Friday, December 31, 2010

I Hearby Resolve in 2011

To finish what I start.
To offer up praise.
To say thanks much much more.
To stay in touch.
To do good work.
To dance a little more and spread terrific juicy sexual gossip a little less.
To meditate, yogaify, exercise, and vegetable-eat with greater regularity.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Have Yourself a Dirty Nasty Naughty Little Christmas




Christmas is full o' nasty.

Egg nog. Just the words. Soooo nasty.

Ditto Yule Log. Is that an elf sex position?

Also, someone is coming down your chimney. Is it me, or is that just gross?

It's an overweight German elf.

He comes from The North Pole. That's a distance.

He knows when you've been baaad.

He can throw his sack over his shoulder.

He stuffs your stocking. Are you getting this?

If what he's giving you is too big to stuff into in your stocking, he puts it out under your tree. This is not a euphemism.

He whips reindeer.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Had St. Francis Been A Foodie: Christmas Version

Lard,

make me a cooking utensil, perhaps a spatula, of your peace
where there is hatred, let me sow langoustines
where there is injury, poi
where there is doubt in the freshness of cheese, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light golden brown caramel with fleur de sel,
and where there is thin plonk, joy, and a bottle of 1982 Chateau Margaux.

O divine Konditor Meister,
grant that I may not so much seek to be served risotto
as to serve others risotto;
to be understood as having great palate,
as to understand that not everyone does,
to be loved, as to love the maitre d’;
for it is in giving wicker baskets of seasonal organic microgreens
that we receive,
it is in pardoning those who eat protein shakes, we are pardoned,
and it is by "Death by Chocolate" cake
that we are born to the masthead at Saveur.

Almond.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Anxious Mom, Cool Babysitter: An Accidentally Recorded Conversation

My father transcribed verbatim this conversation that I accidentally recorded onto his answering machine. He immediately recognized it's potential.



Me: How are the kiddoes?

Sitter: They’re good. They’re just finished watching Monsters, Inc.

Me: Oh, they did? OK, do they seem kind of hepped up or do they seem kind of tired?

Sitter: They seem kind of tired now.

Me: OK. So we’re gonna be home probably within like a half hour or 40 minutes.

Sitter: OK. That sounds good.

Me: OK. If they, if they get really sleepy, hmm, yeah, it’s OK if you wanna, wanna hold them, rock them, or if they, you know, they seem like they’re headed in that direction.

Sitter: OK

Me: Yeah. Because sometimes they get so tired they get riled up.

Sitter: Nervous laughter.

Brief silence


Me: But . . . We’ll be home soon.

Sitter: OK

Me: OK. I’m glad things are going well.

Sitter: All right, well, we get to see you, too.

Me: OK. Take care.

Sitter: Bye

Me: Bye

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Manifesto or, A Few of My Favorite Things

Things that are good. And make me believe in a benevolent universe:

Brown paper packages tied up with string. Totally get it.

Hot towels.

Funny women.

Fred Astaire.

Sea otters.

Hospitality.

The milk and long dry grass scent of love.

How flowers droop inside, in vases, and need slender plastic collars, but never do outside, in the wild.

Wide smile. Irresistable.

When first you do the wrong thing, but then you go back and do the right thing. That capacity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What To Do With Your Hands At Cocktail Parties

There is overstimulation with the flickering candle-simulation, the canapes, especially the shrimp bowl, the burbling jazz and the people asking you what you do in a really insinuating and uncomfortable way like what you do -- poetry writing-- is somehow less than, inferior to whatever it is that they do: skydiving corporate mergers. What do you do with your sad clown hands?


5) Pull hands into sleeves, make an elephant trunk. Lumber around the shrimp bowl, bellowing.

4) Carry two glasses of wine at all times. Every time someone takes the secondary glass that you've so kindly offered, go get a tertiary glass, and so on.

3) There is no word relating to the number eleven, but there is one that relates to the number twelve: duodenary.

2) Converse like this and no one will care what you do with your hands.

1) The shrimp bowl is yours.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Still Lifes

Under the tree, a Dutch porcelain mug, containing rum, that Mommy forgot.

A milk chocolate Adventskalender, ripped apart and strewn across the floor. Nearby, a dog is sick.

A landscape of a frilly woman's apron, flour, and sugar, and butter and cookie cutters in the shapes of elves is lit from the left, with 1930s Midwestern nostalgia.

A platter of red grapes. For now.

Hanging like Flemish grandmaster van Eyck rabbits in the dim hall closet, several pairs of flesh-red wool mittens, drying.

A silver ball on the tree, reflecting Daddy, in the other room.

In 3/4 view, the ham, is resplendent, burnt sienna, ochre and vermillion.

After Bruegels' Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Mommy, who found her mug of rum.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Poetry Mashup

"The art of trussing isn't hard to master."
- Elizabeth Bishop

"The ladies come and go talking of the pros and cons of cornbread, as stuffing."
- T.S. Eliot

"She wandered lonely as a cloud over to the pies."
- William Wordsworth

"I have miles to eat before I sleep."
- Robert Frost

"Quoth the turkey, nevermore."
- Edgar Allan Poe

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mommy’s Holiday Survival Checklist

Belgian chocolates, assorted
Antique, claw-foot bathtub
Champagne
The mind of a reincarnated Buddha

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For It Is In Giving That We Receive

For me the holidays present uncomfortable present-giving situations,
when, for example, your banker and genius flautist cardiologist cousin's family surprises
your family with the gift of a trip down the Loire Valley, on a canal boat, plus excursions to local villages to sample their handcrafted cheese on rented bikes and you're smiling really tight because your
return gift, deep down it's decorative bag, is not tickets to Rome
just in time for the spring Festival of Artichokes and Vibrant Good
Health, but a homemade sno-globe. Your son, 5, glued octopusses inside a jam jar and you filled it with blue water and glitter, and, God Almighty, it seemed right at the time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who are you seeing?

I'm seeing a chiropractor. I'm seeing an Alexander technique teacher.
I'm seeing a rock star. No, I am seeing an orthopedic surgeon: same
thing. Of course I am reading Dr. John Sarno, guru to the stars' back
pain.

This pain I have, what is it? Depends on who you ask. A herniation in the cervical spine. Spinal degeneration. Incorrect thinking, a childhood
accident, the obesity epidemic, that I sit keyboarding too much, that I
don't eat enough greens. That I have negative energy and engage in unhelpful self-talk.

What I want is to be without pain. But it's not simple, for
first I must identify with a school of thought, a philosophy, a world
view of disease and healing be it traditional or alternative or
crystal angel therapy (there is such a thing and it has zealots). Like
religion, medicine has sects, and cults. No one buys what the
others are selling. My neurologist laughed at yoga! My chiropractor
said, cortisone injections are hooey! My surgeons say, schedule
surgery already. Dr. Sarno's New York appointments are thousands of
dollars my HMO says oh, hell no. It's mud pit wrestling.

I am an interfaith and an interdenominational medical pragmatist, please don't judge me, as I wear the veil and eat pork, keep the Sabbath, but mindfully, while sipping anti-inflammatory tea, I just want to get well.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Le Brain to Le Page

This is my first voice-dictated blog. I didn't think it would be so
hard to write sin manos. But it is hard, infuriating, even.

It would seem that cutting out the middleman, the hands, would
streamline the work, enabling a direct conversation: Le Brain to Le
Page. Trala! Viola! But no. My brain-to-page conversational ability
is that of a clingy three-year-old who has been unceremoniously dropped into a new daycare.
Sayonara Mom. Adieu middleman. There will be tears.

For I miss my middleman, I should say middleladies, plural, for there are ten of them. For 38 years writing has been a handcraft, writing implement to paper, phalanges all articulated, hunched over, something akin to knitting.

Voice recognition feels like it removes me from the process. Look at me, I'm standing up writing! Walking around! Making a sandwich! I feel I'm Sci-Fi and should be wearing a tight silver space suit. I feel like a denim overalls-wearing farmgirl in space, and unable to find the words to describe how far away is Kansas.

The Holiday Letter Or, Little White Lies

My policy is extremely strict truthfulness. Until October. Then it is
open season, goose season, a.k.a. The Holidays, the most wonderful time of the year...for cookies, yes, and for the little white lies, vague details, and baldfaced subterfuge that are designed to bring more comfort and joy to the world.

Will my holiday letter detail a year's worth inconsequences, disturbing medical unknowns, and parental prat falls? No! My letter, embossed on thick card stock that I can't afford (tell no one) will outline a year of success: personal and professional and, most important, parental. I am afterall a SAHM.

Therefore I must showcase that I have balanced the household budget, kept the bathrooms spotless, taken well-lighted video of important occasions, scrap-booked, every birthday-remembered, provided the necessary stimulation via age-appropriate crafts and games for my children, while in heels effortlessly sauteeing gourmet vegetables and squiring the van from practice to playgroup with a smile.

I will not tell the truth which is I wrote this holiday letter from the floor of the
crafts closet where I was for a week, covered in Martha Stewart knockoff glitter. It was best week of my life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

It's National Novel Writing Month. "So what's that like?" Friends and family asked last year, when I did it. Like a marathon of knitting is how I think of it, except with no thread, no needles.

Writing is handicraft. It should be offered on Etsy. Whether longhand on parchment with a goose feather quill, or keyboarding, you are crocheting my friends. Purling with verbs. Looming. Tapestry-making like ladies in waiting who sat around the castle needlepointing and gossiping their way to making the Unicorn Tapestries. They had an endpoint in mind, of course: unicorn, walled garden, pot-bellied, serious-faced naked virgin. But along the way they were heads-down, needles-raised.

