Monday, November 29, 2010

Tis the season....

I hope you all had a great long weekend whether that meant TurkeyFest or BlackFridayShoppaPalooza. I had a fantastic five days with my family. The menu for Thanksgiving turned out beautifully. Oh, except for the turkey. I did at one point call the turkey an inappropriate name. The turkey wanted more time. The turkey said, " I am not predictable." The turkey wanted to ease into our relationship. I despise that turkey. BUT, everything else was gorgeous and it is just one more reason I don't really like turkey. But the hours of cooking were worth the 30 minutes of eating. Believe it. And again, apologies to my Mom who happened to be in the kitchen when I upbraided the turkey.

And the weekend also marked the kick-off of holiday decorating. Since my family was in town, we spent yesterday afternoon decorating the house and tree, and talking to MiniMac about going to see Santa. We are members at Atlanta Botanical Garden which  is also a location of interest because we were married there. Santa was visiting yesterday afternoon so we mentioned it to MiniMac multiple times over the past few weeks. Why the prep? Oh, because our son has NO interest in meeting Santa or engaging in parental paparazzi photo sessions with him either. At one point yesterday he indicated he would say hello to him but did not want to sit on his lap. He already wrote him a letter but I could give it to Santa instead. He would get a photo taken if he sat next to me, and I sat next to Santa. I did not have high hopes of a warm engagement and was fine with simply being outside in a gorgeous venue on a beautiful albeit brisk day.

But the introduction did take place and while my son confirmed my presence was of the utmost importance, the conversation between my son and Santa was one of the best conversations I have heard all year.

As we left, MiniMac shook Santa's hand and said, "It was really nice to meet you. Travel safely..." and my heart bloomed with pride. We highlight the importance of manners and communication in our house and to see our son so readily demonstrate this was awesome. I take my tiny son's hand in mine with a giant smile on my face. We walked away and when we were about 25 feet from Santa, my precious son turned around and yelled back at Santa, "Oh, and NO GIRL TOYS."

Thankfully Santa and his elves laughed uproariously. As did MiniMac's uncle and Grandmother. His Mom still has not a single clue where the "no girl toys" concept derived from but something tells me, this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I hope your Thanksgiving is this lively....

My family is here today, my menu is ready, and we are going to have a fantastic Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for, there is not a blog post long enough to demonstrate my gratitude. Be safe and well wherever your holidays finds you. And since I can't send you a cocktail, I can share one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories in the event you need some humor injected into your weekend. 

True Story:

During our sophomore year of college, a girlfriend of mine, KK, went home for a week over Thanksgiving break. Her boyfriend was invited home with her for the holiday. Her parents had agreed to this arrangement only if he stayed in the younger brother's room. Right.

Upon his arrival days before Thanksgiving, he placed his overnight bag and backpack in their entryway. Later, in effort to help him take his bags upstairs, KK picked up his backpack by the bottom. Unfortunately it was only partially zipped and overstuffed with books he would never take one look at during the break. Gravity and weight working against her, the zipper flew open and the contents emptied into the foyer. To which her younger brother, about 12 at the time, spied some contraband and shouted, "MOM, ROB HAS RUBBERS IN HIS BAG." KK was mortified as most 19 year-olds would be. Rob's mortification doubled hers. Her Mom, walking in from the kitchen, spied the bedlam as well and then decided Rob could sleep in the basement.

On Thanksgiving, with a slew of family over for dinner, the group has a great dinner as KK’s Mom and Dad are both fantastic cooks. For the dessert bonanza, her five year old little sister presented a pie she had made as a special surprise. Mom assisted in most of the utensil and ingredient assembly. The 5 y.o. called around the corner to ask the Mom where she could locate the main ingredient, pumpkin, which her Mom said “look for the orange can in the cupboard.” Surprise pie made, she was so proud of her creation. When it was cut open and plated, her Dad was the first to sample. After one bite, the Dad halted all other taste-testers. “Honey, what did you use to make the pie?”
“Whip cream!”
“What else?”
“Can you show me the Pumpkin can?”
All eyes at the table ever so curious….the little sister returns from the kitchen with an empty can. Canned pumpkin not the ONLY orange can in the cupboard. Was the surprise the pie itself? Or was the surprise that her sister had made a pie of wet cat food and covered it with Cool Whip?
Thankfully, after the laughter subsided, there were other pies to eat. At least the spilled rubbers in the foyer were forgotten about...

