Saturday, January 30, 2010

Take A Bite Of: Chocolate Caramel Doughnut Holes


The mere thought of molten caramel centers buried within a chocolate doughnut hole gives me shivers in all the right ways. Food porn? I am demonstrating. Don't say I never did anything for you. And these goes perfect with a chocolate brown Jimmy Choo bag too. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy every bite. And have a great weekend.

 

Chocolate Caramel Doughnut Holes (makes 28 - 30) 

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for coating
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 28 to 30 store-bought soft caramel squares, unwrapped
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Directions

  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, butter, and eggs until thoroughly combined. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until a smooth dough forms.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, pat dough flat and lightly flour. Roll out dough to a 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter (to lift rounds from work surface, use a thin spatula). Reroll and cut scraps. 
  3. Place a caramel in the center of each round, pinch dough closed around it, and gently roll into a smooth ball.
  4. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a wide shallow bowl with 1 inch sugar. In a large heavy pot, heat 4 inches oil until it registers 350 degrees on a candy thermometer. In batches of 4, fry doughnuts 5 minutes, turning once with a slotted spoon and adjusting heat as needed. Transfer doughnuts to prepared sheet; let rest 4 minutes. Roll in sugar to coat. Serve immediately. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

I want to rock and roll all night and party everyday...

Why? Because we actually did celebrate my blog birthday last night which included me having a cocktail around 5 p.m. (which I don't do) and another right after (which I also don't normally do especially on a school night.) This evolved into dance party and well...I have a litany of meetings today but oh, celebrating is just so good.

And my Hub who is a detached member of this family's blog related antics brought gorgeous flowers and even more gorgeous wine home to celebrate. Now that is a partner in crime. Have I ever bought him a trinket to celebrate, say, being 4 under par? No. But I will reconsider going forward.

And one of my fantastic brothers rolls in tonight for a weekend of good fun. Ergo, I will be unplugged all weekend.

Thank you for all the fab blog love yesterday and good luck to all those entering the giveaway. And the primary reason I want to rock and roll all night, and party everyday? Besides the rare opportunity to quote KISS, it is because of yesterday's party and you all as the the best guests. 

If you have your party shoes on, go read yesterday's post and come to the fete.  Have a fantastic weekend. See you tomorrow.

PS: Blogger is having technical issues moderating comments. Or, Blogger just wants the Choo. I am receiving this error message: error message: bX-i877yt  problem: uri: /moderate-comments. Hopefully it is resolved soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jimmy Choo and cocktails too...

Is singing Happy Blog Birthday to yourself as much fun as having a party? Non. So, let's have a soiree as today my blog celebrates its birthday. Cocktails? Certainly. Ass-shaking music? Would you expect anything less? Oh, and the party favor at this bash is delicious.

The past year of blogging has been amazing for me and the hidden surprise of all of the great people I would "meet" through this process has been phenomenal. Thank you seems inadequate for the tremendous interest and support but thank you. Very, very much.

And when I get love, I give love.

So as a way of celebrating, I am hosting a giveaway. I wanted to send wine but given the bevy of state regulations on shipping alcohol, my initial plan was foiled. So I had to brainstorm.

I am a handbag aficionada. Mine stand like gorgeous toy soldiers on all the upper shelves of our closet. A recent "closet policy" was suggested to me  which would include "one in, one out." He whom suggested this knows it will never be fully adopted. But I can, in a narrow beam of light, see his point.


I bought this fabulous chocolate brown Jimmy Choo Ramona bag to add to my collection. Jimmy Choo, I heart you. 

And as a token of appreciation for everyone who has joined me for the past year and my blatant love of couture, this bag is going to find a new home.

Dames, might you be interested in a little Jimmy Choo? And Gentlemen, don't consider yourself excluded, you might have someone in mind that would love this as a gift. Call it a fabulous Valentine. 

Whomever is selected from the magic hat, you can revel in its gorgeousness, you can tote it on your arm or you can sell it and give the money to charity. Your choice. 

Are you game? 
Contest begins today and ends 2.10.2010. 

First entry: You have to be a follower of my blog and leave a comment.

Additional entry love:

1. Post the giveaway with a link back to my blog. Leave me your post link.
2. Become a Facebook Fan.  It is this easy. 
3. Tweetle-dee-dee about the giveaway on Twitter. You can find me at: @dearjennymac.

