Friday, October 2, 2009

5:00 Fridays

My neighborhood enjoys a weekly tradition fondly called "Brown Liquor Night." I'm not even sure how this all started other than our resident fix-it man, crime watch extraordinaire, clever craftsman, and all around funny man needed an excuse to get all the y-chromosomes together in a way that didn't involve sports, gambling, sweating, or manual labor.

Brown Liquor Night was born.

Many of us have outdoor fire pits or fireplaces so we engage in porch pyrotechnics on a regular basis. Brown Liquor Night just begs for some rocks glasses clinking fireside. So far the drinks flit between whiskey on the rocks or bourbon on the rocks. It's high time to jazz things up a bit, no?

So for the gentlemen (and occasional gentle women who join the par-tay) here's my contribution to Brown Liquor Night:

Porch Rye

1 ounce Templeton Rye
3 ounces ginger ale
2 teaspoons basil simple syrup (or a tish more if you like it sweeter like I do)

For the simple syrup:
Stir together 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup torn basil leaves in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently and heat until sugar is dissolved. Strain into a container and chill about 30 minutes. This should keep up to a month in the fridge, but I bet you'll use it up before then.

Mix all the ingredients together in a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a basil leaf or two. If you are feeling particularly industrious, add basil leaves to an ice tray, fill with water and freeze. Voila, basil ice cubes! Go on and go all Martha Stewart on your friends.

And hey, as I write this, Mac Daddy is sipping some rye, wiping his upper lip dry, and sighing a satisfied "ahh" on a neighbor's porch somewhere up the street.

I tasted Templeton Rye for the first time at BlogHer this year. I enjoyed Raspberry Old Fashioneds (or was it Manhattans?) with some bloggers whom I adore. My cool factor was exponentially upped just by getting my boogie on with them. Cheers to Whit, Matt, Kim, Shawn, and the other amazing writers who can get a groove on as well as they can write.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Journal Therapy

When I was a junior in high school, Mr. Harrison made us keep a journal. I found writing cathartic, as I do now. I never looked at that black and white composition book as homework. I regarded it as an extension of my brain, my heart. I could be creative or sassy or impudent. I wrote with unabashed flair about my crushes, my longings, my worries. I didn't care that my English teacher was reading. I got lost in a world that was 100% my own.

My pen my voice, my paper my therapy. And being the anal perfectionist that I was (rather, am, ahem), I used lined paper only. Still do.

One of the most simple exercises I'd write every so often was a list of 10 things that made me happy and 10 things that made me shudder. It's been a good 20+ years since I've done this, but here goes:

10 Things That Make Me Smile
  1. The sound of Whoppers when you shake them in the cardboard container. Try it. It will make you want to dance.
  2. Smores. Preferably cooked over our outdoor fireplace, with the boys and I eating the marshmallows before they hit the graham crackers.
  3. The sound of my Bird when he says "Bye bye, Mommy" as he ambles out of the car to school in the morning.
  4. I'm Not Really a Waitress on my toes.
  5. Chai, the homemade kind with honey instead of sugar.
  6. Deal's voice when he mispronounces his "l's" and turns them into "w's."
  7. Mac Daddy when he sends me a text message just to tell me he loves me.
  8. Fall cooking; nothing like the smell of root vegetables roasting!
  9. Indulging in People magazine and not having to pretend to be erudite and deep at the coffee shop.
  10. Discovering blueberries in my freezer.

10 Things That Make Me Gag
  1. Ill mannered people.
  2. Spam, in my inbox and the icebox.
  3. Camel toe and Tammy Faye mascara clad women at the gym.
  4. Discovering snot or other bodily juice on my shoulder...at the end of the day when I'm changing out of my clothes.
  5. Hearing "Stop that or I'm going to spank you" in the grocery aisle.
  6. Men who leer and can't make eye contact.
  7. Gum stuck under the restaurant table.
  8. My kid rolling said gum around in his hand.
  9. Fathers who call parenting their own children "babysitting."
  10. The smell of my car when it rains: a most unfortunate lingering effect of leaving my sunroof open during a torrential downpour.

So tell me, what makes your Smile/Gag list?