And finally, after dinner and ready to be strewn about the downstairs den watching football and family games, KK’s Mom opens the basement door to let the dog up who had been sequestered during Thanksgiving dinner revelry and Cat Pie a la mode. The dog races up ever so enthusiastically as the family files downstairs. KK’s Father, first in line, is quick to discover someone didn’t leave the guest bathroom door closed and the dog got into and traipsed the garbage can contents about like tinsel on a tree. He was also the first (of many) to discover that certain visiting holiday guests apparently didn’t learn in college that you flush used condoms down the toilet and DO NOT put them in the garbage can wrapped in tissue.

KK instantly wished they were back at the table eating cat food pie. Rob planned to pack his bags and immediately vacate the household. Nothing like observing evidence of someone's active sex life to combat the tryptophan.

What was KK most thankful for that year? When Thanksgiving ended. And of course, in later years, she could appreciate three very memorable stories all of which summarized by her family as the "Poor Rob" weekend. Even long after Rob was but a memory.

I hope your holiday is just as lively.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walk O' Shame

Back in the day, before I was a wife and mother, I may have had an adventure or two (hundred.) While I was certainly no wild trixie, I was with as much certainty, no daughter of John Winthrop either.

Perchance a few of these adventures caused the inability for me to arrive home safely to my own bed. In college and grad school, I am sure it was primarily from all that studying which led to sleepiness which led to guest over-nighting somewhere. Or it was the cocktails. And the libido. Whichever. Might you too have a memory bank filled with such circumstances? Some memories we reminisce about with a glimmer of joie de vivre. Others, well, more like a going through turbulence on an airplane. You can manage it...but it is not much fun.

The highs and lows of over-nighting which produce the inevitable trajectory back to your own abode. Ahhh, also known as The Walk of Shame. Haven't ever done it? Shine that halo, little angel. You will be one of the few I know.

I was recently chatting with a girlfriend from college. The beauty of good friends, amongst many things, is their ability to recall certain memories of you that you intentionally deleted from both your cortex and your hippocampus. BUT, since such shenanigans are infinitely more humorous to me now, why would I resist sharing? You are right, I won't resist. PS: You have to look at some of your antics and laugh. If you don't, you are likely the only one who has not so in an definitive measure to laugh at myself, here you go:

The Classic Walk of Shame: Sophomore Year of College

My roommate, Action Jackson, and I went to a fraternity formal. We wore ball gowns. We had big hair. (All praise 1990.) We had big fun.

We apparently studied too hard during the day. I got very sleepy at some point. Lights out.

I wake up the next am. In my date's bed. The last time it had been cleaned? Maybe 1980. I am thankfully fully clothed. Royal blue ball gown and all. I actually wore white pantyhose. EGADS. I get shivers thinking about them. Luckily, these were also still on my body. I might have been sleepy but at least I wasn't being a dirty vixen.

Waking up hurts my feelings. I do not feel my best. I feel like a bag of hammers. Must. Exit. IMMEDIATELY. I realize to my dismay, I have no shoes. In the current state, I could not debate the pros and cons of leaving such shoes. Until I recalled the shoes were dyed to match my dress. I can NOT leave blue shoe evidence behind. I search high and low and over many other sleeping bodies. Not a shoe to be seen. I must not tarry.

I haul arse out of there, down stairs, and to the street. I know most of the boys in this fraternity so am highly interested in not being spotted. I get to the street. Nothing says class act like bright blue ball gown with no shoes meandering down the road. I have about 10 fraternities and sororities to pass. MUST MOVE QUICKLY.

As I cross the parking lot, I hear voices exiting the annex where several of the Seniors lived. I duck across the lot hoping the blueness of this dress is so bright that it serves as a distraction from my face. A guy and girl come outside and they are engaged in full on argument. She does not want him to drive her home. He insists. She is mad, he is mad, I am merely dodging bullets here. I scurry, and I do mean scurry, across the street. Seen a rat scurry? This was my method. Only to hear him say in an acid tone, "At least you aren't that girl, walking home BY HERSELF." No one needs a highlighter pen or a spotlight to know that girl he mentions is me.

I tuck my head down and duck in between two buildings. I think I am scot-free when I spy my house nearby. Only to discover, my roommate AND her boyfriend asleep on our daybed in our room. WTF. I quickly change and head to the sleeping dorm but not before seeing this note:

JennyMac: Sorry I left you. You would NOT get up.

drank almost an entire of bottle of vodka. Threw up out T's window. Onto the heads of people below. You actually did an awesome job though singing an entire version of "Blame It On the Rain" by Milli Vanilli. No one believed it was rain. I could not find your shoes. However, someone will. They are bright blue. Don't be mad I left you. T's roommate was pissed you passed out on him and wanted to put a bicycle lock around your neck. I stopped this from happening.  Your BFF, Action Jackson

I promise you NOTHING like this ever happened again. That blue dress went to gown heaven.