Were they alone? No. Well, sometimes. Like if they had some extra knitting to do on a hoof or pot-belly or something.

So my advice? Heed the looming Renaissance ladies in waiting and the stich-n-bitches, WriMoers, and go to the write-ins. Share the mirth of anemic word counts, place your laptops intimately back to back, weave together the threads of your writing lives. Few people do this and we need each other. Who else understands the strange call of 4 a.m. to resolve a love triangle between Mavis and Ebeneezer or to cast the jewel of Entemann's into the firey pit of Melchior?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Soup, It's What's For Happy

The sounds my husband makes when he eats my soup (absolutely no euphemism) are contented sounds. Slurping. Belly-patting. Feet-kicking like a happy infant's.

Don't bother comforting anyone with apples. The way to comfort is with broth. Why is this so? Soup is the anti-information highway, speedster, sous-vide, molecular gastronomy. It's made in one pot, for God's sake, with ingredients even a toddler can identify: onions, garlic, chickens. Or bread and tomato. You do not need a kitchen torch or a kitchen scale. What you need is willingness to have the whole place smell like chicken schmaltz, meaning terrific, and that takes time. The flavors must build slowly, brick by brick a great pyramid of flavor. Can't believe I said that. Worse: I'm earnest.

Cheesy as it is, (and cheese certainly has its place in soups, I'm talking minestrone here and French onion) soup is a time-gift. What is more precious than time? Okay, saffron, the saffron you put in bouillabaisse.
The point is, what are you ladles waiting for? Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, the time to make Mediterranean seafood soup is now.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pair of Leopard Geckos, We're Through

We didn't expect that you would change your evolutionary adaptation of nocturnality, as you have been nocturnal in the Afghan desert for thousands of years, but we hoped at least you'd watch sitcoms with us, sitting at our feet as our neighbor's dog does, and letting us pet you, thereby lowering our blood pressure.

Of course, you are not a dog, you are a reptile, or an amphibian, the book from the library wasn't altogether clear. Still, we expected a blink of recognition, some kind of cameraderie as we we share the same planet at this space/time, but you never once registered that it was I, and again I the following week, who changed the water in your bowl.

Being with you is like being in a nature show you don't want to be in. You eat only live crickets. And, if you attacked one and jawed off only it's forelimb or it's head, who would be the one to scoop the remains from the sand? Again, I. With a spoon.

Geckos, we're through. O, do not cry (as if you could) I...I! have found a new home and new names for you. From now on you will be called Olivia and Rufus for you are Kindergarten Classroom Pets. I hope you know that at last you have made me very happy. My blood pressure is returned to low.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Medical Conditions That Are Also Great Speed Metal Band Names

Arteriosclerotic

This Is Spinal Stenosis (Lars Uldisc fronting)

Magnetic Resonance Imagining (aka "M period R period I period" or more simply, "The Tube")

Degenerative Disc Disease (known to their fans as "Triple D")

Herniation

Osteoarthritic Metatarsal

Deviated Septum

The Obesity Epidemic

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Thwarted Romance Writer's Guide To The Best Haircuts for Your Face Shape

Round: A bowl-cut will frame your round face. If you do not like your bowl-cut, the bowl will additionally serve as a device to catch the many tears you will shed over your haircut and onto your creamy heaving porcelain bosom.

Diamond: You must be the only person in the world with a diamond face. I'm sorry I can't help you. I couldn't help Valentina, either, when she and Jerome had that misunderstanding that led to her being in the dark woods, in a red satin cloak that did nothing to hide her generous curves.

Ovoid: Better than a getting a haircut, you should lounge upon a divan, your loose raven tresses cascading over the brocade until it is time to pick up the kids from school.

Square: I am this, apparently, or at least my manuscript was, according to my agent. But I implore you, is the title, "Conquest and Triumph" so done?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly As Interviewed By Esquire Magazine

The jar sits there. In the cupboard. What matters is not the jar but what's inside it. Peanut butter. The ground nut butter is the color of a light wool Italian tailored suit in fawn. The jelly, on the countertop like a starlet, it's blackberryness all backlit and seductive, acts like it doesn't know the peanut butter, as if they don't have some history.

Like Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra and Richard Burton playing Anthony in Anthony and Cleopatra, they have often been slathered together between sheets of white bread with the crusts cut off. Like that. Like slathering. Thick, too. Maybe one of them wore driving shoes. Tod's. Or Tom Ford's jawline. Historic.

Epic. Secrets. What we're talking about is kid's lunchbox food. But more than that. We're talking about culture, the culture of the business class. Enterprise. Gumption. Zing. Ground nut and rich berry. Uptown girl. It's American not American't, it's slather two good things together and say, son, this was the public school lunch of your daddy, but your daddy made it and wears no-pleat gabardine in cerise, golfs St. Andrews with a Gucci caddy, this, was his sandwich. Remember, when you're a man, a man leaves the crusts on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Name Cerise is Way Better Than Cherry

Several years ago I was in the position of picking out colors for the closet in our apartment in Cambridge that we were calling "our nursery." My son, now 5, was about to be born. It was at the Home Depot that I started thinking: with a good color name (Midnight Meadow) you can get away with anything, even a terrible color (Midnight Meadow is a wasting grey blue, it would have been more aptly named Death).

The opposite is also true. For instance, Nacho. Nacho is the color I chose for the closet, "our nursery." It was a heartwarming yellow, but when friends and family asked "What color is that?" and I said, beaming, "why I'm tickled you asked, it's Nacho!" they were like, ewww, who would put their firstborn in a nacho colored closet? Couldn't the geniuses at Behr have named it Sunnyside Of The Street?

Color, like everything, is marketing. Vermillion is superior to plain Jane red, chartreuse to spring green, even a child knows this. When my children are bellydown, crayoning furiously in their coloring books, they try to outdo the Crayola marketing department and each other. "Pass me Poop," my daughter, 3, says, asking for brown. "It's not Poop, it's Diarrhea, get it right," says my son, who has superior knowledge of these bathroom matters. "Or maybe it's Throw Up."

I tell him his first experiences with Nacho. "I like Nachos, good job, Mom," he says, "but a better name is Puked Egg Yolk." If you're five, maybe. I much prefer Sunnyside of The Street.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Names in Suburbia

Nearby there is a place called The Festival at Woodholme. Is there a festival there? No. No May pole. No flutes and drums. There is a Pier One, the cinnamon spice scent of its candles wafting out into the blistering treeless parking lot. There is also a Starbucks, but of course there’s a Starbucks, and a wrap place, and a place to purchase a phone.

These suburban shopping developments are so ill named! Festival at Woodholme. Sweet View of the Mountain Glen. That mountain glen is a Denny’s; who names these places? I’m herewith providing some real names, more honest names, better reflective of the true condition and psychology of these places.

Man-Made Hill
You Never See Anyone Playing On That Grass, Not Even Kids
Ringing A Parking Lot, Lots of Shrubs In Pots
The Gigantic Oversized Muffin at Lost Hope
Sulfurous Ditch
Exacerbates My Pre-Existing Condition

Thursday, September 9, 2010

ALGERNON

(For this post the delightful @salamicat aka Molly Campbell http://tiny.cc/mollyc took up the writer's challenge with the prompt words: "Algernon" and "Bejeweled" to write this story of puppy love. Anyone who has ever known a dog knows the joy of listening to Mozart together.)

She saw him out of the corner of her eye, trotting down the street. He ducked behind a building. Over the next few days, she saw him a number of times. He was gray, or maybe just filthy. He seemed to have a slight limp. His ears were floppy. He was very, very thin.



She started carrying dog biscuits in her purse. At first, she had to throw them to him so that he wouldn’t flee. But after awhile, she could hold one in her hand, and he would approach skittishly, and take it from her. By this time, she had named him “Algernon,” and she was in love. It took a few weeks, but she could finally pet him.



In the meantime, she had been saving her money, and bit by bit, she bought some dog food, a little bed, a toy or two, and most importantly, a collar and leash. Algernon seemed to trust her, and each day, as she spoke softly to him, she petted him a bit longer. On a Friday, she put on the collar and leash, and she took him with her.



The vet told her that he was around two years old. He guessed that there was maybe some poodle and perhaps a bit of terrier in Algernon. He gave the dog shots, worming medicine, and a bath. As it turned out, Algernon was as white as snow.



She and Algernon became bosom buddies. They watched the neighborhood children play ball. They took lots of walks. Algernon seemed to enjoy donuts, and so they shared one every Friday, to celebrate the day they met. At home, they liked to read books, listen to Mozart, and look out the window.



Time went by, as it has the habit of doing, and Algernon slowed down a bit. He still liked to chase the occasional ball, but grew a bit stiff in the back end. She sometimes had to assist him up the steps. But he still sashayed with style, and she still thought he was the most beautiful dog in the world.



The day came as it always does. They had told her that Algernon would let her know when it was time to let go, and with one look into her eyes, he did. He went quietly and with his usual dignity, as she held him in her arms. She cried.



On her bureau is a framed picture of the dirty gray dog she befriended in the street. In it, he looks warily at the camera, the dog biscuit she has thrown at him at his feet. But there is a gleam in his eyes. Hanging over the corner of the frame is a blue leather dog collar. Embedded in the collar are the five remaining “jewels” that were on the collar when she bought it for him, that day that she decided she would take him home.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fairy Tales For Grandparents


Goldilocks and The Three Bears


Once there was a girl named Goldilocks who -- it doesn't really matter, because she would go to Harvard and become a cardiologist and everyone would be so proud.