Good luck to everyone. Thank you for coming to the party and celebrating my blog's first birthday.  And thank you SO MUCH for a great year. Have a fabulous day. I will certainly be celebrating with a cocktail tonight. 




And for the love of all things holy, I only wish Jimmy Choo or Tamara Mellon asked me to do this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why my friends from NYC won't come to Georgia...

I am not from the South but living here for over a decade, I appreciate many elements of this region and the amiable weather and southern hospitality are primary on the list.

So when I see this photograph while reading the paper one day, and subsequently receive an email about it, well, I had little reply. The email from an old friend and scribe in Manhattan, typed with as much humor blended into belittling as doable, asked me if this event was on my 2010 calendar.  The subject line read: Another justification for avoiding the South. I am sure he meant it in jest.





When I viewed the photo again, I replied, "Maybe she was pushed?"

No, in fact, she was not. But bless your heart Barbara "Redneck Queen" Bailey for being a fierce competitor. If you are going to enter the Mud Pit Belly Flop contest at the Summer Redneck Games, it is good to walk away the champion.  And she has won this contest many times.

I debated perhaps this photo was snapped elsewhere since I see no boiled peanuts in the picture. But alas, the Summer Redneck Games take place in East Dublin, Georgia.  For the record, I don't even know where East Dublin, Georgia is or at least I didn't until I saw this photo. But good for you East Dublin, it can't always center on football in this state.

Thanks New York Times for your effort to boost the tourism in Georgia.

Or the opposite.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All felt up and no place to go...

At a gorgeous restaurant recently, I was enjoying lunch with some friends. Enroute to the powder room, I ran into a woman I used to work with years ago. Older than me by a decade or so, Mrs. W was an executive at the company. And a great person to work with because she was cutting edge, very intelligent, and not without a little sass. These being attributes I admire.

We chit chat for a several minutes before I step into a stall. When I exit the stall, I am reminded that yes, in fact, she is still cutting edge and sassy. Quite.

As I open the door and step back into the sink area, she says, “ I want to show you something.”

And she turns to me with shirt up and her chest fully exposed. Wait. I’m not Joe Francis.
She says, “ I got implants. What do you think?”

My thoughts form a triad:
1. Would a balcony in New Orleans perhaps be a better setting for this?
2. You must be drunk.
3. And I have no third thought because I am still pondering my first two thoughts.

She is very giddy. Post-divorce, her implants were a small gift to herself. And by small I mean not at all small.  She said, "Aren't they great? I am showing everyone."


I applaud liberation and celebration. She, a fan of both as well as imitation. But good for her. Did I need to see them ? I assure you I did not. I am not a prude by any means, by maybe I have a “I don’t need to see the knockers” clause.
I would never peg her a conservative but flashing me in a bathroom when I haven't seen her in years was also highly unpredictable. I was happy for her that she was so happy.  And they looked like a very well done cosmetic surgery should. The entire conversation occurs with her still defrocked and alternating her gaze between me and the mirror as she admires the surgeon’s handiwork.

Ok, maybe we can work in a little “Button Up” time into our conversation.

And then she says, “They feel completely real. Go ahead, feel them.”
“I think I will pass.”
“You must. How else will you know how real they feel?” she asks.

“I know what real boobs feel like because I have two of my own. Look, I will give mine a quick pat just for the sake of camaraderie.”

She laughs. And with some enthusiasm, gives her a pretty good maul. Reminded me a tiny bit of a kitty with a new toy.  Then another patron walks in the bathroom and is a bit confounded like she just walked into The Spearmint Rhino at shift change.

Mrs. W laughs and says, “Oh come in. I am just showing off my new present.” The other patron's level of comfort doesn’t improve by any means.
I say, "Well, maybe you can put those big girls under wraps. Because now we are all felt up and no place to go but back to work."

