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Showing posts from June, 2008

A soul food feast---why food was the best celebration of life

( Photo by Scott Peterson. ) Yesterday a good friend dropped by my house and said, "Come over for dinner later. I feel like cooking and having people over. Wear a swimsuit." "What can I bring?" I asked. "Anything you like. We're eating what makes us feel good," she said, "I already asked Friend and Other Friend. They're bringing side dishes and desserts." "So like an appetizer?" "Sure. Just come. I need to cook. I need to entertain." "Okay," I said. This friend's father passed away a couple of weeks ago. It was a surprise/not surprise. He'd been suffering strokes for years and---despite really effective treatment that not only prolonged his life, but also prolonged the quality of his life by minimizing the effects of the strokes---doctors had warned the family quite some time ago that the next big one would likely be fatal. So they knew that death loomed. When her father passed away, as her friend, I

Why I won't give up my day job to become a baker. Ever.

Yesterday we ran out of bread. That surprised me because we don't tend to eat that much bread in my family, and we spread what bread eating we do across a plethora of products (Kashi waffles, bagels, English muffins, etc.). However, apparently this past week saw a big run on the bread and we ran out, on a week I don't have a shopping trip planned.* Of course I didn't even have stale crusts left over from the previous weeks because of the Ginormous Seagull Feeding Disaster.** That's fine, though, because you can't keep a good woman down. I rooted in the pantry and found a box of bread mix. Excellent, I thought, I'll just whip up some homemade bread. The kids can help and we'll have an Activity! Some Fun! The house will smell delicious and we'll have bread for the week! I got the kids set up at their table with "helping" tasks (mixing flour and water) and set to it. Yeast and warm water, check, waiting, mixing bread ingredients, check. Waiting. M

I'm going back to BLOGHER!

Case in point...Jami Gertz then and now... Bret Easton Ellis' book Less than Zero exploded into our culture in 1986, earning him fame, a movie deal and shining a light on a generation and culture that revealed itself, through Ellis's words, as self-indulgent, pointless and degenerate. Or so the preceding generation presumed. As all preceding generations presume when watching the follies of the youths. The mid-80s brought a crackdown on the party lifestyle, just in time for me to hit the main party age. In 1984, I watched high school seniors vehemently protest two things: making the drug X illegal and enacting The National Minimum Drinking Age Act . Elders may have been impressed to finally see Gen X care about something passionately, but I'm sure they felt it was too bad that the inspiration was drugs and alcohol (very ironically, I am sure, in a fair number of self-righteous cases). Still, thanks to Nancy Reagan we learned to Just Say No and thanks to Tipper Gore we could

Kids and sex? That question is best directed to me...

I was over reading Sci-Fi Dad's blog today. As I have been in general, I've been a bad, bad cyberfriend to Sci-Fi Dad and his wife, who is expecting. I'm behind on the pregnancy and life updates, how their little bunny is doing (especially with her new glasses), and so forth. I finally did my Google reader scan this morning (after clearing it the other day when it had over a 1000 unread, and since then, up to 200---you people impress me with your loquaciousness) and I was impressed to see that the bunny has a redecorated room and that Sci-Fi dad has been busy on his many blogs and columns, yet still took time to answer reader questions. Out of 14, 2 were dedicated to how he would deal with a teenage daughter/sexual creature. It suddenly struck me that we are all very, very keen to ask men this question: how will you handle boys (read: slavering sexual beasts---nudge nudge wink wink, you know ) coming on to your daughter (read: precious pure princess angel)? Hmm, that prese

I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more: The Hump Day Hmm for June 18, 2008

How far would I go for the people I love? Pretty far. I'll go to Disneyland for my kids. I promise you, even as a child I had no big driving desire to go there. I'll go to the Zoo in Houston in the summer for my kids. This one hits so many of my things I don't prefer it stands on its own. I'll fly or drive to different places and wear different corporately-prescribed outfits and chat up potential clients in order to help my husband's business. I'll bite my tongue bloody when my dad compares David Axelrod to Rove on Father's Day. I'll bite it bloody again when one more time we rehash the Time Flavia and I Double Dog Dared The Boys that we could jump in a mud puddle and they couldn't and let's just say the girls won that round. I bite it because I fully intend to rehash every single parenting merit badge I'll have on my sash when my kids are grown. I'll count to 8000 and hold my temper and not confront someone who just insulted my husband a

God love Tyra Banks for always giving me such ample fodder and fun

I don't watch Tyra Banks on any show, much less her talk show. I don't even really watch VH1 or I haven't since they quit actually playing music, or really, any music I like much. This is a matter of preference not snottiness. I roll in the gutter plenty so I don't cast aspersion (much). However, I happened to catch a show on VH1 about the Tyra Banks show. She was featuring a topic called My Big Fat Ass. I'm not sure whether to love it or hate it, but I was definitely horrified/fascinated when she opened her show by walking past four women prominently sticking out their allegedly junk-filled trunks...slapping each rear end as she went by, and squeezing the last one. She asked Carnie Wilson on as a guest---you know, the self-described lead spokeswoman/advocate for Healthy Body Image for Plus Size. She used to sing? Her dad was a Beach Boy? Right-o. So Carnie is on and she's talking about her life challenges or something and the conversation went roughly like this