The Three Little Pigs

Don't you know it? Every single one of those three little pigs became successful.


The Little Mermaid


So what about the prince. He wasn't good enough for her. Tell those tattlers, that Maude and that Denise to stick to pinochle and stop spreading lies. Like they should talk! Between them they have 16 grandchildren and not a one of them a tenured professor.


Hansel and Gretel


Hansel and Gretel visit all the time, and when they can't visit they call.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

That Critical Eye

I don't consider myself a writer. I'm a critic, meaning I do not make things, I make comments and pass judgments on the things that others have worked hard to make such as brownies and novels. What right do I have to disparagingly describe a brownie as "chalky" or to say that a novel had too early a denouement - I have no right at all! I'm completely unqualified! Ain't this the tops?

No. And it ain't a bowl of cherries either. This is perhaps why I am critical: I want a big bowl of cherries. I want to leap around in it. And a toothsome, moist brownie that is reasonably priced, and a novel that captures me even unto the epilogue. I'm always looking for them. Sometimes I find them and then isn't life grand for that hour!

It's human nature, I think, to be critical, or we'd have no need for movie reviews, or to use a fine toothed comb to comb the "about me" sections of online dating services. Every guy would be as good as every other guy, every movie a series of car crashes that would be indistinguishable from every other car crash made in the long history of car crashes and flaming motorcycle pileups.

We want the best damn flaming motorcycle pileup. The job of the critic is to watch all of them and determine the best one, read a lot of novels so you don't have to, so you can just sit back, and eat the most delicious brownie.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hip Pouch: The New Old Fanny Pack

Recently I received the diagnosis of cervical arthritis (that's arthritis of the neck spine, people). The doctor raised his eyebrow at my gigantic backpack: "By the way," he said, "that's is not helping you. I said, "You are referring to Gargantua?"

How to carry my writerly implements? My Moleskine journal and fancy pens, books and magazines, changes of clothes for the kids, swim trunks in case of water or sprinkler park, and the environmentally conscious yet very heavy aluminum water bottles for continuous hydration? Not to mention the laptop.

The doctor said, "How about a fanny pack?" Then, noticing my face was now on the waxed and disinfected floor, he leveled the karate chop to chic, "They're available at Leather World in fashion colors, and in leather."

Leather World: a place when I was young I swore I would grow up never to be, and in front of a mirror assessing the damage to my figure of a large red fanny pack. The young European salesgirl had first pointed me to the fancy handbags, when I said, "No, no handbags. Encircling purses, please."
"What?" she said.
"Encircling purses, please?"
"You mean fanny pack?"
"Can we just agree to call them encircling purses, please? Or how about hip pouches?"
"Are you traveling abroad?" She asked.
"No," I said. But she seemed to need an explanation. "Cervical arthritis," I said.
She looked at me. "My neck," I said.

We exchanged blinks, and in them fleeting recognition: that one day she would be older, possibly with neck stiffness and that once I was once young and had a neck that swiveled smoothly as an office chair. That was nice. In a moment it was over. "Well, we in fact do have an array of hip pouches," she said.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Parenting in Public: What You Can't Say (But Wish You Could)

Scene: Saturday At The Crowded Water Park

Son, 5: Moooommmmyyyy, little Timmy won't share the slide with me!

Me and Little Timmy's Mom (in unison, in the sing-song, "this is a teachable moment" voice of modern parenting): Now, boys, what's the park for? The park is for sharing.

What You Can't Say (But Wish You Could): Son, come over here. Let me tell you something. Little Timmy's an asshole. Throw him from the slide, and remember the life lesson: sometimes you need to punch someone in the nose, to get justice.

Scene: Preschool Birthday Party Thrown By Showoffy Parents Who Have Hired A Balloon-Artist/And Or Pony, And/Or Flown In A Mime From Paris

Daughter, 3: (shrieking at the sight of the clown): Get me the fuck out of here.

Me (pretending to swoon, sickened): Where did you hear those words?! You're in a time-out forever young lady. Forever. Totally inappropriate. Also -- it's not a clown, honey, it's a mime, don't you know that?

The other parents (full of disdain): She doesn't know what a mime is? Haven't you taken her to Paris yet?


What You Can't Say (But Wish You Could): Let's get le fucking fuck out of here, honey, these people are robots, grab the pony. With desperate hand signals, we'll ask the mime if he wants a ride, too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup Commentary Cliches

Scottish brogue: Ach, lads! You call that football?

Washed up Brazilian superstar: (demonstrates the fancy footwork, the "samba soccer" of his nation, while the camera cuts to a photo montage of topless girls in Rio.)

American: The US team looks great this year, what a surprise and more Americans than ever tuned in to watch us tie England!

Englishman in three piece gray flannel: Blimey! It's not a tie, mate, it's a draw. The field's the pitch, the goalie is the keeper, the game is footie, and what we're watching is a match.

Scottish brogue: Lads, was Germany not touched? Ach! They were a tanker were they not? Poor wee Australia.

American (to the Englishman and Brazilian): What did he say?

Englishman: Australia was absolutely buggered.

American: Hunh? Are we talking about soccer?

Brazilian (waving to some completely naked fans): It's futebol. Say it.

American: Football.

Scottish brogue: Well done, Yank. That din' hurt much did it? Ach, nay. You're one of us now.

Extremely well-groomed Italian: Welcome to the global familia.

American (uncomfortable): Uh.

Italian: Kiss the ring.

American: My Nike track suit contract prevents me from doing that, this is an every four year thing for me, I usually commentate on basketball...

Scottish brogue, Italian, Brazilian, Englishman (disdainful, and eyeing the American suspiciously): For us it's a life thing.

American: Well, yes! That's what I meant.
(Uncomfortable silence.)

American: Um. Uh. let's talk about something else uhh, how 'bout them Dutch!?!
(Continued uncomfortable silence)

American: How 'bout them vuvuzelas?!? Right? Really annoying, guys, don't you think? Ha! They sound like a nest of bees. Don't you think, guys? Guys?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cocktails for Father’s Day

The Power Mower: to a kiddie pool, add shredded hope, grass clippings, and as much vodka as it takes to fill it up.

Man Cave: This concoction of dark ales and dark wood paneling, garnished with Led Zeppelin should be drunk smugly, and alone, in the middle of the day, with not a mote of sunlight coming through the shed window that you have plugged with towels.

Tool Shed: First oil all the wrenches till they gleam, then arrange them in descending order of size. No one will notice, in fact your child (or possibly the neighbor’s stinking brat) will mess it all up. But for the moment, open a can of beer and imagine the order and decency that could have been.

The World Cup: sit on the couch in a Holland jersey, with all your muscles twitching in memory of your high school days as a soccer star. At halftime, mix together the most famous alcohols of the countries that are playing each other, down it, cry “Goooolll!” and return to watch the second half of the game.

The Ego Stroke: Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, pour on a thick layer of manliness. Who took out the garbage? You took out the garbage. Thassright. You. Big guy. You. Yeah.

The Insecurity: Yours is definitely bigger than your neighbor’s power mower, isn’t it? Ponder the importance of size, ponder the thrilling joy you get watching men play soccer, and wonder why sometimes though you really want to order a frozen margarita because they taste good, you don’t order one. Why is that?

Dear Old Dad: Onto a blow-up dinosaur-shaped pool toy, add two children under five who will pull your chest hair and screech over and over again, watch this Dad until your ears ring and the warm fruit punch juicebox is the best thing you ever drank.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Romeo and Juliet Live, Have Children, And Bicker About Laundry

Juliet: I thought you were going to take out the trash.

Romeo: It’s your turn for the trash, my week to bag the recyclables. Look at the chore wheel on the fridge, for Chrissakes.

Little Tybalt (looking up from his Legos): Mommy, Daddy swore!

Romeo: A greater power than we can contradict hath thwarted our intents to be the best husband and father, I’m sorry, Little Tybalt. It’s just that Mommy and Daddy have been through a lot.

Juliet: I’ll say. There was a plague on both our houses.

Little Tybalt: Hunh? What’s Mom talking about?

Juliet: Never mind. Why don’t you go play Wii?
(Little Tybalt takes his Legos and sulks off)

Juliet (reminiscing while drying the Ikea china): Remember how in love we were?

Romeo: Do I! It seemed to me you were a rich jewel upon the cheek of night.

Juliet: It seemed to me that parting was such sweet sorrow, and now I can’t wait for girl’s night out.

Romeo (slapping his palm to his forehead): O woe!

Juliet: What is it, honey?

Romeo: I forgot to take out the clothes from the washer. They’ll be all mildewy.

Juliet: Again? Didn’t I tell you not to forget to take them out of the washer? Little Tybalt’s gym clothes were in there and he needs them for gymnastics tomorrow. O woeful, woeful, woeful day! Most lamentable day. Most woeful day that ever, ever I did yet behold O day, O day, O day! O hateful day! Never was seen so black a day as this. O woeful day! O woeful day!

Romeo: Is there no pity sitting in the clouds that sees into the bottom of my grief? I’ll rewash them.

Juliet (collecting herself): Good. I’m going to go upstairs and read. You coming up?

Romeo: No, I’m going to watch ESPN and probably fall asleep on the couch.

Juliet: Oh.

Romeo: Yeah.

Juliet: Well then, goodnight, hon. (Romeo gives her a chaste, long-married peck on the cheek. She returns the affection with a non-lingering rather limp hug.)