And as much as my portfolio of life experiences lacks the entry “felt up former co-worker in a bathroom” I am glad I opted out.  She on the other hand, bounded out of there on cloud nine. Either that, or just significantly air lifted due to new loftiness.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monstered

My older brother, Tumbleweed (named for his extensive and ongoing travel) was here for almost a week over Thanksgiving. During that time, my car had a bit of an iDrive mishap and had to go the dealership. No problem, they take great care of their customers and gave us a loaner car. To that loaner car the following occurred:
 
TW and I take MiniMac on an outing. During that outing, I need to leave to pick something up. There is a secret surprise waiting for me in the car which I discover in the most unpleasant of fashions. A full and open can of Monster, my brother’s drink of choice, is sitting on the floorboard of the passenger side.  How was the surprise revealed? When I hit a bump and the can of monster exploded like a roman candle. Do you know this drink? It of the high caffeine content and the sickly sweet scent? What does it smell like? Like how I imagine a Chuck Trunks picture might.

As I am attempting to pick up the spouting drink and in the process, receiving more than a splash on me, my brother is repeatedly texting me to say “Watch the drink on the floor. Sorry!”

When I return to the outing, having mopped up what I could and deciding the floor mats are a lost cause, he apologizes to which I respond, “Ahhh. Worry not. I cleaned it up and what is done, is done.”

My brother eyes me suspiciously as perhaps he expected a different response. One clarification about our family: We are clean car people. You know how some people have a car serving as a library, or a closet, or a trash can, or all three?  That is not us.  In fact, certain people in our family have mini dusters in glove compartments to wipe down the dash while sitting at red lights. So this historical fact, combined with the revelation that, well, my brother has known me a long, long time and I am not exactly laid back. 

He hears my response to the effervescent Monster in the vehicle, and after processing that response in just a minor incredulous way, says, “WOW. You have certainly changed since having the wee baby.” I laughed like I have all the carefree attitude in the world at my fingertips.

Secret: It wasn’t our car.

When I returned the car to the dealership I let them know there was a spill on the passenger floorboard. The tech asked me if it was a little or a lot. I said, “Most of it cleaned up but the floorboards, yes, still retaining a splash. Or two. Or a half gallon.

During Christmas, older brother is back in town to visit. We go on another outing. As we return to the car from said outing, he kicks over his full and open can of Monster.
He says, “Damn, I just kicked this over. “
Me: Is it bad?
Him: It’s just a splash.
Me: Ok.

Wait, I know what that means.
Me: How big of a splash?
Him: Dime size???
Me: (After looking at my brother wading around in the pool of Monster on the floor) say: Are you $#^@#  nuts? Dime size according to Paul Bunyan?!?!”

He laughs. And as I began to gag from the marshmallow-peeps-dipped-in-cotton-candy smell, I say, "Even MiniMac doesn’t spill that much in the car. MONSTER BAN IN FULL EFFECT."
Him: At least it was less than the “splash” you disclosed to the dealership.
Touche.

One thing my brother learned: The smell of Monster doesn’t dissipate for DAYS and instead, lingers there in its noxiousness. A smell so ill even ants won’t come near it.  


Why did he just learn this: Because he wouldn’t dream of leaving full and open cans of Monster in his own car.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Take A Bite Of: Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches


It  is cold out.  You deserve a treat for enduring all this weather, right? And maybe your a little bit hungry for trouble. I have some sitting on this plate, just for you. My excuse is that  they just look so pretty, and once I make them, they are too good to resist. Chocolate makes everyone happier...so dig in. Another great idea from Martha.  Couldn't be easier and ready in minutes. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy every bite.

Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches (serves four...or two..or maybe just you.)  
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 large slices challah or Italian Bread, (cut 3/4 inch thick)
  • 4 ounces thin semisweet chocolate bar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Directions:
  1. In a large, shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk; set aside.
  2. Form two sandwiches with the bread and chocolate (break chocolate as necessary to cover bread without extending over edges); dip both sides of sandwiches in egg mixture to coat.
  3. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat; transfer sandwiches to skillet. Cook, pressing occasionally with a spatula, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Cut in half, and dust with confectioners'; sugar before serving.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Someone from Wales can shove it...

I love mornings as previously professed. This is evident by how much is accomplished by 9 am in our house including my early morning posts. And, as many of you know, I am a 6 day a week post girl. So when I didn’t have something up yesterday I receive this text: Your blog is not updated, is everything ok?

