. I find myself reaching out to simply touch their hand or whisk away a tendril of overgrown hair from their eyes. I get to do that. I get to touch them and hear their boisterous guffaws and giggles. I get to smell their warmth. I get feel their hands slide into mine, their eyelashes brush my cheek. I get to nuzzle them and kiss them good night. I won't take it for granted. This I promise myself.

Maddie's memorial service is at 2:30pm on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009. It will be held at the Old North Chapel at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, CA. Everyone is asked to wear purple in honor of Maddie. Even if you can't make it to LA, wear purple in a show of support for the Spohrs and as a reminder of how precious our children are.
Order and Chaos and a Little Girl Named MaddieSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend