Monthly Archives: June 2010

Killing Cinderella

It was Mrs. Miller who first did it;  elementary school teacher, tall iconic American woman from my childhood who always wore perfectly coordinated outfits, shoes, purses, earrings, beaded necklaces and bangle bracelets.  If she was lemon, she was lemon from head to foot, it went the same for orange sherbert, grape, lime or cherry. Mrs. Miller didn’t dabble in complimentary colors, with her it was  full tone on tone, from head to toe, and usually the color of fruit.

Long before I had her as a teacher and long before I learned Mrs. Miller attended  something called a Women’s College in a far off magical land, somewhere called, back east,  she started it. It is all her fault,  and  I have no problem throwing her under the bus.

It was Mrs. Miller who planted the far-fetched idea in my thirsty and fertile imagination.

Mrs. Miller made me believe in Fairy Tales.

Ever the graceful child, I tripped while boarding the bus, and Mrs. Miller, the teacher on bus patrol duty grabbed my shoulders,  and my hand, steadying me, then gave my hand it a little squeeze, before letting it go. 

That’s when it happened.

Her perfectly matching manicured hand looked down at my chewed fingers and exclaimed,

“Prince Charming will take one look at these fingers and run the other way! You’ll never catch him if you don’t stop biting your nails!”

hey…wait a minute… prince charming is from a fairy tale…and fairy tales aren’t real…are they?

I climbed the steps onto the bus, headed straight for my seat in the almost back, the one right above the wheel, the one with the bump where I could put my feet flat on the floor and not have them dangle.

Being short always meant dangling feet, I still hate being reminded that my feet rarely hit the floor.

Prince Charming, I knew that guy.  From what I read he was kinda strange, riding around all day with a glass shoe looking for a girl who was right under his nose all the time, seemed kinda dense to me. Don’t even get me started on the glass slipper thing, just who would wear a glass shoe? I preferred Bilbo or Gandalf, flying dragons, swords and adventure, give me kids play’n hide and seek in a wardrobe and finding a new magic world, give me spiders named Charlotte who spins webs of  words and save Wilbur, give me wind funnel storms that carry away your enemies and your house and land you in Oz. Those were my stories.

My  stories were found the library bound editions, thicker, plain, in solid colors, with the titles embossed on the spine.  No pictures needed, a few little drawings were nice though, like the fancy letters that opened each chapter, or trees that started out bare and filled out full, a bird across the corner of all the pages, one you could flip between thumb and finger, faster and faster until it  flapped its wings and flew off the page.

My stories had thick cotton rag pages, ones that softened with each hand who turned the page, and had soft  uneven edges, as I sat and waited for my bus stop, my fingers rubbed across the whispery edges of my new library borrowed finds, and wondered…

Prince Charming?   Could it be possible?

My mother rolled her eyes after she read the titles of my new treasures and said, “When are you going to read real stories?”

Real stories were The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew or The Bobbsey Twins.  Her real books didn’t have magic, or dragons, or girls who sprouted wings and flew out the window…real books were real people stories. 

I knew then that my mother had  lost her magic, her  believing, but I also knew Mrs. Miller still  had hers.

I wondered which way I would go, and if I would always believe.

I shrugged, grabbed the books and headed to my room, opened the window and made for the roof.

If fairy tales were real, there were going to be some much-needed changes; Charlotte never dies; Dorothy figures out about the ruby slippers, and chooses to wander through Oz, a Knight Errant, saving the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion anyway. Prince Charming is an idiot, and he is out. Cinderella grows a spine,  leaves her lazy step-mother and meets up with Bilbo and goes to Rivendell to meet the Elves. Once there she learns to put down her broom and shoot a bow, and never ever has to wear glass slippers again. 

Poor Cinderella, her feet must have been killing her.

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The Middle Aged Woman’s List; The Happy Father’s Day Ultimate Guide to Hot Guys

I can clearly remember the first time I had my hands on a man.