I typically get ready for a day at the office after MiniMac is up, fed, and out the door. I feel like this precludes me from getting ready twice. Although, it is not as if we are having Animal House style food-fights in the mornings so I am not sure from where this stems. But a funny thing happened on the way to the blog post yesterday morning.

I get up early and decide to get ready. Fully done up, I get MiniMac up and we start our morning with all kinds of goodness and smiles. Breakfast used to be an easy situation in our house, as our son has a more discerning palate than Frank Bruni, he only eats about five breakfast items. This makes choices easy. However, much like Frank Bruni, he has begin to enjoy a long and leisurely meal which has turned breakfast into a one hour process on occasion. Our child is long and skinny so calorie reduction is never an interest of ours. Eat little man, eat.

Today, we sit down to breakfast per usual. In the blink of an eye, things go sideways. For some reason, applesauce in a bowl, ready for his attention, is instead hurtled towards me. This hasn’t happened since MiniMac was about 9 months old and while I understood it then, I can honestly say I am not a big fan now. Apparently, he was letting me know he did not want applesauce this morning. And since I laughed in the face of the myth of the “Terrible Twos”, it has been jolting to discover spending just a few days with a newly appointed three year old has already proven more challenging than spending about 300 days with a two year old.

So as applesauce splatters on my freshly coiffed hair and bathrobe, I think to myself, this isn’t going to work for me. And in my surprise, I have words with him which include “We don’t do that…” followed by “and that is not cool, MiniMac.” As if my son now speaks in the lexicon of Fonzie.

My statement to him results in crocodile tears (none too silent either) and a trip to his room.
It is not even 7:30 am.

Where is JohnnyMac? Upstairs sleeping or hiding. And smart enough to know coming within 10 feet of a crying food-throwing toddler is not a mood elevator especially when morning time is not highly pleasant for JohnnyMac aka Grumplesaurus Rex.

I basically restart the morning and within minutes of my child’s return upstairs, he is happily eating his remaining applesauce. And then, he accidentally topples an entire glass of Odwalla SuperFood. Do you know this SuperFood? Bright green and not something your child can soak in before he goes to school.

Children spill. Not a problem. But we go back downstairs to undress, wash off, redress.

In the interest of time, I had to make choices. Shall I post or perhaps, actually go to work and work. Work wins, after all, my salary from blogging to date is $17.94 and some free tshirts and POM juice. JohnnyMac tags into the ring and I attempt to quickly correct my applesauce conditioning treatment.

I really came to work with potential remnants of applesauce in my hair? I will never tell.

Once in the car, I do what I often do when I want to remember freedom and mornings of peaceful existence. I flip through my iPod, find a very child-inappropriate song, turn the volume up to a point of potential auditory nerve damage and pretend its FlyGirl audition day on In Living Color.

All is well that ends well. But for the record, whomever in Wales in the 19th century coined the expression an apple a day… can shove it. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So, Jimmy Buffett walks into a bar...

My parents gave me some surprising news my freshman year of college. My Mom and Dad were moving. And not to a house across town either. [Point of clarification: I have two Dads. My Father (retired police officer) and my StepDad who is referred to as SD or Dad.] My Mom and Dad were moving to the great frontier: Alaska. I am sorry...what's that you say? Yes. Alaska. This photo is an aerial view of where they lived. The biggest import /export point on the entire Western Seaboard.

That following summer, I returned to our house in Seattle. By myself. The summer without my parents was not comprised of raging keggers and frolicking in the hot tub either. I missed them and didn't actually enjoy staying in an empty house. Foolish, foolish girl.

So the summer after my sophomore year, I accepted the invitation to brave it in Alaska for three months. My Mom and I literally passed each other in the atmosphere as she flew to Seattle the same day I flew to Alaska. First to Anchorage, and then three more hours on a small plane to the island my parents were living on.

When I arrived, I was shell shocked. Both gorgeous in its beauty and more desolate than anything I had ever seen; the Aleutian Islands are as phenomenal in their topography as they are bleak in their social and cosmopolitan offerings. While I might like all kinds of perfume and pretty clothes, I am also not a priss. Big coats and boots the name of the game? I am in.

My SD picked me up at the airport with very interesting news.  Jimmy Buffett was in town. Jimmy Buffett on this tiny island was like a figurative needle in a very wild haystack. But it was true. He was researching for a book he would later publish titled Where is Joe Merchant? And he was performing that night at one of the rowdiest bars in the United States, The Elbow Room.