Romeo: We're so lucky.

Juliet: Aren't we?


CURTAIN

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Right Kinds of Light for Me

The right kind of light for me is soft diffuse light. Candlelight. Dusk. The inside of an heirloom armoire with the doors closed. I am not a woman of a certain age, in a sequined black dress, draped over the piano, singing torch songs in a seedy club that’s dimly lit. I am ageless! You might think I was thirty!

My home, I light with “fairy lights,” which is a fancy word for tea candles. If I plan to entertain (possibly the young Italian who moved into the next apartment) I recommend floating candles in crystal bowls filled with Perrier water for that extra sparkle that will distract him from looking closely at the crow’s feet around your eyes and possibly making a correct judgment.

Until your visitor’s eyes adjust to the sensual deep-sea darkness of your apartment, lead him by the hand. He is so young. But you are creating for him a scene, an illusion, a game of love -- and it must be kept-up! Use care! At the bar where you met him in the dark hallway, you told him you were 45. Remember: Before he arrives, pull out all the wiring in the bathroom. It is harsh and overhead. No one needs the shock.

But what can be done about the morning? It comes as rays of pink through the tightly drawn curtains of thick black velvet. It comes creeping on cat’s feet under the sill of the East-facing kitchen window that you have plugged with towels. What to do? My friends, I will share with you my secret, and that is to get up early, very early, and be gone from your own house like a Robin Goodfellow.

If last night was a success (and there is no doubt it was) the malleable boy with the body of fine Italian marble will call. He longs to be back in your dark, fairy-lit bower, to lie back on your fragrant bosom of indeterminate age, and be completely unable to see his hand.

Monday, May 24, 2010

“Where Are Your Shoes”, from Getting To School: The Opera

Alto: Where are you shoes. Where. Are. They. Your shoes?

Children’s chorus: We don’t know. We don’t know. We had them yesterday.

Bass: But where are they now. Find. Them. Now.

Children’s chorus: O help me.

Soprano 1 (forte): No!

Children’s chorus: O help me.

Bass (forte): No!

Children’s chorus (weeping): Woe woe woe.

Alto and Bass (pianissimo): We must think of DSS. They cannot go shoeless. Shoeless they cannot go. Can they? No. No. They cannot go.

So, though, you have offended us, you cannot go shoeless, let us as a family look from every balcony for your shoes, for your shoes, for your shoes, from every balcony as a family for your shoes!

Soprano (flying onstage by a system of pulleys and wearing the outfit of a fairy princess): I have done it, I have found my shoes. I am faster than him. Because of my fairy wings.

Counter tenor: Mother! Father! She is taunting me. She can’t wear that to school can she?

Bass: The issue is your shoes. Focus on your shoes. How has it come to this? My children, my children, it has come to this.

Alto (in endless recitative until the curtain falls): Where are you shoes? Your footwear where is it? The ones that I bought you. That fit you. Where. Are. (hitting a high C and sustaining it) YOOOOURRRRR SHOOEEESSS?


The End of Act 1

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Fundraising Pimp's Guide to Successful Fundraising

"Solicitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

At events, make yourself obviously available by the silent auction.

When engaging potential donor, refer to the non-profit suggestively as “the organization.”

Keep a record of touching. There’s an app for that.

Use undercover research to judge a donor’s assets.

In the event of big, big assets, you’re allowed one touch, two touch, three touch.

Then it’s threesome with the president.

Before getting down to business, you’ll be expected to talk about how very long and substantial the organization’s long-range plan is.

Trust your instincts. You’ll know when it’s the right time to turn off the lights and PowerPoint your ass off.

Almost everyone is uneasy asking for money, but honey, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Garden Central

It was an idiot idea that raising my own food would be cheaper than getting it at the grocery store and that it would be a fun thing to do with the kids. It is of course, not cheaper: the hidden cost is manual labor in the hot sun. I tried to convince the kids that I was having a party out there, sweating in my overalls and straw hat, and that each tiny shrunken carrot I dug out of the clayey soil was a glittering gem. I would shake off the dirt and say, “Extraordinary! Kids, you won’t believe this, but this carrot tastes just like Chocolate Sprinkle Freezy Toaster Puffs!”

Of course they couldn’t hear me. They were inside, watching a movie with my mother, with their arms elbow deep in a communal bag of potato chips (the potatoes had not come from my garden.) I looked in the window and waved and made the gesture that means, come on out all of you gluttons and do your part for the Protestant work ethic, but my mom shooed me off. I could see her mouth form the words “We’re happy in here.” I went back to hoeing.

It went on like this for weeks: I was progressively getting taner, living the dream (sort of) while they were snacking on tubs of high fructose corn syrup and watching daytime. “What are you doing?” My mother asked, on a rare foray into my green, bug-infested world, with a glass of store bought lemonade. A wisp of cool house air followed her. And like in the Sunday morning cartoons, the scent and coolness of that air went right up my nose like a mist and I almost tranced out and got those whirley eyes of the crazy coyote, but I caught myself.
I said, “Spraying the tomatoes with a homemade solution of essential oils and organic vinegar, what does it look like I’m doing?”
“Oh,” she said.
“But thanks for the lemonade. It might be just the thing to get the aphids off the green peppers.”

When, toward the end of the growing season, I presented to my family my “harvest” of a single radish and divided it into fourths in a near-religious act, I realized. Wow. This had not met expectations. I had had bigger plans. Expansive plans. Like canning a winter’s worth of tomato sauce and terracing my parent’s suburban lawn into wild rice paddies. I had hoped to invent a recipe for half sour pickles that was so great I would never have to work again.

What gardener isn’t a dreamer, a sci-fi fantasarian? A miniscule, dry, dead-seeming seed drills up through the earth, pushing shit out of its way. Once it’s above ground in the sun it unfolds a huge yellow jungle flower and from that flower protrudes a zucchini large enough to feed fifteen. Actually, that happened. My kids took their greasy little hands out of the chip bag to touch the vegetable’s smooth skin, green as a lizard and a full of life.

My husband said approvingly, “God that’s huge.”
I said, “God? Ha. Nothing to do with it. That zucchini was born of woman.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let’s Call This Whole Thing Off: You Say Tomato, I Say Ripe Ovary of A Plant of The Nightshade Family

Salt. / Hand-harvested dry sea minerals.


Baked Chicken. / Heirloom Saipan jungle fowl in an imu or Hawaiian hot stone oven that I dug out back, naked, with a conch, in accordance with ancient Polynesian tradition.


Eggplant Parmesan. / Totally deriviative, The Italians do an “aubergine fritti” that comes closeish… first they harvest the aubergine crop according to biodynamic principles and then very thinly slice the aubergine with a mezzaluna (it takes years of discipleship to learn how to handle the mezzaluna) and --


Can’t we just eat? / Sure, give me at least ten minutes to identify all the ingredients in this broth. I detect star anise.


Pass the sliced tomatoes, please. / You mean the ripe ovaries of a plant of the nightshade family?


I did not. / But it's true, all fruit is an ovary.


Oh god. / Prude.


You're an insufferable snob. / You're a palate-less bore.


Cultured, pasture-fed asshole. / Queen fucking Corn.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fundraiser Finger Food Don’ts

Take a crispy egg roll, dip it in Chinese hot mustard and -- while sputtering -- look across the crowded room blurred by eye-watering to see if there is anyone you know.

Choose the plumpest scallop from the passed hors d’oeuvres. Attempt to eat it in one bite, and come really close to choking to death.

Attempt to regain your footing with your fellow cocktail partyers, by suavely asking the bartender, whom you don’t know, to “Mix something fabulous, pal, to wash down that infernal crustacean.” The bartender replies, “Sure, pal.”

Some big wig eating beef Wellington, says, “Crustacean! My word! These people are amateurs! Scallops are bivalves.”

The drink you get is fabulous; it’s seventeen straws emerging from a coconut. Laugh as if you are on stage. Say in a loud voice that this drink is called The Board of Trustees.

The million dollar ask is over by the canapés; but you’ve just eaten heartily of spinach artichoke dip.

On the way over, a server pushes extra-large sushi piled high with pale uncooked geoduck and orange flying fish roe. What can you do but take one, in your rush?

As you smile your most foxish, widest, and spinach infested smile, Mr. Very Important sees you coming, waves his hands and shrieks, “Get away from me get away from me, you reek of bivalve, I’m allergic! Do your research."

You snicker with your boss that when crumbs from pound cake fall into and circulate in it, it looks like vomit, only to realize the Chocolate Fondue Fountain Company is an event lead sponsor.

At the end of the evening, you’re elected to be the one to go home with the leftovers, mostly carrot sticks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Le Snacking

America’s obesity problem starts with mothers like me who reward good behavior with peanut butter cups, and mountain range-sized banana splits. My pediatrician said, “Motivate them with stickers, not food.”
I said, “Stickers? Kit Kat bars. Now, those are motivating. All I have to do is to get the kids to clean their rooms is open a 2 lb. bag of Kit-Kats, releasing the breath of food-grade wax and high fructose syrup.”
"Good god," my pediatrician said. "Consider their little arteries!"


I considered their arteries, and my over-reliance on Oreos, chocolate milk, and MSG- laden and artificially flavored Cool Ranch Doritos as parenting tactics. And I thought of my kids growing up, nourished by food-grade wax. What kind of mother was I? So I devised a plan: We would stop being American, we would become French -- at least when it came to breakfast, lunch, and le diner.