My father was building a deck on the back of our house, his friends were over helping; bare-chested, working guys who, like my father,  worked construction for a living.

I remember bringing them water, I remember them saying thank you, and I remember while they were sitting down, on my level at last, taking a break, I seized the opportunity, and  started giving out back rubs.

Ah…even at 4,  I knew a good thing when I saw it.

So in my 48th year, with 44 years of experience I am officially proclaiming myself  an expert at determining what makes  a guy hot and even more importantly, what doesn’t.

People Magazine has their list. Here is mine.

A Guy is Hot When:

1. He can’t walk past a pile of freshly washed towels dumped on the couch without  stopping,  folding them, and putting them away.

2. He knows how you take your coffee or tea, and it doesn’t take an act of Congress for him to use this information more than twice annually .

3. He keeps the seat is down; yes, that seat.

4. He knows a clean dishwasher should be emptied, and that dirty dishes do not belong in a sink.

5. He owns a Blackberry, calendar, or iPhone app and therefore is never caught off guard with your birthday or anniversary as they do seem to change every year.

6. He can walk past a mirror without looking at himself.

7. He doesn’t whine about his job; that is why it is called work, not play.

8. He is a self-starter; and takes the initiative  to go to the store when there is no milk, paper towel or toilet paper  and never  pretends not to notice  when they are out so that you have to go.(Or heaven forbid they use the last square and you are forced to sit for an hour and drip dry)

9. He is tall enough to get the bowls down from the top shelf for you, but doesn’t sing or hum the song,”Short people” every time he does so.

10. When he is your partner in most things, wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here with you, laughs with you, cries with you, and most importantly, shows up, especially for the hard stuff.

Sorry People, keep your wash board abs, your slick,  knee buckling smile boys,  they just don’t rock my boat.

Give me instead a man who is present,  and holds my face in his hands when he kisses me.

Well that,  or Norm Abrams from This Old House and New Yankee workshop.

After all what is hotter than a guy  who can he can make furniture from a tree?

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“Covered Dish”… a short story

          From Pantry to sink, beveled edge to backsplash, Betty’s kitchen counter was piled with casseroles.  Creamy tuna with crushed and crunchy potato chip topping; broccoli with cheddar cheese and Ritz crackers; green bean with mushroom soup and French fried onions; three bean, three bean with pasta, three bean with no beans.  Food was everywhere.

          The dining room held the big stuff.  Spread atop the good linen were; two country hams; biscuits; jello salads with marshmallows and nuts;  jello molds in friendly shapes and all the primary colors; ice tea, fresh and sugared; bit sized pecan tassies, gooey and warm; and last but not least, two different kinds of sweet potato pie.  The welcome wagon had definitely arrived.

           The neighborhood woman came early bearing covered dishes. Each dish was packed proudly inside its own quilted warmer, each warmer decorated with cross-stitched flowers or proudly embroidered initials marking ownership.  Some ladies brought more than one dish, each with its own cover and of course all matching.  The dishes sat clustered together by families of color and content.  

A covered dish was serious business.

           The notice had appeared in the weekly bulletin at church.  The newest members of the family were to be welcomed this Sunday.  The traditional method was, of course, the covered dish.  There was nothing like good food, good conversation, and good people.  Everyone was invited.  Everyone came.

           Betty stood among them. The colorful swarm, a procession of reaching limbs and plates, utensils at the ready.   Each smiling face introduced itself again as each passed, each turning and heaping another serving of his or her favorite dish, each leaving through the opposite end of the kitchen.  It was a divine, lively, ceremonial dance of welcome.  Her house was filled to the brim with new friends, and Betty couldn’t remember feeling happier.

          Betty remembered most of their names, but some she recognized by other methods.  The woman who played the organ was there, buzzing around in bright yellow organza with matching shoes and purse.  Even the beads around her neck were the perfect matching shade of yellow.  The organ woman fluttered from room to room smiling and chatting.  Everywhere she went, that perfectly matched purse held fast in the crook of her arm, part of her being.

