Friday, April 24, 2009

5:00 Fridays

I have an unhealthy desire for Thin Mints. You know the ones. You stash them in your freezer too and silently pray that there's just one more sleeve tucked behind the nine month old box of baking soda when you've crumbled that last tasty morsel over some vanilla ice cream. The Girl Scouts would be a rich bunch if they'd smarten up and sell those chocolately minty marvels year round. And Mac Daddy would be one lucky guy more than just on March 14 if I could use him as a dipstick into some Thin Mint sauce. Yeah, I love Thin Mints that much.

Thin Mint Orgasm

shot of Bacardi light rum
shot of creme de cacao
shot of white creme de menthe
5 ounces of milk

Pour the milk into a large mug. Heat milk about a minute or so in the microwave (I just hit the "beverage" setting on mine.). Then add the shots of rum, creme de cacao, and creme de menthe. Stir gently.

And if the mercury climbs up to the breeze of Key West digits, serve this cold in a tall glass.

Garnish? Forget the garnish this week. Just open up a box of Thin Mints for dipping. Mmmmm...that's called a multiple orgasm.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wordy Wednesday

I realize that today is traditionally Wordless Wednesday. However, it also happens to be Earth Day, and I couldn't possibly keep my trap shut. I'm not here to preach or tease or taunt or cajole. I'm here to simply say that we have one planet that has sustainable life for us carbon based life forms. Let's do our part to keep it healthy.

As for me, I'm trying, and admittedly often floundering. I figure that in aggregate every little bit helps. And so I recycle, natch. I wash out plastic Ziploc bags to reuse them until they leak. I have energy efficient appliances. I bring my own bags to the grocery store (and even to department stores and Target, which seems to make people uncomfortable for some reason). I am a pretty annoying light turner offer and outlet unplugger. I don't let the car idle while I wait in the car pool line. We are slovenly poster children for ChemLawn because we don't use chemicals or fertilizer (hey, weeds are green). Sure, our whole family could do more. We all could. I just ask that you do what you can, mkay?

And as for the photos up there. Deal found that rock with a hole in it in the creek at Umstead Park when we were hiking one day. Yeah, it's shaped like South America, but that's not the significance. Don't you agree that the little hole in the rock is a metaphor? I mean, really, a rock that's like a gajillion years old bears a holey injury. It's a message. Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. It's downright sad to see. It's somehow magical at the same time. The power of nature inspires jaw dropping, eye bulging awe.

And if for no other reason, take a good long look at those gloriously handsome boys up there. My first baby Bird and little baby Deal. Are you really going to watch them frolic and giggle and guffaw while you drop those cigarette butts out the window, toss the aluminum cans in the trash, use a leaf blower instead of a rake, drive a Hummer? Help keep the planet healthy for them. They're not old enough to have fucked it up as much as we all have. It's our responsibility to the next generation, and we must not take it lightly.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Life Lessons

While the economy is top of mind in the media internationally, nationally, and locally, here in North Carolina the two wars we are waging still make the top headlines. North Carolina's fallen make daily headlines around here. There are two major bases close enough to my home that their stories make our local news. Fort Bragg is home of the elite 82nd Airborne and Special Ops. Camp Lejeune is the largest marine base on the East coast. Soldiers from the esteemed bases of Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune continue to depart to war zones, some never return, some return broken, none returns the same.

Recent estimates count over 4200 U.S. military deaths since the war's start in March over six years ago. Those fallen 4200 were someone's son, daughter, first born, namesake, middle child, only child, flesh and blood, heartbeat. The data is comprised of people; we choose to dehumanize it to make the news more palatable. Let's not forget that each soldier killed, injured, missing, or scarred is someone's child. That soldier's heart beat inside a woman's womb for nine months, and his head sleepily rested upon his father's chest for what seemed a lifetime ago. I know North Carolinians don't forget that.

The Iraq War began in March 2003, before I became a mother.

Motherhood has given me perspective. With every staid military portrait of a young man in uniform flashed on the 6:00 news B-roll, I see a cooing infant expressing pure love, a babbling baby learning to crawl, a curious toddler peeking beneath the tablecloth, a deliriously happy and innocent preschooler collecting rocks in his pockets, a restless kindergartener squirming in his chair. And then the slideshow stops because I have not yet ventured past kindergarten with my oldest son. I am still making memories.

It was an unremarkable morning when I was taking my Bird to school. As we approached the car pool line we were both flummoxed by the stream of soldiers in dress uniform walking silently by. I was struck by their exceedingly perfect posture and shiny patent shoes. Bird was fascinated with their hats and trappings of decorated men in uniform. Soldiers are glamorous and glorified to a boy of five. I followed the path of those soldiers with my eyes and realized they were walking to a funeral home. How could I have been coming to this school all year and not even noticed the funeral home across the street? The subtle signage and beige brick faded into their elements, almost camoflouged within the backdrop of the neighborhood. Suddenly the sight of an elementary school, where children come to grow, and its neighbor, a funeral home, where people come in their passing, was hauntingly ironic. I gulped and tried my damndest to keep an even tone when Bird asked me what all the soldiers were doing.

Because it was a rare moment we had alone, without my three-year old son in the car, I told my little Bird the truth. I explained that a soldier died and his friends and family were coming to celebrate his life and their love for him. I told him that America is waging war in two different countries and that war is scary, dangerous, and scarring. I told him that the soldiers sacrifice an awful lot to help keep America safe. Sometimes they sacrifice their own lives. I struggled with what I had just done. Will this be a moment my son recalls in his adulthood as the time his mother punted him into reality? Will he have nightmares? My Bird, my oldest son, simply looked more sad than bewildered. He told me he didn't think he wanted to be a fighter pilot anymore, and I was secretly relieved. Granted, he will choose 734 different professions before he's 16. He'll engage his imagination and ask questions and keenly observe the world around him. I won't stop his flirting with the military at this tender age but I won't encourage it either. He will eventually make these choices on his own, and I will support him.

Bird has seen death and what it does to a family. He understands why his daddy cries on Father's Day. We still talk about Grandpa and Capote and Casey. He understands that we'll never see his grandfather or our family cats again. And so he stated, in an innocent, heartfelt manner, "Well, I hope the soldier can see Grandpa and pet Capote and Casey in heaven."

I exhaled. And brushed the welling tears from my eyes as I thought about that soldier's mother.

Cross posted at Deep South Moms.

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