French people eat. Hell, they eat brioche, oozing cheeses, and the mashed up livers of force-fed geese. “French mothers probably bribe their kids with food, all mothers do,” I whispered my husband. “But in France, it’s French food, and the kids: Et voila! They don’t get fat! ”

“From now on call me Maman,” I said to my kids, puffing out my lips and wearing a chic little scarf. “From now, on we don’t snack on le crap.” Tears were shed over the last sherds of Doritos, but in a matter of weeks, they were cleaning their rooms for home-made brioche au chocolat. In exchange for a slice of tarte tatin, I could have peace for an hour, while I rearranged my now extensive collection of chic little scarves and vintage Yves Montand records. When I made pate, they tried it, which made me inordinately proud. They tried pate! I crowed.

When they whine and squirm at restaurants, I say, “Tut tut! That’s what les enfants Americans do. Now what would the French do?” And miraculously they fall into line, putting their napkins into their laps and asking me politely to order frites for them because fries sounds better in French. My daughter, who is 2, believes that the French are a subclass of fairies. There are brownies, and elves, wood elves, fairies, and now, the extremely well-behaved French.

The chores they happily do for French food have far exceeded any expectations; they even bargain with me. “I’ll walk the dog and take out the trash, Maman, if you make coquilles St. Jacques again,” my son said. My husband said, “If you make Julia Child’s coq au vin. I’ll take over doing the laundry." So I did, and I haven’t folded a pair of underwear since: behold the mighty power of le cuisine.

I’m raising my kids on baguettes and butter, like French kids and they're doing fine, watching French New Wave cinema, puffing out their little lips and saying "bouf." Just don’t tell my pediatrician. When we went back, he asked, “So how are the sticker charts going?” I said, "Oh, tres, tres bien."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Menus From The Date Nights of The Long Married

Steaks on the grill

Wine in a box

Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos

A little kissing in bed, then as soon as something more might happen, one of the kids wants a sip of water.

----

Microwave popcorn

2 Liter Coke

Raisinettes

Netflix

Both asleep on the couch as the opening credits roll.

-----

Panko Salmon

Pinot noir

Frozen Molten Chocolate Cakes

Internet porn

A fight

----

Flirting all day via IM

Coming home early, excited, only to find that the dog has thrown up on the floor.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cocktails for Mother’s Day

Old Fashioned Guilt: Into a glass pitcher, stir in vermouth and all the cards you meant to send, but didn't.

Modern Guilt: To an Old Fashioned Guilt, add a bottle of specialty vodka that you ordered off the Internet. Garnish with an endless loop of plaintive unreturned messages: I need another lesson on the computer. Call me back. I want to learn to work the computer. Call me back. How do you turn the printer on, again? Call me back.

Night Terror: Make a slurry of cold sweat, and the Periodic Table and add her voice from way back in high school saying, This B you got in chemistry looks like a D that someone has drawn a line through with felt-tip marker, mmm?

A Good Memory: Put on your kitty cat costume from when you were 5 years old and drink under table from a bowl of creamy whole milk.

Reverie: Serve Long Island iced tea in little teacups to your collection of stuffed animals and plastic model horses.

Heirlooms: Traditionally served with a long-winded story, schnapps, and spritzed with dust. Best unrestored.


Matching Yellow Rose-Bedecked Soup Tureen and Gravy Boat
: When filled with 150 proof grog at the annual winter solstice party the flowers won’t draw attention.

The Summer Prodigal: Re-read A Catcher In The Rye, outside, on a hammock, with a peppermint stick stuck into a lemon, drenched in soda water, and when you require a new lemon, call out, Hey, Maaaa! Where are the lemons? This place is so disorganized.

Birth Pang: In an IV bag mix saline solution, Pitocin and life as you knew it. Serve with a Dixie cup of crushed ice and realize, you and your mom have a lot in common now, including Sidecars.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Mother As A Garmin Nuvi GPS

Where to?
Please drive the highlighted route toward a career in medicine or law.
Detour. Poetry?
Set as via point or a final destination?
Lost satellite reception.

Restore settings?
Your brightness is set at 100%. You could become a TV personality cardiologist and a Nobel-prize winning poet like my book club friend’s daughter’s friend’s cousin who went to Harvard -- hey, you know what?!? You should call her. Don’t email. Call.

Fine. Don’t.
Recalculating.

Return “Home” avoiding highways, for shame that you’re still single.
In 500 ft, turn right, onto I’m Just Saying Rd.
Enter roundabout.
Exit roundabout onto 180th St. NW, also known as But Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Your Mother
Heavy traffic.
Choose alternate route?

A faster time and shorter distance to Nice Young Men is available.
Recent selections: One of my friends in book club has a son.
Favorites: He seems nice.
View Map.
Recalculating.

Navigation tools update: You’re avoiding having children.
Do you want to keep avoiding having children?
How about “avoid traffic?”

Search for…
Spell name.
GRANDCHILDREN.
Search in “Nearby Cities” and “Near Where I Am Now.”

We just passed Nice Young Man!
When possible, make a U-turn.
Make a U-turn.

Let me roll down my window and lean way, way out and flail at him, hooting, Hey! My daughter’s right here in the car, and she’s a poet with a chapbook! But single! Almost 40 but still pretty!
Searching for intersection.
87%
90%
99%
The Rest of Your Life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Captain’s Log from H.M.S No Sugar

March 14: Just made up my mind to give sugar up. Just like that. Considered all the health benefits -- then threw all the canvas bags of sugar over the gunnels. Ship considerably lighter, easier to steer. I imagine this is what the captain of The Golden Hind felt all the time. The crew grumbled. But I told them it’s all good -- I stowed away stevia for our breakfast smoothies. And we’re going to start a morning cardio workout on the forecastle.

March 18: Crew testy, hard tack breakfast smoothies “not enough,” they want rum…and donuts. I should keelhaul all of them for not caring about their blood sugar or resting heart rate.

March 19: No one joined me for Cardio Abs.

March 24: Was that an albatross that flew over us at 0900 hours or the spread white wings of an angel food cake, light as when I was a boy? The doc says no, it was neither a flying cake nor an albatross. He identified it as an “albino frigate bird,” but he’s a know-it all little shit, like Darwin was, probably.

March 24 (like five minutes later): Question: Did they have pudding aboard The Beagle? Never mind. I need to focus my attention on my Pilates 100s.

March 30: Did captainish stuff, like putting the doc in irons and rereading Proust --- just the madeleine parts. I read about sugar cookies from France in the shape of tongues until my candle sputtered out leaving a fragrance not unlike…dare I say it? It is a love that dare not speak its name!?! Boardwalk Salt Water Taffy.

April 2: All of us weak; some of the worse-off men calling out for their mother’s “apple cake,” “linzer torte” or “mango rice,” depending on port of origin. There is wildness in their eyes.

April 3: I miss my mother’s pecan sandies. I have had to clamp my hand over my mouth to prevent myself from shouting, “Mommy, I want another pecan sandie. Please!” and disturbing the faith of my men.

April 5: I fear mutiny, but the men’s HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio is much improved and my resting heart rate is the lowest it’s ever been so….that’s something, I told them. Someone, I think it was Willikers the mizzenman -- my eyesight is hazy -- tried to pick up a cannonball and heave it at my head, but being weak in body and mind, he lurched over the gunnel.

April 7: I netted a kilo of brown algae and formed it into shapes approximating petit fours, hoping to appease the men. But the doc (I now realize he has zero “people skills”) said in a loud voice, “Capt’n, that’s genus sargassum, and not fondant”; and the men panicked.

April 10 (drifting): I tried to get my men to take their pre-diabetes seriously and their chronic inflammatory conditions, but they heaved me into this raft, with my log and pen, a bottled water. Should be sad. But look at my obliques! Dribbled a little water over the raft’s prow, dubbing it Glute.

My plan: I am drifting in that general direction of South Beach (I think) so it will only be a matter of time before I’m going to have a smoothie with a wheatgrass shot, do some power jacks, check my pulse. Then I’m going to refurbish that sinking ship The Quinoa, get a crew of good-looking health and fitness professionals. Do a circumnavigation sugar- and gluten-free with people who care.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hipster Mom Must-Haves






Micro-greens

Spectacles

Giant Reusable Cloth Diaper

Box of Organic Whole Grain Graham Crackers (the box has seeds embedded in it, when composted it will become a heritage tomato vine)

Pacifier (phalate-free, in a muted earth tone)

Oversized Ceramic Mug (hand-crafted by incarcerated artisans)

European Stroller (converts to a mini van and a richly-hued batik-fabric yogamat carrier)

Bison Bone Kegel Exercizer (gleaned naturally from bison territory)

Soy Mascara (with wind-powered vibrating wand of sustainably-harvested bamboo)

Gardening Clogs

Outdoor Fire Pit (for roasting the acorn-fed neighborhood pig)

Mushroom Foraging Basket

Sheets of Unbleached Papyrus, Stick, and Sustainably Harvested Squid-Ink (for blog)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recipe from The Joy of Cooking or A Kama Sutra Sex Position?

The Clam

Clams Casino

Fragrant White Clam

Congress of a Cow

Donkeys In The Third Moon of Spring

Bran Rolls

Raised Missionary

Sparrows In The Air

Steamed Chocolate Feather Pudding

Doves and Noodles

Wounded Dove

Basque Chicken

Half Pressed

The Cuban

The Filled Angel

The Yawning Lion

Viennese Oyster

Oysters On The Half Shell

Suspended Congress

Assorted Fruit Kuchen

Crab Dip

The Crab

Pinwheels

The Pinwheel

The Side Dish

The Side Car

Creamed Spinach

Wilted Spinach

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Little Known “Cheesemonger” School of Poetry

so much depends
upon
a red wheel
of Edam.