          The buffet-receiving-congo line seemed endless.  But the growing stack of dirty plates, glasses and silverware told Betty otherwise.  As wonderful as it was, it would soon be over.  As she moved toward the sink, a blur of navy jacket, red tie, and bulging brass buttons caught her eye.  It was the salesman.  The soap salesman.  Effervescent and ever smiling, he was making his way through the crowd toward her.

          She turned, hoping his name would come to her before he reached her at the sink.

“Betty…” he boomed, “got something for you.”

          She turned back, too late; she could only remember the soap.  She would have to ask his name.

“Now don’t tell me, you’re going to try and sell me some soap, right?” she asked.  She smiled, “I’m sorry, I can’t remember your name…”

“Betty, don’t you worry about it. You remembered the soap and that’s more important!  Brought something for you, fell off the shelf at the plant, if you know what I mean…” he said.  With a wink and a smile he handed Betty a bag.  Betty looked inside; it was full of sample-sized soaps, laundry powder, and dishwashing lotions. At the bottom of the bag stood a large unlabeled bottle.

“Thank you, you shouldn’t have really…”

“Think nothing of it, I thought I would get your opinion on some of our products.  Did you see our latest, the big bottle, the dishwashing lotion?” he asked as he pulled it from the bag.

“This stuff will take the grease off a hog, and that ain’t no lie! Thought I would bring you a large size–knew you could use it today of all days!” he chuckled, nearly bursting the hold his buttons had on the jacket.

“This stuff really is the best stuff for getting grease and grime off your dishes, cars, and let me give you a free tip–just a little in a bucket full of water will make your windows sparkle.  I’ll tell you what, you get that husband of yours in here, and I’ll give you a little demonstration!”

          With a push on her back, and a gentle” go on now”,  Betty found herself looking for her husband, Tom.  She didn’t have to go far; he was trapped in the hall between the organ woman and one of the church elders.  The elder was slight, and with a  wrinkled smile. His large black-framed spectacles gave his eyes an exaggerated size.  Tom stood trapped between the fluttering yellow and the nodding elder owl.  He didn’t have a chance.

“Can I steal my husband away for just a minute?” Betty asked as she pulled Tom back from the edge.  She added, “the soap man wants to see us in the kitchen.  I think he’s going to give us a demonstration of one of his new products.”

          Tom and Betty headed for the kitchen.  The line was gone, and replaced with a mountain of dishes at the sink.  The soap man was standing next to the sink, jacket off, sleeves rolled, ready for action.

The salesman started to pitch, “Betty  if I could trouble you for a large bowl, I can get this little show on the road.”

           The elder owl and organ woman had followed Betty and Tom into the kitchen. Tagging along were several other neighbors and children.  Betty had the feeling this was a regular occurrence at these things.  She liked the idea of someone helping her with the dishes.  She hoped Tom was taking notes. 

Betty retrieved the bowl from the top shelf and handed it to the salesman.  Then he started.

“First, let me welcome one and all to the home of our new friends, Betty and Tom from way out west.  Where was that, Arizona?” Betty and Tom smiled, and he continued. “Betty has been kind enough to let me show you all the greatest little product we have come up with yet.” He held the product high and turned for all to see.

          By now there was quiet a crowd gathered in the kitchen.  Betty wondered just how many people there were, she couldn’t seem to count them all.

“Betty,” he continued, ” could I possibly trouble you for a little salt and pepper?”

          Betty retrieved the items from the counter and handed them to the salesman.

“And could I possibly trouble some of you folks to clear a space for me and my bowl at the table?”

          As he motioned towards the table, the crowd parted and magically room was made, and the salt, the pepper, and the bowl were placed upon the crowded table.