The shoes were never recovered. On a post-even visit to that same house, someone asked me if I lost a pair of blue shoes at the formal. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "No. I wasn't wearing blue." Unfortunately, photographic evidence to contrary could not be destroyed. Luckily, there were no pictures of me "sleeping."

AND just to get that image of me in my ugly white pantyhose out of your mind, CONGRATULATIONS to Kristy M. the winner of the Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining Book. Email me and I will mail your book. AND please let us know what time you are serving, we would love to see your feast.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Do these jeans make our closet look fat?

My husband is fully aware I have a proclivity towards shopping. I am not a hang out at the mall type of girl, but I do love fashion. And our closet reflects this or what I call my earnest interest in supporting our economy.  When I first purchased the house, I had one wall of the walk in made into shoe shelves. Beautiful, necessary shoe shelves. About 10 feet high and 10 feet wide. Awesome for me. NOT awesome for the man who would later share that closet. (Clearly, his shoes are not welcome in my shoe shelves.) I have them organized by color, heel height. (Yes, feel free to mock it all you want BUT I know exactly where to find the exact shoe I am looking for, right? Right. Same goes for all the clothes, sorted by color and by sleeve length. NO it is not anal. It is called organized. It might be busy in there but my closet is not going to be a hot mess.)

JohnnyMac has not a single issue with these purchases but years ago began to strongly encourage me to adopt the “one in, one out” policy. My initial response: just because Oprah said it is a good policy, doesn't make it right for everyone! But later, I have responded to this suggestion and have discarded of plenty of things. He said throwing out old lipstick is not the same as one pair of shoes in, one pair of shoes out. I do discard bags of old or unwanted items twice annually, but let us say what he and I consider a “full bag” are not the same thing.

Well, my little brother came in the spring and he loves to team up with JMac and hard time me about my closets. My little brother is very stylish, and also loves to purchase so this is what I call being a hypocrite. He offered to ‘help’ me pare down my closet, especially the shoes. By ‘help’ I imply that he would hold up almost every item of apparel and ask when the last time I wore it. Things not worn in the past six months needed to go. This is not realistic, I asserted. I am not Punky Brewster. I can’t wear 19 items at a time.

As he was pulling things out, I would merely go back and put them in their proper place. And as he is spinning around like a dervish, he discovers this shelf that due to construction, is not immediately visible. On the shelf lies about 30 pairs of jeans. Ironically, I not a frequent jeans wearer but the pairs I have, I love. He called JMac into our room to point out the stash.  For some reason, this was the source of much entertainment for them. Not entertaining like “WOW, you are a denim addict” but more like “WOW, you are a ^#*&^# hoarder.”

Some of these jeans have seen some pretty fantastic days. That is not to be taken lightly. And they all fit, but I have discovered similar to Halloween candy, when I like a little something,  like Earl or Seven, I buy more than needed.  We successfully made additional room in the closet (some of it just moved to one of the other bedroom closets) and a great big bag to donate. I thought to get them both out of my clothes business, I would send them to look at the garage. That turned out worse because the first thing said to me was “ALL of this wrapping paper and bags of ribbon” I offered to make bloody mary’s instead. Bloody Mary’s were a great distraction.

I recently bought a pair of skinny jeans. JMac likes them. I asked if he thought these jeans make our closet look fat. For some reason, he didn’t answer. Must be that his filter for sarcasm was  set to high.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Wonderous World of Haterade

I remember the first time I heard the word Hater. What used to be strictly found in rap songs is now an often heard vocabulary word. Contrary to what might be taught on MTV Cribs, a Hater is not merely someone who envies someone else. A Hater is also someone who just wants to bring people down a notch.

I like to think I could never be such a thing. But I am sure, as with many things, there is sliding scale of Haterville. From someone sweet as candy to the girl that belongs on the Real Housewives of Dirtyville. And as nice as we might be, I think anyone can be susceptible to unsavory behavior from time to time.

And while you aren't quite drinking from the firehose, this is what I like to call having a tiny sip of Haterade. For example: 

You are having a tiny sip of Haterade if you mock Jessica Simpson and her crappy music but still know AND SING all the words to Hit Me Baby One More Time.

Or if you openly criticize people who watch The Hills and The OC but you watch every episode of Gossip Girl AND know all names of all characters.

Ditto if you belittle Harry Potter fans but you yourself are a Twihard.

Or if you can not stand it when people type LOL or LMBO but you LOVE to type OMG and WTF.

Or if you say things like "I can NOT believe any adult would watch High School Musical!" yet you still dance around and sing every word to every song in Grease. Zac Efron is this decade's Danny Zuko. How does that haterade taste?

And you are having a tiny sip of Haterade if you smirk at someone's PRADO bag because its fake, but you bought yours over in Chinatown in NYC for $75.