-- William Carlos Williams aka “Dr. Cheese.”


If you can keep your head when all about you
Men are losing their Stilton and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt your mozzarella…
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Dairy Man, my son!

-- Rudyard Kipling, known to his friends as “Sag Paneer.”

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden real English cheddars.

-- William Wordsworth, a towering wheel.

Let us go then you and I while the mascarpone is spread out across the sky.

-- T.S. Eliot. The T stands for Compte.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways Havarti both with and without caraway.

-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning frequently dressed as a milkmaid.

Because I could not stop for a raw goat’s-milk feta,
the Whole Foods cheesemonger kindly stopped for me and offered me a Tasting.

-- Emily Dickinson, a total curd nerd.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, Maytag Blue, thou hast thy music too,—

-- John Keats whose doctors in Italy prescribed little medicinal bites of Gorgonzola.


O casein, My Captain!

-- Walt Whitman washed his entire body electric with whey.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
from the cheese plate I took a chevre
And that has made all the difference.

-- Robert Frost, nom de blog: "Apple Picker" and a very frequent contributor to New England Chowhound.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Had St. Francis of Assisi Been A Foodie

Lard, make me a cooking utensil, perhaps a spatula, of your peace
where there is hatred, let me sow langoustines
where there is injury, poi
where there is doubt in the freshness of cheese, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light golden brown caramel with fleur de sel,
and where there is thin plonk, joy, and a bottle of 1982 Chateau Margaux.

O divine Konditor Meister,
grant that I may not so much seek to be served risotto
as to serve others risotto;
to be understood as having great palate,
as to understand that not everyone does,
to be loved, as to love the maitre d’;
for it is in giving wicker baskets of seasonal organic microgreens
that we receive,
it is in pardoning those who eat protein shakes, we are pardoned,
and it is by "Death by Chocolate" cake
that we are born to the masthead at Saveur.

Almond.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mating Habits of American Poets, Voice Over by David Attenborough

[The cracking of brush underfoot, as the camera moves through landscaped shrubbery]
[Camera left, to suburban mall parking lot]

David Attenborough: Pushed out of their natural downtown habitat, American poets have taken up residents in mall food courts and the cafes of big box bookstores like this typical Barnes & Noble in Owings Mills, Maryland.

David Attenborough: Their numbers are few. A winter of rejections left them in weak condition, with ruffled feathers. But it is finally spring and they, like all other animals, respond to the lengthening daylight: they resume “pecking.” Let’s watch the unusual display of the female American poet that scientists who study the mating habits of American poets call, “Dog-earing A Page Out Of A Book by Merwin, Or Some Equally Famous Poet, But Not A Stupendously Popular Poet Like Billy Collins.”

[The female American poet enters bookstore café, clad in jeans, scarf, and laptop. She opens her laptop, flips through Mark Strand’s “Blizzard of One” dog-ears a page, puts the book down and commences “pecking”]

David Attenborough: In so doing the female conspicuously leaves the male American poet evidence that she is, “Open To Discussing Favorite Poets They Have in Common.” The male American poet can now come out of hiding, sitting as he was, cross-legged in an anorak in the Modern Poetry Section deep within the bookstore.

The male American poet now does a millennia’s-old ritual scientists call, “Pulling From The Deepest Recesses Of His High School Memory A Line From Shakespeare About Spring Or From Romeo and Juliet.” He also may offer the female American poet the uneaten half of his “blueberry scone,” though very few females accept and he has more luck later, when he offers to buy the female a cup of “Starbuck’s Verona.”

[Camera does a 360 around the male and female American poets, now deep in conversation about a profile of Kay Ryan they read in The New Yorker. They both feel the article “nailed Ryan’s anti-confessionality.” Scientists who study the mating habits of poets call this, “So Much Depends On A Red Wheelbarrow” because, at this point, anything can happen.]

[The image of the couple quickly dissolves and is replaced by an image from “later.” The American male and female poets are in bed, deeply asleep, in a nondescript suburban townhouse, which is only 30-45 minutes from downtown, depending on traffic.]

David Attenborough: Success! [Dramatic pause] At least for the time being.

[Camera pans the male American poet’s kitchen, as if searching for something it is not finding]


David Attenborough
: Scientists who study the mating habits of American poets say the next move is so important to the long-term happiness of the couple, they call it the “T.S. Eliot-O-Meter.” The male must have an impressive Italian espresso maker and must offer the female an espresso and they must agree on T.S. Eliot.

If the female stirs her espresso and says coquettishly, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” and the male replies, “T.S. Eliot, what a jerk,” and the female doesn’t immediately respond, “T.S. Eliot: a dry pompous anglophile,” the relationship is doomed; it’s back to the mall for both of them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Locker Room Talk from The Joy of Cooking

What she wanted was a "Quick White Icing," no "Doves and Noodles," no "Raspberry Grunt" or "Apricot Cherry Slump" and definitely no "Woodcock in Rosemary" so I gave her the "Basic Fondant."
She said is that a buckwheat "Mini Blini?"
I was all, no, that's a full size blini.
And she was like, oh, we'll have to make "Fresh Focaccia" some other time, meaning never.
"Codfish Balls" I said. Who do you like better than me? It is that wanker "Jefferson Davis Pie?"
She said, that "Transparent Pie?" No way. "Lavender-Scented Madelines" and "Charlotte Russes" is what I'm into and that was so hot. I like girls who "Snow Pudding" and "Nesselrode Sauce." Who doesn't?
See ya, she said, thanks for the "Quick Dill Pickle," I'm going to meet "Rich Fruit Bavarian."
Anyone know who he is, what team he plays on? I bet he's a soccer player foreign exchange student type. I'd like to "Chocolate-Dip Fudge" "Lemon Curd" the guy. Who's with me. You? "Pineapple Upsidedown Cake?" You? "Jugged Hare." Awesome.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Key Tax Time Personality Indicators

Introvert / Extrovert

I-90 / W-2

Accountant friend / Fancy accounting firm

Dog people / Cat people

Take-out / Eat-in

Filing for extension / Filing on time

Rolling Stones / Beatles

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How To Be Happier: A Poet’s Guide To The New Cognitive-Behavioral Science of Positive Thinking

No whining.

“If only I had the vacation time and the money to live on the beach in Provincetown like Mary Oliver….” If only Jorie Graham was my godmother…” Um, hello? You’re whining.

Think positive thoughts.

What’s a positive thought?

A review: a positive thought is a thought you think that makes you feel good.

For instance, here’s a positive thought: “I totally could have written that drivel that was just published The New Yorker. Totally could have written.”

Create a feel-good mantra. “Though my poems have been rejected, “I [fill in this blank with something that affirms your inherent worth].”

Picture in your mind, a wonderful place. Like a podium at Mt. Holyoke College.

The auditorium is packed with good-looking, poetry-loving girls who still have their jodhpurs on; they’ve just come from riding.

Though it is a full-time job, ruminating on the genius of Mark Strand is not aerobic.

Get outside. Walk. Run.

Get a dog, one that does not read The Paris Review.

Vitamin D has been proven to be good for poets. Go outside, seasonally, for haiku.

Divide a page of your Moleskin journal into two columns. On the left side, write down all of your negative thoughts.

On the right side, refute them, with “I can choose not to be jealous of Kay Ryan; I have my own voice -- if not right now then very very soon.”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Urban Heirloom Chicken Breed Or Specialty Cupcake Flavor?

1. Buttercup
2. Meringue Buttercream
3. Mandarin
4. Vegan Red Velvet
5. Bantam Cochin
6. Silky Cocoa Mousse
7. Vanilla Silkie
8. Rhode Island Red
9. Zesty Mexican Chocolate
10. Saipan Jungle Fowl
11. Speckled Black and White
12. Spicy Gingerbread & Guinness
13. Brahma
14. Sencha Green Tea Latte
15. Blue Glory
16. Blue Hen of Delaware
17. Ganache Ganache
18. Appenzeller Spitzhauben
19. Rainbow Birthday with Non-Pareils
20. Fleur de Sel
21. Flor d'Ametller
22. Buckeye
24. Old Virginia Blackberry



Chickens: 1, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 21
Cupcakes 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 24
Both a cupcake and a chicken: 3, 11, 22

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Preschooler Performance Artist

Your mother has told me so much about your likes and dislikes when it comes to movement in a room, and fabrics, how you absolutely cannot tolerate chintz. I feel as though I know you; I feel the very same about chintz. Also, chiffon has no place in a boy’s room. May I ask you a few questions?

I can already see that you have more gumption and style than your mother: you have chosen to costume yourself artistically, in a spitting cobra shirt, with khakis. Your mother, bless her simple soul, is more prone to sweats. Yikes. But the choice to add that homemade Spiderman cape simply makes your look. It is just a red towel…to littler minds than ours.

That red towel has so much drama, the way you cleverly swish it over your shoulder, and jump from the couch, and from the couch onto the other couch, and back and forth -- you’re like a blur. Like a late Van Gogh. I must put my couture frameless Titanium alloy distance glasses on, because now you have run into another area of the room and are hiding in a tent of luscious batik fabric and I can’t see you.

Did you booby-trap the door with figurines so neither I, nor your mother can open it? You did! Andy Warhol did the same to his mother, and to me, when I was a young, ingenue. Then, it was annoying. Now, artistic values have undergone a shift, and it is clever. Throw a mini dump truck at my head! I beg you!