“Now Betty, if I could ask just one more thing,” he smiled. “Just what do you have a lot of out there in Arizona?”

          Raising her arms above her head, betty bounced, “Cactus, giant cactus.” Everyone laughed, Betty beamed.

“Well we don’t have much of that here, but I tell you what we do have…I need some water…could someone bring me some water for this bowl please?”

          Tom took the bowl from the salesman and filled it before handing it back.  The food had been moved by now, and all that sat upon the good linen now were the large bowl of water, the salt, the pepper, and the unlabeled bottle of soap.

“Like I started to say,” he bellowed, ” we don’t have any of those things here.  If it’s got thorns and prickers we get rid of it.”

         The crowd chuckled.

“Especially if they are bigger than we are. We don’t take kindly to plant life that inflicts pain whatsoever!”

          Betty and Tom and the ret of the crowd couldn’t help but laugh.  The salesman got louder and louder with every approving guffaw.  Betty was glad he had taken off his jacket;  those buttons wouldn’t have made it this far.

          The salesman started shaking salt into the bowl and asked, “No, what I meant folks, was what kind of those…what do you call them…vermin kinds do you have out there, we have another kind which I am sure you know of.”

          A ripple of approval began to surround betty and Tom.  Loud nods and mumbled yes sirs, and yes ma’ams, crowded around them.

“HIS- SPAN- ICS–spics–that’s what I meant. Out here we got ourselves a bigger nigger problem, you see.”

          With that, he began to shake pepper into the bowl until the water was no longer visible.  A thick black layer of pepper completely covered the water.

“Yes, we have us a big ol’ problem here…” he chuckled as the pepper continued to float upon the water. “But now we have us a solution.”

          The salesman held up the unlabeled bottle and turned for all to see.  The crowd roared.

“Yes sir, all we have to do is take a little of this magic soap…”   The salesman pulled the top from the bottle and placed a single drop of soap upon his finger. he then ran his finger over the rim of the bowl, depositing the soap inside.

          The crowd pushed toward the table; eager faces poised to watch, as the slow-moving drop of soap cleared a path down the inside of the bowl towards the water.  The soap hit the water, and the blackened surface parted, revealing the still unmelted grains of salt upon the bottom of the bowl.  The pepper had been isolated to the edge of the bowl, a black circle of wasted spice.

          Betty noticed that  the owl had somehow lost his eyes.  They were hidden in a mass of wrinkled skin pushed up from his beaming grin.  As she turned to face the mound of piling dishes, she noticed the organ lady no longer held her matching bag.

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Macaroni and Cheese, Measuring Spoons and Murder in 8th Grade Home Ec

The butter went in first.  It slides across the warm pan with a sizzle leaving a melted shiny trail in its wake.

Flour, the elbows, and the cheddar cheese;  tonight’s menu… my mother is making Macaroni and Cheese.  Always from scratch, bake in the smooth cheddar goodness, this is not a side dish, supper.  This is a  have some sliced tomatoes and bread with it, a  stand on its own full-blown entre.

It is still a  favorite.

There are no boxes, no mixes, no prepackaged quickie food items here.

I hop up on the orange formica counter top, bare feet dangling down above the bright game board patterned indoor outdoor carpet that covers the kitchen floor;  repeated checker boards, in deep dark brown,yellow, and orange, a way-too Brady Bunch Kitchen without any Alice.

My mother’s temper heated faster than her copper pots, the wooden spoon her go to tool of choice for reminding her five children just who was in charge.  I sit  just out of reach and watch her every move.  From my perch I watch the magic happen.

The butter pools and starts to bubble, she adds the flour, in equal measure, a roux. She stirs a constant -don’t let it burn stir,  a slow burping bubbling starts, time to add the milk; 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon flour, to 1 cup of milk, the constant and comforting ratio.