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Type A Mom, Yup, That's Me

I've never really considered myself Type A. Sure, I'm anal, organized, ambitious, and driven. I thrive on structure and often fumble in the face of flexibility. However, I also lack motivation at times, hitting a writer's block plateau more often than not these days. I am not aggressive and I shy away from competition (unless it involves board games, don't mess with me when it comes to Taboo and Scattergories.). I do share the traits of impatience and need for control with the Type A folks out there but I don't characterize myself as excessively aggressive or obsessive.

Perhaps Mac Daddy would beg to differ.

When it comes to parenting, I surely don't consider myself Type A. In fact, most of the time I feel like Type F, as in Failure. We moms are hard on ourselves, feeling like we could always do more, better, faster, tastier, tidier. We rarely look upon our accomplishments and savor the little miracles of everyday. "Relish" in our book is nothing more than a condiment.

That stops today.

I'd like to pay homage to some of the amazing women I met at the Type A Mom Conference. Women who were my imaginary friends, as Mac Daddy says. Women who are real friends now. Women who I admire. Women who make me laugh, think, cringe, question, applaud, act, discover, cheer, revel, celebrate. If being a Type A Mom means being counted among the likes of the following utterly amazing women, then count me in (in no particular order):

Morningsidemom - My blog love affair and sister, separated at birth. Seriously, how have we gone 40 years (give, in my case, take, in hers) without knowing each other IRL?
Down to Earth Mama - A gloriously funny, self proclaimed geek. I am amazed at her writing and photography that captures spirit beautifully.
Pundit Mom - Really, need I say more? I was on her like beans on a stalk. Smart. Smart. Smart. I beam just to be able to say that she's my friend.
Deb on the Rocks - I stalked her from afar at BlogHer and was all over her awesomeness at Type A Mom. She's gonna have her own sitcom one day. I might be duking it out with MorningsideMom to see who's her biggest fan.
Modern Mami - Beat It is our theme song, and she's a rock star.
Egg Marketing - Susan thought I was a rap star. I hope I didn't disappoint. She sure didn't.
Cecilyk - A woman who proclaims she is more liberal than drag queens is alright by me.
Canape - Founder of Triangle Mamas and most impressive Wii Rock Band drummer. Real life musician who is every bit as cool as you'd imagine.
Abbyjess - Fellow Triangle Mama, Wii Rock Band vocalist extraordinaire. Her snark is hidden by her adorable awesomeness.
Upsideup - Always a joy to run into my friend. Kirtsy founder, designer, all around smart chick. Counting down to seeing her again next month at the Social Media Business Forum.
Sugar Jones & Angela England - I'm lumping these two brilliant women together because their graciousness taught me an invaluable lesson: Heart matters. Regardless of our political views and religious affiliations and histories, we can all get along in earnest. We share mutual respect for our outlooks, experiences, crafts, and talents.
TypeAMom - Oh, words escape me. My fellow foodie, francophile friend. I aspire to be half as awesome as she is. Kudos for planning and pulling off one helluva conference! I bow to her.
Mamikaze - Seriously, her name alone is worthy of our love, right? Kudos for making it a fantastic conference. A good time and a helping hand who can rock the hell out of an organic T-shirt made from recycled plastic bottles.
High Impact Mom - Always a joy. A kind soul who's always game for a good laugh and would never make a girl drink alone.
Vdog - I almost climbed into her lap at BlogHer because I was so excited to meet her. Now I am left speechless or ramble about nothingness when in her presence.
Writing Roads - I dream about being an ounce of the writer she is. Funny and liberal to boot. I think I love her.
Shash - She wins for coolest shoes. And you know how I am moved by a pair of awesome peep toes.
Mommy Niri - My fellow Indian blogger who doesn't write about techie stuff and isn't a geek! Words of wisdom flow from her ever-so-candid conversations.

I hung out with many other awesome bloggers at the Type A Mom Conference. We rocked out. We toasted one too many local brews. We indulged. We squealed. We cried. We snortled. We embraced. We cavorted.

We all found each other online, whether on Twitter or other such vehicle, have read each other's writing, commented on touching posts, offered condolences and congratulations, formed a friendship. What is astounding and refreshing is that the people I imagined to be cool turned out to be even more so. We shared a connection through our writing. A certain intimacy becomes apparent after you realize that peering into someone's soul through her words can truly move you. Such is the power and beauty and mystery of writing.

Our words connected us online and have brought us together in person.

Cheers to the Type A Moms out there. Mwah!

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