Post post post structuralist, is what I told your mother about the faux-naïf sketches you dashed off on the bathroom wall in your characteristic medium, red-orange crayon. I can see that your art is both pop and obstructionist/defiant. Am I right? Have I placed you in the correct school? You are sometimes also Impressionist; in particular I’m talking about what everyone is calling your “blue period” finger paintings.

Do you not give interviews? Oh, but I can hear you through the door. Isn’t that you singing over and over again loud and off-key “Do You Know The Muffin Man” -- and your mother tells me that you are sometimes naked? This is worth pitching to MoMa. You could do an installation! Your mother says you frequently do installation pieces, but she erroneously calls them tantrums, being not of the art world.

Do you have a title in mind? I will slip my calling card of heavy card stock, with my number on it, under your door.

Fantastic! You have written me back. One of your first written communications! I am honored; your mother said you are still learning your letters! I will forever keep this little mangled piece of paper that it also appears you have spit on and defaced, with none other than your infant terrible spit. On it you have written: ANUS. To me you have written ANUS!

What a commentary! What a savant! I could not be more thrilled! One day, in eight to ten years, this will be worth millions so call the Guggenheim. Call Bilbao. Call the dealers. Call the auction houses. Call les grandparents. Yes! Yes! Your son, he is an artist.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Risen Lord and The Easter Bunny: An Imagined Dialogue

The Risen Lord (rising from an attitude of contemplation): Easter Bunny, it seems that more and more people prefer you to me. Why is that?

The Easter Bunny: I am made of chocolate, Lord.

The Risen Lord: Ahh. Yes. But to those who believeth in me I offer eternal life!

The Easter Bunny (with submissive aspect): Amen, Lord. But, still you are not made of chocolate. And, with all due respect, Lord you’re not exactly…

The Risen Lord (beatifically): Go on, Bunny. I am a good listener.


The Easter Bunny
, Well, Lord, I’ll be honest.


The Risen Lord
: It is a commandment, sort of.


The Easter Bunny
: You’re kind of…severe. At least Biblically.

The Risen Lord: I’m not a fun kind of guy? Is that what you’re saying?

The Easter Bunny: Not really, Lord.

The Risen Lord: You’re saying if I was funner, more people might like me? Believeth in my father’s mansion? Fit through the eye of the needle, and all that? Because that would be awesome.

The Easter Bunny: It’s not my place to give the Lord advice, is it.

The Risen Lord: No Bunny. But you have your little fur paw on the pulse of the people who shop at Target, they are my people, but they are buying dozens and dozens of marshmallow Peeps.

The Easter Bunny: Sugar is a drug, Lord.

The Risen Lord: Now that people have easy access to sugar, they no longer need religion? This is what you’re saying, isn’t it? I feared it: I must make myself sweeter.

The Easter Bunny: That would be a start. Maybe also no more condemning to death of idolatrous women?


The Risen Lord
: Maybe.


The Easter Bunny
: You know Lord, I have an idea.


The Risen Lord
: What’s that?


The Easter Rabbit
: You could hop.

The Risen Lord: “Hop?” How does one “hop?” I have never done it. In the Bible, there is no “And then, to Galillee, Jesus hopt.”

The Easter Rabbit: The Bible’s loss, Lord.

The Risen Lord: I do feel mighty good that I have second life, though. Might this joy be expressed by a “hop” ?

The Easter Rabbit: It would be meet and right to also add a skip and a jump, Lord.

The Risen Lord: Well, if it is meet and right.

The Easter Rabbit: Shall I start us off, on the good foot, Lord?

The Risen Lord: Do. You go along and I’ll follow after. I think I might improvise and cause some trees to burst into bloom and fruit chocolate ganache truffles.

The Easter Rabbit: How masterfully thou causeth the trees to bring forth candy.

The Risen Lord: This is how I should have been using my talents all along! Hopping and confecting! Arise, marshmallow fluff! Thunder down like justice, jellybeans. Awake pecan and caramel turtles, awake! In that basket do you have a Peep? I've always wanted to try one. May I have one of your Peeps? There was nothing but carob bean back in the Bible. Blech. I can probably make the best, most heavenly Peep you ever had, given that I am what I am and that is the Sweet Lord.










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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mom Costumes

At MOM COSTUMES, all our mom costumes are guaranteed to help you seamlessly blend in your environs, should your GPS fail and you find yourself out of your usual mom element, a suburban soccer mom at the downtown farmer's market where there is a drum circle and tribal dancing, for example.

Here are some of our current offerings. Of course, you can mix and match, as will sometimes be necessary, for instance, at a PTA fundraiser for your child's Glee Club.



Urban Hipster Farmer's Market Mom


Clothing: Zippered patterned hoodie, clogs.
Accessories: Canvas tote, several seasonal and realistic plastic fruits and vegetables like kale and/or a baguette, 1 kid (also attired in a hoodie and clogs) in sling carrier, adult black Labrador Retriever, press-on Maori warrior tattoo.
Wig: Light brown pixie cut, with clip-in barrette.
Nails: Short, square cut, no polish.


Rural Organic Farm Mom


Clothing: Momjeans, sweatshirt with unironic Cockapoodle iron-on.
Assessories: Glass milk jugs, rake, three well-behaved teens, used to rising early to milk the cows and participating in 4-H, a flock of chickens, silver stud earrings in the shape of little maple leaves.
Wig: Shoulder length, chestnut.
Nails: Short, dirty.

CEO Mom

Clothing: Nubbly fabric skirt suit, with a camisole of a very feminine cut peeking through, heels.
Assessories: Briefcase, drop-earrings of semi-precious stone, Pump-In Style Breast Pump, leather organizer and, to aid in breast pumping, a photo of a cute infant in a silver frame.
Wig: Choose “Blonde French Twist” or “Professional Pixie,” if the workplace is in the arts or higher education or publishing.
Nails: Beige, medium-length, oval.

Potter Mom

Clothing: Overalls, paint-splattered rock concert t-shirt, bare feet.
Accessories: Two rambunctious kids under five who have been encouraged to paint to get their "sillies" out, an old calico cat, a wheel for throwing clay pots, earrings made of sherds of Spanish tile.
Wig: Dark and Godiva-long, with a pronounced natural wave.
Nails: Ragged, with reminders of limestone clay.


Social Worker Mom


Clothing: Wide-wale corduroy sack dress in plum, long-sleeved t-shirt, sandals.
Accessories: Long, swingy necklace of Native American totemic animals, potted ficus, white-noise machine and an NPR tote bag filled with women’s non-fiction, pictures in DIY frames of grown children and smiling grandchildren.
Wig: Short, stylish, spiky, gray.
Nails: Oval, clean, with very neat cuticles.

Country Club Mom

Clothing: Cashmere cardigan, jeans with a tasteful embroidery on the ass pockets.
Assessories: “Pearl” and/or “diamond” studs, leather handbag, 1.5 kids for placement in the rear seats of an SUV, Chesapeake Bay retriever puppy
Wig: Blonde chignon.
Nails: Nude.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To Open A Cupcake Boutique or To Raise Urban Chickens? The Dilemma of So Many.

You can't have a cupcake shop in a coop in the backyard, but you can have chickens.

It was an upstanding American president who said, “a chicken in every pot.” It was Marie Antoinette who said, “let them eat (cup)cake(s).”

Think how much fun the kids would selling chicken eggs at a huge markup on the 695 onramp.

Chickens have brains. My neighbor has a Rhode Island Red named Rhodesia that saved all their lives.

Cupcakes? No brains. Even with patient and persistent training, they can’t peck 911.

But consider this: senior male cupcakes don’t wake up at the crack of dawn and crow. That’s a positive, compared with owning a rooster.

You can't bribe a kid with a chicken. This is another way cupcakes are superior to chickens.

Also cupcakes are cheaper. Unless for your cupcake coop you want an Italian pastry counter and a staff that’s good looking. Then a chicken Igloo is cheaper.

However, cupcakes are recognized as easier to kill; you don’t need a special “neck funnel,” or an ax.

But why butcher at all? You could frost cupcakes to look like chickens and scatter them immobile, silent, and delicious around the yard, easily convincing yourself you have the best of both worlds.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Life in Haircuts

Infancy

I came into this world with a fabulous head of straight black hair. It was barely apparent to me; I could focus on no object other than my mother’s breast that was all the time inches from my head. The things I could have done with my hair make me want to bite my knuckle (a breast substitute).

Youth

The glory that crowned me was greatly dimmed by my first haircut, in 1975. At that young age I could say some words, including, incredibly, “for the love of all things holy, woman, don’t give me a bowl cut,” but my mother did anyway.

Adolescence

There is great value to a sweatshirt with a hood that draws in tight.

College

A hooded sweatshirt is still valued, and unlike the high school one that said, “Smiths” this one says “Smith: A Century of Women on Top” and I want to be a Marine Biologist and go deep in a submersible.


Graduate School


I write a 40-page thesis on Museum Wayfinding Devices. Some of my hairs turn gray and find their way down the shower train, unassisted. My boyfriend leaves me for a woman named Gail who has a mane that is, like, “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful.”

I bite my knuckles continuously for three months until, finally, a friend suggests bangs.

Early Middle Age

Drawn to men with hair power and the glossy black locks that curl like the wool of a sheep and with my biological clock ticking, I invest in Latin dance lessons and within minutes I would like to introduce you to my husband.