We take all my luggage home and after the quickest of turnarounds, we head out for a night on the town. Being all of 18 at this time, I am ballsy at dinner and order a cocktail. I wait to see if my SD is going to put the foot down like I KNOW my Mom would. He does not. I think he is super cool. He is secretly laughing inside because I ordered a White Russian. I will likely never get drunk from it. And to me, after a semester of drinking Natty Light and Flaming Doctor Peppers, I thought a White Russian was the epitome of sophistication.

We phone my Mom in Seattle prior to going to the bar. She is mortified. She does not like the idea of her precious child within 100 yards of such a watering hole. Why? Because in addition to having a very low surplus of fashionable heels, this island also has a very low surplus of young college-age women. She perhaps attempts to put her foot down. Good luck. That foot in Seattle was a thousand miles away from me. Put it down all you want, sugar! I am going to The Elbow Room!

Before entering the bar, my SD says, "I don't care if you have a few beers but you don't need to talk to a single man in this bar, and none of them better speak to you." Did my SD not realize that college was a wonderland of opportunity to practice certain skills? I mean, in addition to increasing my base of valuable knowledge, I was becoming quite adept at how to drink beer and talk to boys? But he meant business. And rightfully so.Once inside, I changed my tune. From the outside, an unassuming beat up old blue shack. This is an actual picture. Inside, it was like Roadhouse. Only less tame. When I asked the giant man behind the bar for a White Russian, he said, "Sure sweetheart." Then laughed. Then place a bottle of Bud in front of me. I knew better than to toss my hair and sass.

The bar was filled with the most motley of crews, peppered with East Coast based CEOs in town on business, family men working hard towards their children's futures, college boys spending the summer on fishing boats, and more than a light dusting of convicts. I stayed glued to my SD's side the entire night.

But listening to Jimmy Buffett play from only 3 feet away, in a bar with about 150 other people, on a remote island in Alaska was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I mean besides getting to have a cocktail with my Dad when I was not quite 21. Oh, the liberation.

Leaving that night my thought: THIS PLACE ROCKS. THIS IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING SUMMER. Into the wild...nothing quite like it.

And today is my SD's birthday. Some of the greatest memories of my life involve you and when I said at ten years old that one of the best gifts I ever got was you as a second dad, I still mean it today. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First you put the chickie in the da oven

I absolutely love to cook. I adore cookbooks and my spice rack rivals Emerils (sorry JohnnyMac there is no remaning space in that pantry for anything you might want.) Dinner parties are one of my favorite things to host and the number of people attending never makes me flinch.

And this past weekend, as I simultaneously made a three layer cake, frosting for said cake, strawberry-mascarpone pizza, and piped filling into deviled eggs (according to my little brother, the hors d'ouvres that is making a comeback) I thought not only how great it was my Mom is such an awesome sous chef as I was in the "please sift this..." and "please simmer this..." frame of mind, but also that I have come a long, long way in the kitchen. 

Once in high school, I attempted French Toast. I emulated steps I had many times witnessed in our kitchen. Egg, milk, mix, dip. Place bread in the pan. Except I left it in the pan. For apparently about 10 minutes too long. Smoking pan not a signal? Non. And once I removed the single piece of French toast or French Soot  as it was in this case, there remained a perfect black outline of the bread. A permanent scar and the reason my Mom told me to take a long vacation from her domain.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I lived in our house in Seattle. Alone. My parents had moved to Alaska but kept our house in Seattle. Orphaned for the summer, I survived on fruit and cereal for three months. A male friend called one night and offered to come over for dinner. How tricky, you rogue. It is called inviting yourself. 

I assured him I had no culinary skills and doubted he had a palate for Cream of Wheat. He laughed and tried to coax me in his foxy voice saying I could just make whatever I knew how. A good listener? No because clearly I just told him. So when he arrived I gave him red Kool Aid and a bowl of popcorn. Did it matter? No. Because had I realized at the time his primary objective I could have just stood at the door in a nurse’s uniform holding a 12 pack. Silly boy. Going hungry is just what you get.

