Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Know This Much Is True

For my whole life I have been me. Good, bad, ugly, weird, I have been me. I never went along with the crowd, I was never easily swayed, I have always been exactly who I am at all times. Until now.

When you enter unfamiliar territory you put on your best face, your most outgoing personality and you may even act a little phony in order to let people get to know you before you let your freak flag fly. When we moved to New Mexico and I was slogging my way through trying to make new friends in a new environment, I may have done this. Now, after a year and a half all bets are off and people are going to have to take me or leave me, loud mouth, swears, opinions, tattoos, piercings and all. Those friends that I have made who like me because of me will still do so, those who don't...won't. I wouldn't want it any other way.

In high school I was considered weird by a lot of people. I dressed differently (think Clarissa from Nickelodeon's 'Clarissa Explains it All'). I had bright pink Doc Martens before they were cool, I wore platform shoes long before the wedge made it's triumphant return. I was me, totally and utterly me and I didn't care who knew it. I had the most amazing group of friends, all who loved me and didn't care what label was on my jeans. I wasn't an outcast or social pariah, and most people never gave me or my clothes a second thought.

We had a student voice mail system at school and each student was allowed to set up a voice mail box where friends or teachers could reach us and leave us messages (this was before the internet folks). One day a girl named Melissa accidentally left a message for her friend in my mail box. I called her back and let her know. We quickly started messaging back and forth and forming a friendship. I knew who she was, a year ahead of me and one of the "popular preppy kids"; she didn't know who I was. One day we were set to meet up and she didn't show. I got home that night and there was a message on my voice mail from her telling me that she saw me waiting where we were going to meet, took one look at my clothes, realized I was a freak and never wanted to talk to me again. Nice, right?

When Melissa only knew me by my voice on a phone she liked me and we were friends. When she saw me she changed her opinion of me based on how I was dressed. It wasn't devastating or anything like that, but it was typical and it was actually what I was expecting from one of the "popular preppy kids" (I guess I had preconceived - and later confirmed - notions too). Anyway, the point is, in this blogosphere, this arena of mommy bloggers, I don't think I am being myself and this blog isn't really the outlet I had hoped it would be because of that.

So, on to bigger and better things. A new blog where I can rant about my opinions on all subjects that are socially taboo: politics, religion, atheism, discrimination, abortion, corporate greed, feminism, and all things sure to alienate, incite and inflame. I may be a mama, but I still wear some outrageous things and Doc Martens every chance I get. Because if I'm not me then who the hell am I?

Thanks for reading...


Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Time of Our Lives

Today my MOMS Club friends came over for our monthly book club meeting. We were discussing The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer, a book about women who have been out of the work force for about ten years to raise their children and are weighing their usefulness at home now that the kids are in school vs. returning to their dormant careers. The book was horrible and lacked continuity and plot, but the topic was an emotional one for me, and the conversation we had about the book was great.

In high school you think, “this is the time of my life, nothing will ever be greater than this moment, these friends and these memories”. Then you go to college and you think, “now this is it. Living away from my parents, becoming an adult, traveling, learning and meeting people from all walks of life, this is the time of my life.” Then you get married and you think, “this love, this person, this bond, this is the time of my life”. I’ve now come to realize that THIS moment right now, raising my children is truly the time of my life.

To be sure there are major sacrifices to be made when you have kids. Your marriage (at least in my case and that of some of my friends) isn’t the primary focus any more; the kids are. The things you experience with small children in the house is like nothing else on Earth and nothing can prepare you for how miraculous, mystifying, terrifying, stressful, emotional and wonderful it is. Children have a different agenda than adults; their agenda is to have fun, and to be happy. We could learn so much from them. Everything from potty training to learning to ride a bike they learn from you, and it is a chance for you to discover the world all over again.

On top of that you are raising the future of the universe. Will your children grow up to be compassionate, kind, gentle, fierce, angry, content? Will they be a professional athlete, a teacher, a nurse, a senator, a mother, a father, married, single, happy? So much of that depends on you and the job that you do as a parent. This is it folks, your one shot at creating the kind of person you want your child to be and I daresay there is no more important job on Earth.