Stirring no stopping now, slowly slowly bring to an almost boil, just a single bubble is all the reassurance one needs that it is ready. Mom needs no bubble, her skilled eye sees the time is right when the basic cream sauce holds and slowly coats ever smoothly the back of the spoon when she lifts it out of the pan. Take it off the heat. Time to add the cheddar, stir the sauce, watch it turn from creamy white, to sharp cheddar soft orange. How much cheese?  Measuring is out,  a quick wipe of a finger across the back of the spoon, she does it by taste, knows when it’s just right, it is.

The big pot is almost at the boil, steam rises,  salt is poured in her hand, tossed in the pot, the boiling stops,  momentarily,  then begins again.  She pours the box of elbows in gives it a stir.

“Mom….?   How come we don’t have real measuring spoons?”

Real measuring spoons,  the ones I saw in Home Ec class.  The ones that the teacher, skinny pale-faced just graduated from college and is the same height as 13-year-old me, teacher said is a kitchen basic…whateverthatmeans.

“How many of you don’t have kitchen measuring spoons? Cups?” she asked in her monotone  voice.

My hands are glued to my side, we have no such items, but I not tell’n.  I’m already on thin ice in this class,  having taken too many passes with the sewing machine on my stuffed octopus pillow project. AND I didn’t follow directions,  didn’t leave a hole open on said seam so I could stuff said octopus with stuffing…AND  the final grade dropping straw, smirking and telling the teacher,

“That is not how my mother does it…” followed quickly by, “and she doesn’t use anything from a box”.

“Well your mother isn’t giving you a grade for this class is she?” the teacher barked back.

At first I thought this Home Ec teacher just didn’t understand. Hey,  this is me, I am one of the good ones,  I loved school, never missed, always did my homework, never late with a library book,  loved school. Griffith school  cafeteria with its big fluffy rolls and scoops of peanut butter and chocolate milk on Fridays, the fields where we played kickball, four square, ran track and hung out in the far corner, daring each other to leave school grounds by stepping through the opening in the chain link fence.  

Then I realized she just really didn’t like me. I blurted answers out, didn’t wait on being called on, and even when she did call on me, for some reason she always told me I was wrong.

“What does it mean when we say, clean as you go?”

The blurter in me jumps, “It means what you said, clean as you go, so wash the utensils as you use them, wash the bowls and whatever you used as your cake is baking, stuff like that…”

“Wrong.”

I don’t remember the answer that was correct, I remember thinking,  boy this bitch really can’t stand me…and having a really red face for the rest of the class.

So sorry… didn’t raise my hand, we don’t have any of those Tupperware pretty spoons, no metal neat and stack inside each other kind of cups either. We have regular spoons from the silverware drawer, and a teacup with roses on it instead; BUT  I need to pass this stupid class and graduate from 8th grade.

My mother put the spoon down and looks right at me, “I don’t need measuring spoons…I have this…” she holds up her hand.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Get a teaspoon from the drawer,” she instructs.

I hop off the counter, open the draw and get a spoon. Mom turns around grabs the salt, and pours it into her hand.

“This is exactly a teaspoon, ” she explains, holding out her hand with a tiny mound of salt on her palm.”Now give me the spoon.”

I hand Mom the spoon, standing closer, looking at her palm as she scoops up the salt which all fits with no room to spare on the spoon. It was exactly a teaspoon, no more no less.

“That is why we don’t have measuring spoons, we don’t need them,  and they are a waste of money.”

She turns, drains the elbows using the lid from the pot, and after giving them a big shake, pours them in the pan with the cheese sauce, stirs and then puts it all into a dish  and under the broiler.

The next day I enter Home Ec, pillow now properly stuffed and graded awaits retrieval from the table.  The note pinned to the octopus was full of comments, it held my grade and wonderful commentary on my sewing ability.

“Your stitches are too far apart, not enough seam allowance, and you made multiple passes with machine…D+.”