I know what's best for my kids and it's me being happy...and other concepts I'm not too sure about

Me, engaged in a kid-approved activity: hovering over them at a birthday party in a gymnastic place. How often do you know what makes your kids perfectly happy, I ask you? So...I know, and they know I know, which is where the struggle comes in: every day isn't a happy birthday party at the Little Gym with mom on call. Ha! My last post was my 800th post and I missed that, being in such a rush as I was. So this is 801. That's pretty par for the course for me right now---catching it just one too late. I feel it from most angles, this sense of, "You're a day late and dollar short." Despite taking the kids to the Zoo Zoobilee bash last night---earning me the "For my kids' sakes I would walk 500 the godawful the ZOO...with crowds of melting people and animals hiding in whatever shade they could find" badge---and ensuring that each day contains at least one fun thing such as a trip to the pool, the kids and I have not launched summer o

The walls came tumbling down...a blogger's perspective of the lines between traditional media and bloggers reporting from significant events

The Texas Capitol---ubiquitous looking symbol of democratic government, and yet movingly significant. It was Day Two of the Texas Democratic Party convention and I was sitting in the press room with the other members of the credentialed press. The other members of the press---who weren't sure who I was, at first, or how I fit in to the strict structure; in fact, weren't sure, after all, that I was one of them---and I tapped away at our laptops, preparing stories. Here our language diverged: I posted mine, they filed theirs. But I think most of them wrote at blogs, as well. They knew I was a blogger because the very cool Vince Leibowitz and Charles Kuffner greeted me as we all arrived and checked into the press room. This greeting and our subsequent conversation claimed me as one of us, a blogger. I'm afraid that dropped me immediately in the estimation of the reporters in the room. Glennia Campbell , one of the MOMocrat founders, experienced something similar in Californ

Que sera, sera: Hump Day Hmm about Comfort Zones for June 4, 2008

I always found the song "Que sera, sera," a little ironic. I never wondered too much about what I was going to be when I grew up until adults continually asked me---and I started to get worried that maybe this was a question that ought to have an answer; after all they asked it expecting an answer, anticipating that I would know, and other children seemed quite definitive. I was not. I'd start answering in the moment: * a private investigator like Kelly Garrett (the Charlie's Angels phase) * a spy kicking Russian ass (the rebelling against duck and cover phase) * a back up dancer for a rock star (the Tony Orlando and the Dawns phase) * a scientist who studied and found medicine in the backyard (the backyard botany phase, and yes, I tasted every item in the yard) (boiled it in water, dried it out, and so forth) * a famous writer like Carolyn Keene (the Nancy Drew phase, coordinated well with the PI and spy phases) * a psychologist who treats people with multiple person

Perfect posts---how women use their words powerfully and wonderfully for the good

Suburban Turmoil and Petroville host the Perfect Post awards every month. Jenny and Mindy host Blog Share Sundays every week. Although I am often way too self-involved to think my way out of my own often overwhelming life's paper bag, this past month and week I did manage to do so. :) Moms Speak Up contributor Lisa spoke to my raison d'etre with her post, The Power of Language: Use It To Make Change . So I nominated it for a Perfect Post award. Then, at my disturbed-about-the-issue-desiring-teacher-POV request, Ann Bibby wrote, " Voting a Student Off the Island: What Happened in Florida? " and I thought that was worthy of a Blog Share. Slouching Mom also wrote so movingly about the cautious child in her post, " The Cost of Caution ," and I had to put that up for a Blog Share too. You guys get a badge too! And last but not at all least, I was awed when Chani wrote in her Sacred Life Sunday about Perspective . Cani, I haven't got a badge so hopefully ve

Where's your comfort zone? Great, now jump out of it for the Hump Day Hmm!

My comfort zone is a continually evolving thing. I believe it is largely dependent upon experience and education, which proves the cliche that there is no substitute for time. I believe you have to use that time wisely, of course, to grow and develop. One way to do that is to stretch and reach outside your comfort zone. I recently ran across a reality show called 30 Days , which asks people to spend 30 days outside their comfort zone. It's not just some social issue version of wife swap, though. It's an honest attempt---as much as is possible all things and media considered---to shine a light on what can grow when we walk in another's shoes. In fact, FX , the network that produces and runs the show, uses the motto, "There is no box." 30 Days is the brainchild of Morgan Spurlock, best known for his controversial independent documentary Super Size Me and his book, Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America . The show is considered a smart an