My hair looks the best it ever has because, of course, I'm pregnant.

The Current Cut

Like a mare’s forelock, my hair sits on my forehead; I am that exhausted mother you see driving around in a beat-up old Toyota, appearing at ballet class late, without makeup, in a strange ensemble pulled together in the dark, before the sun rose, and with the kids covered in Cheerios, not one of them yet in their tutu.

So I rely on hats, scarves, headbands and distractingly large earrings. And, frankly, whatever El Andre wants to do to create “movement,” “swing” and “texture,” I let him.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Passive Agressive Recipe

Double sifting is just a suggestion. I’m sorry I asked, actually.

I just wanted your “Light Meyer Lemon Cake” to be the best, but obviously you don’t care.

You say there were no Meyer lemons at the green market? I say that your social anxiety got the better of you. You really have to deal with your problem.

Use the balloon whisk on it. BEAT IT. What you’re doing looks more like coddling.

I’m sorry. You’re overworked as it is, with the kids…

Do what you want with the eggs. Don’t even bother separating them, if it’s too much work.

What is wrong with you? If you don’t separate the eggs, you bring shame to your grandmother’s apron.

I specifically called for parchment paper and you don’t have parchment paper, you moron.

Oh, my goodness, I’m sorry. I was so mean. I got worked up about the parchment paper and it was thoughtless of me. You of all people don’t need the stress of specialty baking items.

There, there. Why don’t you just bag cooking from scratch? Go take a nice hot bath.

Relax.

Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Like there isn’t much difference between fresh homemade cake and the frozen square of Pepperidge Farm, shipped in from North Jersey, with lots of preservatives that might give your kids tumors. What kind of mother are you?

Get yourself together and get in the kitchen. Double goddamn sift.

But when I say scant teaspoon of vanilla, what I mean is: we’re friends, right? No hard feelings. You decide how much vanilla.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Oscars At My House

Best Actor in a Leading Role: The Oscar goes to...my husband, for his work.

For “Just Purple, Only Purple (Meltdown At Circle Time If Any Other Color Touches My Skin),” my daughter wins for Best Costume Design.

Best Makeup. Me, for transforming “Tired Old Mommy” into “Tired Old Mommy With Eyeliner.”

Best Film Editing. What a creative partnership I have with my husband! When he said, “$#@! Honey, I think I lost the kids in the corn maze,” I simply edited that part out of “Punkin’ Play Yard.”

Best Animated Short Film. The Oscar goes to my son, for his dancing, buttering up, Indian film star tearing-up eyes, “jazz hands,” on the ground flailing, and other histrionic efforts in “Candy Is Dandy.”

Best Documentary Short Subject: My husband and I collaborate again, creating “More Than 40 Days In The Dessert” a very personal documentary on middle age weight gain.

Best Picture. Definitely not “Taken At Sears” the film in which we have to buy a new dishwasher.

For knowing when to say “go to your separate trailers,” the Oscar for Best Direction goes to Grandma for “At Grandma’s House,” a smash hit in two demographics: 2-to-5 year-olds and parents-over-40.

Best Actress in a Leading Role. Me. I have been channeling Julia Child for years, longer than Meryl Streep, and, in my recent work, “Stay At Home Mother,” all I do is cook.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poetry Writing And Fishing Tips

Get up early.

Why? Because Steven Wright said, “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing there on the shore looking like an idiot” and if, you get up early, fewer people will see you.

Become a fish-identification expert: full-grown haiku are small and most villanelles are inedible. Throw back the little ones.

The mola mola is also called the “ocean sunfish.” Do likewise, poets, and choose new words.

Floundering? You might need to attach more lead weight to your line.

No bites? Research what the bass masters are using for bait.

If Billy Collins is keeping the heads on the shrimp, keep the heads on the shrimp.

If, like Emily Dickinson, you work hard at hand-tying flies, one day you’ll have your own style of flies.

The more your bait reeks of decaying crab, the better to attract the company of striped bass and surrealists.

Don’t bring a banana on the boat.

Sometimes you do it for the fish, sometimes for the quiet, sometimes to make a hole in the ice to sit and wait, drinking.

It’s pulling on the line like a Shakespearian sonnet?!?! Reel it in slowly and methodically, ababcdcdefefgg.

Shit! The line’s enjambed. Put your hip waders on and go in after it, lunge at poetry, like the brown bear after a salmon.

So you spent the whole day fishing and got nothing, remember, as Rilke said in Letters to a Young Poet, “that’s why they call it ‘fishing’ not ‘catching.’ The important thing is to keep your ass in bass chair.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mom Olympics

Appear nonchalant at daycare in tight-fitting aerodynamic orange helmet.

If you think the giant slalom is tricky, try getting through the packed isles at Trader Joe’s with everyone else in Baltimore County in search of creamy, low-salt soy nut butter.

Triple axel? More like triple-wash the whites. Who’s coaching this team of amateurs, anyway? How hard it is to use a cup?

Ignore the incessant cowbell-ringing as you downhill through the afternoon.

In the evening, after the kids have gone to bed, bring out the zamboni and glide across the kitchen floor with your husband, who is as usual wearing a torero outfit bedecked in rhinestones.

Accept any and all roses, including the ones the kids have drawn with smelly markers. Turn to the camera and mouth the words, Does anyone in America know a good babysitter?

Prepare the kids lunch boxes as if there might be an endorsement deal in it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Poetry Revised for the Lovelorn

She walks in beauty like the night, not stopping at my apartment.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways you have not re-tweeted though you and I both follow @FormaggioKitchen for the goat cheese tastings.

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones and from the clothing strewn across the kitchen floor, I guess you knew her too.

I know this was going to be our big make-up date, but my GPS screwed up and I took the road less traveled by and I’m really sorry. Just shoot me your zip plus four and I’ll send flowers.

It was just meaningless, emotionless sex. My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun. Yours totally are.

Okay, it’s true that one had a lovely face and two or three had charm, but honey, charm and face were in vain because the mountain grass cannot but keep the form where the mountain hare has lain. What I think Yeats is trying to say is come back, the mountain’s not the same without you, and that's what I'm trying to say too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How To Crack Up A Five-Year-Old

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
A vegetable.
(By this time milk will be spewing from their nose.)

Why did the chicken cross the road?
(They won’t even be able to look at you, they’ll be crying.)

FART.
(Have paddles on hand for resuscitation if they just totally die.)

PRETEND TO TRIP OVER SOMETHING INVISIBLE.
(But if they have been simultaneously eating Goldfish and jumping on the couch, watch out for your white carpet.)

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Kids who need to go to bed.
Kids who need to go to bed who?
(They’re falling all over themselves, naked, drunk on the humor of you.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl Snacks For Working Moms

Melt cheese slices. Garnish with fresh sprigs.

Of guilt.

Use your briefcase as a supplemental coffee table.

Open a can of nuts, but distribute only the cashews equally among your guests.

In a pinch, Play-Doh is made of wheat.

So you like cocktail franks? Tell me about it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gittin' The Kids To School -- Cowboy Style

Git up. C’mon now, I said, git up.
It’s time to eat the eggs I done fried up in the pan and the coffee I done made with my sock. The sun done’s broke the horizon and we best be movin’ on toward the schoolhouse.

Hushpuppy, are you serious asking? I ain’t got but life experience, I’m justa ole cowboy, but’s gonna be differn’ for you and yer baby sister. You gonna be edumacated, learn you how to use them iPhones and iPads instead of feedin’ them chickens.

Leave off plaitin’ your honey-colored hair, Missus B. This time the whole family’s goin’. Maybe you’n I cin sit in the back of the one room schoolhouse and wear dunce caps on our heads, hunh, Missus B -- that got you smilin’ up a storm though, don’t it? Your smile is like the East Texas rain when I’ve been livin’ there in a tent for a month, mindin’ the cattle didn’t starve to death from a lack a grass. Put off shellin’ them peas though it’s the only thing you know, besides heartbreak.

Lemme give y’all a hand up. Seat yourself on ole Cool Glass A Water. Ain’t he a fine specimen! Ain’t we a sight for sore eyes, hushpuppies, goin’ down 695 through Pikesville on a bull while other people, fancy city people, honk at us in their S.U.Vs.

Bet they think we’re some kinda Amish. We ain’t though, kids. Yer ole Momma here definitely ain’t Amish. Why, she took first prize in rodeo when she was a crumbgrabber, ‘bout your age. Get up Momma and show ‘em your stuff.

Don’t that beat all, Missus B, little Nathaniel here’s says he’s embarrassed and is hidin’ his shame under the buffalo blanket. Dang it, boy, yer my blood, the fruit of my nether regions and yer old grandpappy didn’t die young in the Pony Express for you to be one of ‘em fancy pants. Be proud of yer daddy, though I don’t know ‘bout how to twitter n‘Tweet, I do do a fair matin’ turkey call.

How shall I further amaze you?

I know. I’ll lasso that McDonald’s sign yonder and we’ll take a turn through the drive-thru and we’ll see if it’s true, if their McGriddlers are better’n yer Momma’s.

If’n you were worried we’d drop you off and make for the border--we ain’t gonna run, we still own ‘bout half an inch of wheatfield and we gonna plow it with the toothpick yer Momma done whittled all last winter. Don’t you worry ‘bout nuthin’ but yer studies, hushpuppy. While yer in the schoolhouse learnin’ ‘bout our indebtedness to China and whatnot, us, yer family, will be waitin’ for in the yard all day long, scratchin’ in the dirt outside, lookin’ for grubs.