D+  a first for me,  the I love school straight A gal.  I sit stewing for the entire class.  I keep my eyes down staring at the lopsided octopus in my hands, face growing red, cheeks aflame with shame, for getting a D+. My mother sewed a lot of our clothes, she even sewed the dress I wore in our graduation picture, and wore to the dance. D+  my ass

The bell rings, I stay in my seat.  When the class was finally empty I look up at the teacher and say,

“I finished the project, completed it, and don’t deserve a D-…and for your information we don’t have any measuring spoons, or cups at my house…my mother says don’t need them…they are a waste of money.”

No reaction. Pasty face teacher has no reaction.

I look down and I have twisted the Octopus in my hands, I twist it more and give it a pull, a seam pops open, a weak spot;  Like Bill Bixby when he turns into the hulk, Lou Ferrigno,  I tear at the seam, rip it open, pull out the stuffing and I confess, I proceed to murder the Octopus right before the Home Ec teachers ever-widening eyes.

My mother retrieved me from the principles office. We drive home in silence, she pulled  into the drive way, places the car in park, and turns to me and in a quiet almost stunned voice said to me,

“..she tried to give me measuring spoons and cups.. Then asked me if it was true I never used mixes….I told her that a real cook doesn’t  need them, and mixes were not economical, actually they are a waste of money…she didn’t believe me.”

She looked at me then, she saw and understood. My face finally cooled, even sitting in a parked car, in the driveway, on an Arizona May. 

 “I spoke to Mr. Haggard, you are getting a C in Home Ec,  don’t lose your temper again, even if you are in the right, and even when the teacher is a complete idiot.”

Then we went in the house, and made some supper, without measuring spoons and cups, and mixes, and it was good.

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Just Be Present

He sits shotgun,  all quiet,  even through the massive highway construction towering high above us and stretching as far as the eye can see.  He says nothing about the huge earth movers scrapping and scouring and shifting the soil to conform the landscape to their man-made plans.  He ignores the trucks and hard hats and “mens’ work”.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. 

For a man whose life was filled with outside work, climbing poles, driving huge drilling trucks, his silence is suspicious. 

I know this silence.

It is the sound of children sitting in the back seat in a panic going to the pediatricians office pondering the unknowns; specifically, shots or no shots.  As a young mom I never told my children they were going to the Dr.’s until the last second. Too early and one was driven nuts with questions, worried glances, and tears.  

What they didn’t know then was not telling them really had nothing to do with their whining and fear, it had to do with my own.

Ask any parent they’ll tell you, it is always harder on us, we who watch.

There is something slightly sadistic about taking a babbling little six month old to get their shots. We wash them, and dress them up, brush their fuzzy heads, all to take them into a room and allow a stranger to jab a needle in their fat leg, usually not just once either.

But you have to do it. There are things we don’t like, things we don’t want to do but gotta, and this is one of them.

Then nurse comes in with the tray.

The little plastic or metal tray that hold the syringes, needles other wise known as the business end of this office visits. 

Then just as the parent reaches an all time high of  jumbled frayed nerves, stomach is doing somersaults, the unforgivable is asked of them. 

“You ready?” This is when they usually lay out their plan of attack on your unknowing, unsuspecting childs little  limb.

Then it comes.

“Could you hold their leg still?”

This is where the sadism enters the picture…we have to hold them down.

I told you it’s always worse for the watchers.

So I know the silence, been there, done that.

This time it is my father-in-law, Griff is on his way to a new Dr. appointment, and that old silence is back, the kind that hangs in the air, a foggy fear,  still with apprehension, and just like with my children, I feel it swell in me too. 

“So what do you think about all this mess?” I try to engage him with his usual favorite topic.

“.. lots going on.”  Not biting.

I ponder my choices, I need to do something to reassure without demeaning, belittling and getting all mommie on him. He is my father-in-law after all, he may be 74 and have a debilitating chronic terrible illness, but he is still a man, and he doesn’t need a mommie.