I know when I am old and gray I will look back on this time as the time of my life. High School was fun, our days as a young married couple were special, but this, this is the time of my life, and I need to remember that and soak it all up. Because, once these days are gone, there is no getting them back, and I know I my only regret in life will be if I don’t do this right and I let it pass me by without enjoying every moment of it. To all you mommies and daddies out there, enjoy the time of your life, because that time is today!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tumbleweeds Are Real

When we pulled up to our house upon our arrival in New Mexico I was delighted to find a small tumbleweed in our back yard! I immediately sent out a text to friends and family about what I always thought was little more than a western legend. I thought for sure that tumbleweeds only existed in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

“Do you really have tumbleweeds down there?” is probably the number one question I get asked about New Mexico. I am here to tell you tumbleweeds are very real, and very unpleasant. Spring in New Mexico means day after day of 30+ miles per hour winds, which pull massive tumbleweeds out of the ground and send them spinning through the city. For some reason tumbleweeds love our front porch and after a big storm we are often unable to leave the house through the front door because these prickly, vicious weeds have barricaded us in.
On the other hand, it is pretty cool to see a weed the size of a Volkswagen go tumbling down the street and you really do feel like you are in the wild, wild west. I’ve been thinking of starting a website selling this mythical creature to the curious and uninitiated. Let me know how many I can sign you up for, I’ve got plenty to share!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Comedy of Errors

Most people over the age of 30 will probably remember when Andrew Dice Clay was one of the filthiest and most controversial comics around. Even I remember him when I was just a little girl and blushing whenever someone said his name because he was supposed to be so dirty. I thought for sure I would get punished just for knowing his name. He’s probably pretty tame by today’s standards, but I digress.

My husband remembers Andrew Dice Clay’s whole “Nursery Rhyme” montage, and for some reason still chuckles about it (look, he grew up in a town of 4,000 people, he didn’t get out much). If you’re not familiar with what I am talking about you can check it out here, but I am warning you to clear the kids from the room before you watch it. Now, you probably have to be an adult to get most of the references, but if a child picks up on one of these lines and starts quoting it in mixed company you won’t be winning any parent of the year awards, which bring me to my point, finally.

My husband, in all his bumpkin good humor thought it would be funny to teach one of these gems to our seven year-old son. Now, as I’ve said before my husband really is a terrific dad and goes above and beyond the call, but sometimes he makes poor judgment calls, and this would be one of them.

The Honeybee has a memory like no other. This kid can watch a TV show once and quote every line from the show the next time it comes on. So, teaching him naughty little nursery rhymes that will quickly get repeated in school is not the most brilliant plan. The one Honeybee glommed onto was this lovely little ditty:

“Jack and Jill went up the hill, each with a buck and a quarter. Jill came down with $2.50. Ohh!”

Honeybee, being the seven year-old that he is, changed the characters in the rhyme to Squidward and SpongeBob, which of course makes it that much funnier. Honeybee has no idea what this means, his teachers, and his friend’s parents of course do. I’m expecting the phone to start ringing any minute now. Oh, and when it does, trust me, Buzzer is going to be answering that one.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mmmmmmmm Monday: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

This cake is really flavorful and moist. I think it rivals any box mix, is just as easy to make, and doesn't require any "unusual" vegan ingredients like an egg replacer. The vinegar may seem strange to those not versed in vegan baking, but the vinegar combined with the baking soda gives some baked goods the lift and fluff that eggs would provide. I promise the cake won't taste tart or vinegary. The ganache is the perfect light frostingy topping for this cake, not too thick, or too sweet.

Chocolate Cake

The Must Haves:

* 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, spelt or whole wheat pastry work best)
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/3 cup oil
* 1 TBSP vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
* 1 cup cold water

The Choose It or Lose Its (choose one, two or none!):

* 1 recipe Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
* Confectioners' Sugar
* Fresh Berries
* Peanut Butter Frosting

How You Do It:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a Bundt pan, set aside.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar and water. Mix until just combined.

3. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Cool on a wire rack. To remove the cake from the pan, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely before frosting. For a layer cake, double the recipe and use 9-inch pans.

5. Put on your string of pearls and serve to the family after a big Sunday dinner.

6. Get down with your bad June Cleaver self.

Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping

The Must Haves:

*1/4 cup soy milk
* 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I cheat and use chips)
* 2 TBSP pure maple syrup

How You Do It:

1. Bring the soymilk to a gentle boil in a small sauce pan. Immediately remove from heat and add the chocolate and maple syrup. Use a rubber heatproof spatula to mix the chocolate until it is fully melted and smooth. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use. (Wait until it is just warm to the touch for a drippy, pretty glaze on your cake, it will set up firm once cooled).

Yield: 1 hell of a cake