Or if you are man, lamenting about some "poor musclehead fool" in his "tight tshirt" yet, you go home and stand in front of the mirror flexing, and sucking in your stomach at the same time.  

Or, if you say things like "I can't believe she would date that dolt" knowing you would date him in a hot minute if given the chance.

Or if you roll your eyes in disdain at some woman flashing her ample cleavage, but know full well you have done that before OR would do so frequently if you were built for it.

Or, if you snark at some sassy outfit you see on another woman whilst you and your pals sip your cocktails, and then wear something very similar a week later. Significantly more than a sip of Haterade if you said, "I can't believe she is wearing that..."

Or, if you are a man who loves to yell at the screen during game time about how YOU would NEVER miss that shot/drop that pass/wank that tee shot, yet you pull a ligament doing a simple push-up.

Or, when you give a nonchalant shrug to your neighbor who is ecstatic over the Seven Jeans she bought online for 75% off, and you remark "awww, good for you" but you don't mean it, but then you go home and spend two hours scouring eBay for a similar fabulous deal.

Or, if you despise the office gossip, because gossip is clearly dangerous. But then you think you are only sharing "news" but it is all "news" you preface with "Don't tell anyone I told you this..." 

Or, if you sometimes get a touch sour over your spouse's obsession with sports AND the inordinate amount of time your spouse spends watching/discussing/analyzing relative sporting events, BUT you spend all that time AND more on your shoe purchases, girlfriend chitty-chat, or your blog, well, put down the Haterade.

Better stop now, or I will soon see you snacking on these:

And I am happy to share this post was my first article published by Technorati last week. Thankfully,  Technorati is NOT sipping on haterade. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Are you a hog?

I don’t mean the type chomping on acorns and sauntering through the woods. Let me explain.

I know people who receive things like great treats, awesome deals, information, or fab prizes and they hide those babies under lock and key so they can keep all the goodness to themselves. I know other people who will share whatever they have even if they are down to their last cup of coffee or thumb-sized cookie.  I grew up in a (predominantly) generous family. A lot of the women in my family cook so my history was frequently woven with the sharing of recipes and stories to accompany those recipes. People in my family are also generous with time and what they are willing to invest in other people. This is the model I learned. This is the model I will pass along. I had a previous neighbor who clearly grew up in the household of “share nothing” as if all our resources were precious and it was the Great Depression. No, she was not struggling with finances. She just did not like to share.

Are these behaviors innate? Or are they learned? I am sure you know people who fit into both categories too. The categories I like to title Hoggers and Sharers.  

I think sharing is the best bet. I don’t mean share your knickers or the last bite of pasta on your plate (unless you want to, of course.) I mean the overall general concept of sharing. I think being stingy is par for the course in certain circumstances. Like when you are two years old and haven’t been told yet. I think stingy at the adult level is odd. And sucky.
Listen, if you don’t want to share things with other people, you might have a great reason. My Mom used to hide things from me when I was a kid because well, I liked to explore in her jewelry box and help myself to things I liked. There were many things I liked. I went exploring in her jewelry box often. Perhaps everything fetched out of there did not quite make it back. She declared a brief moratorium on sharing jewelry with JennyMac. But it didn't last because my Mom is a Sharer.

Years ago, I worked with a woman who often brought desserts to the office. By now, you all know I liken myself a baking maven, so I loved seeing (and sampling) her creations. Once for a holiday party, we both made some taste treats well-received by our colleagues. Many people asked for our recipes and once, while sharing mine, she was in earshot.

Her: You just freely give out your recipes?
Me: Yes. (I know I have a weird look on my face as I reply because, after all, the request is for my recipe. Not my liver, or plutonium, or a kilo of heroin.)
Her: That is so generous of you.
Me: I actually got it from a cookbook so….
Her: (whispering conspiratorially) When people ask me for my recipes, I often leave one ingredient out.
Me: Blank stare
Her: Isn’t that coy? She winks.
My mental response: Yes. That is coy. Since apparently coy now means idiotic and juvenile.
Me: (out loud this time) Oh, so you are one of those women?
Her: What women?
Me:  A recipe hog. You don’t want to share the good stuff.
Her: I work really hard on my recipes and I don’t want people copying them.
Me: Good thing Ina Garten doesn’t feel that way! (And then I laughed.)
Her: (Slightly pouty face but thinks I am joking) Those are my recipes!
Me: I totally hear you, Betty Crocker! (I laughed more. And scurried away because I just learned who my least favorite co-worker was: The Hogger.)

Now, if you are hogging Halloween candy, well, that is a different story. I know you are only doing it to protect those around you, whom you love dearly, from getting cavities.