“So… Griffy,” I offer. “Ya think this new guy will have a clue about your MSA?”.  I bait.

Demeaning the white coats always seems to work, he likes pick on college grads, his favorite topic after construction jobs and real work, the kind men do outside.

“Probably not, they’re stupid arse holes,  all of them…”  came his quick grumpy but comic  Liverpudlian reply.

Now we are getting somewhere.

I just have to be present.

Be here in the moment with him.

That is all he needs.

It is all anyone really needs.

To know they aren’t alone.

He went on to do well, and liked the new Dr.. He joked and laughed, and thankfully this time there were no shots, and I wasn’t asked to hold his leg.

But its worse for those of us who are the watchers, the caretakers, the ones standing bedside,  holding the hands, and wiping  the tears. We are the ones who watch, and worry and stand and witness until the real silence comes, after the beeping alarms all fall quiet.

We wait until then,  we are present until then, the moment we are left behind.

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Filed under Children, Elder Care, Family, Griff, Life, Multiple System Atrophy, Shy Drager Syndrome, True Life

The She-Dragon, Minions of Oprah and Faces on FaceBook

Despite having warned my children, 13-10-3 at the time, that  a gruesome death was waiting for anyone who interrupted my bath; as in there had better be blood squirting from an open wound or don’t even think about it, don’t move your fannies from the couch and cartoons if you know what is good for you warning, they of course, did.

“Mom?” came the quivering query through the door.

“Is someone hurt or bleeding,  Zack ?” My son, then 10.

 He obviously drew the short straw and therefore had to face whatever terror lay beyond the knock on the locked bathroom door.

“No…but…”

“BUT WHAT…!”  I snort, steam flaring from each nostril,  thinking that now I know there is no blood and maiming,  soon, there will be.

“Someone is on the phone for you …”

“TAKE A MESSAGE!”  roared the fire-breathing scaley she-dragon creature from the tub.

“But Mom…they say they’re from the Oprah show..”

Oprah.

There you have it, the single magic word that saved my child from certain death, Oprah.

I jumped from the tub, wrapped in a towel, opened the door, conditioner stinging my eye and grabbed the phone.

“Hello?”

It’s true. It was a minion of the Oprah.

They had my letter, about the book,  Stones from the River, by Ursela Hegi.

Yes,  it was an Oprah’s Book Club Selection a while ago…ok ok  it was 1997 ok feel better?

Let me just say a mother’s memory  lives longer then a desert tortoise and if you could cut it open, the memory, not the tortoise, it would look something like the growth rings on a tree…mother memories are forever.

The minion had questions;

Why did you identify with the novel? ..yikes..I felt like I was standing naked in Postgraduate literature class without my assignment.  Wait… I am standing naked…conditioner streaming into my eyes….

Are you a “little person?” I almost said yes anything to get me an audience with THE Oprah.

Could I send a recent photo? I pondered slightly which decade photo to send as my most recent photo selection.

 All stop, here is where I get off .

A recent photo. Sorry can’t help you there. Like millions of other mothers of my generation I am the photo taker, the snapper, never the subject.  The few that have survived either have me in a breastfeeding not for public viewing moment, dish towel over the shoulder holiday meal cooking blur, or mid-pissed off snarl as a brave child has attempted to capture the she-dragon on film.

I did send a picture, wasn’t ever selected, and the children lived and grew and the she-dragon that snarled was eventually  defanged, fire extinguished, enrolled in work release program and was never heard from again.  Until recently that is…

Facebook unleashed the She-Dragon.

Specifically, the faces on Facebook.

Reconnecting with old friends perusing their pages and photos and walls has turned me into an Agatha Christy heroine.

I am a bad house guest snooping through “friends” virtual medicine cabinets, looking for a fix.

They look like that? I snarl,  totally obsessed with the beautiful head shot pics complete with lighting and lustrous  fan blown hair.

