Friday, September 4, 2009

5:00 Fridays

My friends are constantly sending me links and notes and ideas about cocktail crazes. Scot recently shared something from Garden & Gun magazine. I am not making this shit up. I'm not sure what was more frightening - the drink or the publication. My plan is to invite him over to be my taste tester with Mac Daddy while Scot's wife and I sit and back and enjoy some Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.

Other friends send me drinks that sound more, ahem, shall we say, palatable?

Roycie is one such friend. She is a fellow foodie, writer, reader, wine lover, Obama Mama, and overall cool woman. If you met her you'd totally want to invite her to join your book club and make her dance with you at your 40th birthday party. If you slip her one (or three or five) of these cocktails you might even slip in a cleavage shot if you have a trusty tiny 007-esque camera.

A bartender at the fantastic Watts Grocery made this for Roycie and said she'd name it after her. I kick myself daily for several reasons but mostly because I have yet to venture into Watt's. A) I fear I might never leave, and B) heading that far from home adds a hefty sum to the sitter bill so we tend to stick close to home on date nights. Grrr... Anyhoo, Roycie tells me this drink is called the Sunset Beach, but I'm (re) christening it...

The Rolls Roycie

1 shot Raspberry vodka
1 shot Blue curacao
1 small pour of Cranberry juice
splash of sour mix.

Add all the liquid goodness to a shaker filled with ice. Play a little Ric Ocasek and shake it up. Strain and serve in a martini glass garnished with an orange wedge and a lime wedge (Roycie's version calls for a cherry, but cherries are one of the five foods I won't eat so let's leave it out, mkay?).

Now as I told you, Roycie is a writer, as in people pay her for her words. She's a professional. Her business card does not say "blogger," it says "writer." Here's her written testimonial of the newly christened Rolls Roycie:

"Super yummy!"

I never said that smart people pay her. And in her defense, she might have just had a cleavage shot taken when interviewed for this testimonial.
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Family Vacation is Hardly a Vacation

Here's the thing about vacationing with family, there's nothing vacay about it.

Oh, it's always a grand time to see family (especially considering it had been over two years since we were back home...save the guilt trip; we've already taken it and have the T-shirts and passport stamps to prove it.). Spending time with family was the hands down highlight of our rendez vous to the Midwest. Bird and Deal loved playing with their cousins and kidding around with their grandmother. They were spoiled by their aunts and uncles and fawned over by family friends. Nonetheless, it was exhausting. Nothing rejuvenating about it. No sirree, no one around Chez Dirt & Noise is relaxed and rested.

Nevermind that Bird started first grade the day after we got home. I know, I know. Bad timing is the understatement of the century. You can revoke my Mother of the Year crown now. The title does come with a crown and sash right?

We actually had a fantastic vacation...in hindsight.

While we were in the throes of driving hours on end (sometimes in a torrential downpour), blotting juice box spills from the rental car, mediating brotherly boxing matches in the back seat, changing DVDs that mysteriously got scratched, maneuvering unmarked back country roads, monitoring unseemly lyrics on unknown radio stations, and timing potty breaks, we managed to sneak in a good time. It goes without saying that Mac Daddy and I teetered between bickering and paying each other off with the silent treatment for much of the drive time. It was reminiscent of my hellacious family road trips as a kid, only then the whole bunch of us fought, making the entire trip somewhat sucky. Mac Daddy and I got over once we arrived at our destination. Said destination always had a full stock of liquid refreshments. Our worst fights involve car trips and home improvement. This is why we fly and pay someone to install curtain rods. Every picture hung in our house has an unresolved fight brewing behind it.

Here's the thing, visiting family and vacation are not synonymous. In fact, I would argue that they are indeed mutually exclusive. For that matter, traveling with children is not always vacation.

Sure, hanging at Legoland and the Chicago Children's Museum was grand. I don't even mean that sarcastically. I even had a blast riding the ginormous ferris wheel at Navy Pier with the boys, though I wish I had worn Depends because that shit was high high high! We stared at our reflections in the Millenium Park bean and laughed at the boat tour guide's bovine jokes about Mrs. O'Leary's cow. We ate ungodly amounts of ice cream and frozen custard and indulged in more cheese that Mrs. O'Leary's cow could produce in a year. I have the extra 10 pounds and double chin to prove it. The back fat was already there; I only have the gestation of two boys to blame for that.

What stinks is that I didn't spend a minute or a dime indulging in Chicago's most famous sport - shopping. A quick jaunt to Nordstrom earned me whining and fits that I couldn't bear lest I start spinning my head and spewing unsavory remarks to my children in public. Mac Daddy did indulge me by letting me sip my champagne in peace atop the Hancock Tower observation deck restaurant while he wrestled the boys who were hopped up on pineapple upside down cake.

That three minutes was the extent of my vacation.

Did I mention that the whole famdamily shared a hotel room too? Good times. There were moments I was reading by the light of my Blackberry. That's sure to put a strain on the almost 41-year old eyes that are next in line at the presbyopia store.

Truth be told, Bird and Deal were great. Most importantly, they were true princes on our flights. Fellow passengers are sure as hell thankful for that. We laughed a lot, walked even more, and ate our body weight in Garrett's popcorn, cheese curds, Kopp's tasty treats, peanut squares, tapas, bratwurst, and Jelly Bellys. And no doubt Mac Daddy and I indulged in plenty of Wisconsin's finest ale (nevermind that it was actually Corona). But since we divided our time between seeing family (which means we were all "on") and playing the part of Tourist, we never had (or took) the time to simply exhale.

Our family's trip was what our friend Janet coined a "kidcation," not a vacation. Like I said, it was awesome, but it wasn't the least bit relaxing. No beach. No Matt Dillon cabana boy. No pool raft. And for the most part, no sunshine.

But based on the boys' recollections, stories about antics with their cousins, memories made, and "remember when" moments, I wouldn't change a damn thing...except adding vacation days to Mac Daddy's schedule and a traveling baby sitter armed with a corkscrew.

In the mean time, I revel in the fact that we were making memories and more importantly, cementing familial bonds for our children, who don't benefit from the joy of family often enough.

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