Friday, July 17, 2009

5:00 Fridays

I have been craving some bubbly lately. Expensive champagne is not in the budget, and I don't dare crouch to the low shelf. Andre is so senior year of high school New Year's Eve in a friend's barn with horny boys who were so not getting any despite their best efforts. Not that I have firsthand knowledge of such revelry.

Prosecco is a lovely, low alcohol content bubbly white wine that tastes like summer sunshine, freshly mowed grass, a field of ripe canteloupe, and the spray of the ocean from a slow sailing wooden boat in one sip. A bottle goes down easily (I did say it's low alcohol content after all.) so stock up. I always have a few bottles on hand, especially when my dear friends Kat and Sammy pop in.

Today I am jazzing up my Prosecco with a few of my favorite things.

Maria's Prosecco

Sugar cube
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Fresh lime
Handful chopped mint
4 ounces Prosecco
Vanilla bean pod for garnish

Drop a sugar cube into a champagne flute. Add the juice of half a lime, half an ounce of simple syrup, and a handful of fresh mint roughly chopped (Luckily I have oodles of it in my garden.). Top off with Prosecco. Garnish with a fresh vanilla bean pod cut in half lengthwise.

I'm pretty sure this would have solved a problem like Maria.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Joy to the World

The best thing I can do for my children is raise them in a home bursting with joy. Unabashed, no-excuses-for-laughing-obnoxiously-loud, snorting-and-squirting-milk-out-your-nose, pee-in-your-pants, jokester joy. Joy, unlike happiness that is often misconstrued as a destination, is happenstance, free, serendipitous. It prances on us unsuspectingly, melting us into giggles and grins.

Joy is a team sport.

For much of my life I thought I grew up in house that was devoid of love. I realize now that I was indeed loved, albeit shown in ways different than how Mac Daddy and I raise our children. For starters, we have marital love, which is a far cry from my house growing up. I never doubted that I was loved but I did doubt that I was adored in the same way I treat Bird and Deal. I was cared for, fed, warm, clean, educated, and given all the opportunities in the world. But no one ever tickled my funny bone. No one nurtured and caressed the orb of innocence and delight that lollygags around in all of us, especially in children. That orb shrivels if it is not stimulated. Oh no, it was not love that my home lacked. It was joy.

I have one photo of my parents laughing. I don't even know where it came from. I recognize the clothes they are wearing so I am figuring that picture is from about 1980 or so. They are looking in different directions, but it is clear that the same thing struck their funny bones. It is a beautiful candid moment that looks like the kind of picture that comes with the frame. I have never seen my dad laugh like that in person; all I have is that photo.

My home was shrouded in a veil of stress, anger, discomfort, trepidation. Those walls rarely heard laughter. We were not a family of pranksters or joke tellers. Mine was a serious house. I never learned the philosophy of work hard play hard until I went to college. We didn't play much. At least not as a family. No one played tag in the yard, built obstacle courses out of bean bag chairs and hula hoops, or trashed the kitchen decorating Christmas cookies.

We had our share of issues, as all families do. But no one was violent or drunk or enraged. We were safe. In fact, we were guarded. We lacked spontaneity, a sense of fun, and the freedom to laugh until our bellies ached and cheeks stiffened. It was not all unhappy times. But there was no joy.

The best thing I can do for, and with, my sons is chisel my face with laughlines so that they know joy and can pass it on to their own children one day. Memories of joy is what will bring them home.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Things I Didn't Say When I Was 5

My Bird is teetering on the cusp of 6. He just finished kindergarten and is warming up for first grade. First grade! Bird is a smart one. I realize that statement holds no credibility, considering they are borne from the keyboard of me, his mother. But trust me, he is a smart cookie. I imagine he takes after me. Ahem. Bird's precocious in a way that is charming and often alarming.

I wish I could hook him up to a tape recorder, if such a thing still exists, so I could capture the funny, crazy, silly, ridiculous stuff that he blurts out. I am amazed at the way his brain works, not only as a testament to the inner workings of his very being, but the sheer shift in how times have changed.

Just a sampling of things I know I did not say when I was 5-years old:

  1. This one time, in Chinese class...
  2. My German teacher said...
  3. That water is zu heiss!
  4. I think we need surround sound.
  5. Whale is a three-way homonym.
  6. But's a homonym too.
  7. That hair is called blonde, not yellow, Deal.
  8. I'm a LEGO architect.
  9. Actually, Mommy, that is a crustacean.
  10. My brain must be smart because my head is hard, not mushy.
  11. Take my picture! Now can I see it?
  12. Can you please pause the TV while I go to the bathroom?
  13. Can you please fast forward through the commercials?
  14. More proscuitto, please.
  15. I'd like to have mussels for dinner tonight.
  16. Do those popsicles have high fructose corn syrup in them?
  17. The guy in that Hummer thinks he's so cool.
  18. That huge car is bad for the environment.
  19. Here are my plastic sandwich bags to wash and reuse.
  20. Every animal has a job to do on our earth.
  21. Sometimes you don't know who's a man and who's a woman because boys can have long hair and earrings.
  22. We need some more olives.
  23. Smoked salmon for breakfast? Only if we have capers?
  24. Super heroes don't exist. Someone just made up the stories to teach us stuff about being strong and respectful.
  25. That house is obnoxious!
  26. Today in school we learned about nanotechnology.
  27. Don't forget to pack the beer for the grown ups!
  28. Sometimes the truth makes people feel bad.
  29. Are you going to blog about that. Mommy?
  30. Are you going to tweet what I just said?

So tell me, what are your kids saying that floor you?

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