She-Dragon searches for a single frame of her own to post, but alas my pics just don’t compare.

So I snap a clean washed face in the photobooth app, and paste it for all to see, but it is not who I am.

I am found,  my virtual friends,  in the words and the writing, and the roar of the She-Dragon.

You’ll have to read to see this scaley scribbling creature ….

Can you see me now?

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Filed under Children, Erma-ish, Facebook, Family, Humor, motherhood, oprah, True Life

Worshipping at the Altar of Giada the Goddess of Food

Cheese,  eggs, milk, butter, half and half,  bacon,  blueberries and walnuts are each mentally weighed and measured with a glance. Whole frozen organic chicken,  various deconstructed chicken parts, pork tenderloin, skirt steak, tilapia fillets, shrimp,  and Eskimo pies are noted. I keep opening the fridge and freezer and standing there staring, hoping that either inspiration or a fully cooked dinner for six is hidden inside.  After the third trip I realize it is not working, close the fridge door and look in the pantry.

Kashi cereal, Garofalo elbows, penne, fettuccine, risotto and refried beans stare back without comment.

Bubkes, zip, nada, I got nothing.  

After 27 years of marriage, three children,  two husbands, one live in father-in-law and roughly 9855 dinners cooked, the imagination and creative meal planning well has finally run dry.

Please feel free to check my math.  Thats 27 years x 365 days = 9855 dinners cooked.

What about eating out you say? Recalculating….one moment please…

Eating out, let’s be generous and say one meal a week, although there were years when that was a no-go. Two toddlers, high chairs and cleaning restaurant floors of their cast off,  non-eaten,  food debris wasn’t high on my list of things to do. But  I’ll give you 1 meal a week. Thats 52 weeks in a year, so 52 x 27  years = 1404 meals away from home or ordered in.

9855 dinners cooked – 1404 dinners delivered or eaten out = 8451 dinners cooked.

Oh wait! Weekends means lunches made too! Ok ok I can hear you whining already…. I’ll only count one weekend lunch a week.

1 weekend lunch  a week so… 52 x 27 years = 1404

Which brings us back to 9855…you follow?

Lets not forget the momma ain’t doing no dishes or cooking today,  days… -27 mothersdays,   and – 27 birthdays.

Current running total 9855- 27 birthdays= 9828- 27 mother’s days= 9801 meals.

Don’t even get me started on brown bag lunches packed, or hours shopped or heaven forbid dishes washed…despite the showing of my numerical acuity today, math is not my forte.

What about vacations, traveling, dinners at friends and relatives homes you say?

Feeling generous, I’ll throw in two years worth of dinners…Thats right lets just subtract 365 x 2 = 730 dinners.

Grand total 9801- 730 (the imaginary and generous two years off  dinner duty) = 9071 dinners served.

After over 9 thousand dinners, my well is dry, and standing  in front of an open fridge hoping the contents will start making themselves just ain’t work’n.

Time to go to the Goddess, the goddess of the Food Network.

Giada de Laurentiis the Goddess of Food.

Laptop open, address #1 on the favorites bar, she is always only a tiny click away.

Like an epicurean Genie, she appears a flash.  The miniscule white apron wrapped waist, effervescent smile, simple steps,  food that my family will actually eat,  this cooking icon never fails to inspire. 

She appears next to me in the kitchen we stand eye to eye, but lets just say the size similarities end there…

“I am out of ideas” I whisper head hung.

“Let me see what you have,” she opens the fridge.

She tosses me the goat cheese, bacon, and  frozen shrimp. She opens the pantry and brings out the organic penne.

” Is that fresh basil I see out in your patio?” the Goddess asks.

“Yes”

” Get some” she tells me.

30 minutes later I have a pasta dish and caprese salad at the ready for the hungry masses.

I turn to thank her for her help.

She has  disappeared.

Giada the Goddess of Food and Inspiration has gone, but I know she is always only a  simple single click away.

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