I attempted only minor nibbles for a long span of years ahead.  Apparently I thought healthy living included hundreds of scrambled egg whites (microwave version), chips and salsa which I ate religiously, protein shakes, and vitamins. Oh, and the occasional splash of alcohol which was likely Keystone Light and Vodka Lemonade back then.

One day in grad school, I flipped through a food mag at the grocery. I saw the most amazing recipe that reminded me of this incredible dish my Mom makes. I bought the mag and crafted a plan. I would make dinner for this boy I was fraternizing with at the time. Cracked Pepper Linguine? That can make any man’s mouth dance.

The recipe was simple and straightforward. Upon his arrival to my abode, he commented that it smelled fantastic. I appreciate that this is now a cautionary tale. For the neophyte cook, the recipe has a definitive function which is why it is called THE RECIPE and not “Notes from the Theater of Improv.” I didn’t realize that “cracked pepper” and “ground pepper” are not to be used in lieu of one another in the same quantities. Uh oh. And since I didn’t know, how could I have warned my dinner guest?

One bite in and his face turned quite red. Being as courteous as possible, he said, “Wow, that is very peppery.” And then I tasted it. Spitting it on the plate was a serious temptation.  One pound of pepper for one pound of pasta? I will pass but it was too late.  Since the food had to be thrown out, I offered to at least serve the herbed bread I made. I placed it under the broiler…and just a wee bit too close so the bread was almost touching the broiler element. Which heated it up alright. And then caught it on fire. Fire extinguisher and garlic flavored coal do not a dinner make. The muppetized Swedish Chef wouldn't have blundered as much.


Take out? Certainly. My inner Giada de Laurentiis could slumber for another day. And when I finally did start cooking and really learning about cooking, I can only look back on these mistakes and laugh. And I have never caught food on fire since. At least not unintentionally.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's a big day....


I knew you were stirring about 12 hours after conception. How did I know? It is a puzzle. It is similar to waking up one day speaking fluent French when you had never before heard a word of it whispered. But I did know and as my body made way for you, I recognized I was approaching what would be the most important job I ever have.

Everyday as you grew and swam inside my tummy I committed to many things. One of those things was I read out loud to you everyday. I started at the beginning of The New York Times Complete Book of Knowledge and read you stories about the history of rock and roll, ballet, economics, modern science. The second thing was everyday, I put headphones on that growing abdomen and played you all of my favorite songs. (Sorry about the Ludacris song that slipped in the mix. That’s not appropriate for babies.) And I wonder if these daily acts influenced your strong proclivity towards words and music. And might explain how in a perfectly normal fashion you said the word paleontologist yesterday, when you were still two.

And in your first minutes of life as we held you, you looked right in Daddy’s eyes. Having spent limited time with babies before you came, we couldn’t believe how small and fragile you were. Or that we made you. And here was something no two other people could create. And there you were, and the minute you began to unfurl your happiness into the world around us, I knew I wasn’t ever going to be the same.

I have been fortunate to be successful at many things I have tried. And the things I am not highly successful at i.e. beating Daddy at golf or surfing do not keep me from trying.

But the thing I want to be the most successful at is you. Being a Mom was a great aspiration but I never dreamed of fluffy wedding gowns and white picket fences as a girl. I wanted to know how to kick a soccer ball further and how to perfectly lip sync to Madonna. Oh, and how to argue effectively. You’ll see. But getting to know you has given me reason to really evaluate myself, and ask what kind of leader I will be to you. I am primarily good. I have responded with instincts I didn’t know I had. I have displayed patience that baffles my entire family. But they know the reason is you. But you bring goodness that is pure and true to light. But I am far from perfect. And in my life, I have been impatient more often than I should. And I have been unkind and ill-tempered at times. That is why I hope you only inherited certain parts of me. (And certain parts of Daddy while we on the subject.)

I made you a list and since you are turning three today, it is still early enough for you to select only the good qualities and positive influences we can share and discard the other.

Please inherit from Mom:
Sense of: humor, adventure, loyalty, protectiveness of others
Love of: music, athletics, laughter, travel, reading, cooking, and singing.
Interest in: education, diversity and culture, social issues, charity/philanthropy
Interest in style
Interest in fitness
Amazing memory
Dancing skills
Genetics that make Grammy look like she is my sister
Appropriately placed sarcasm

Please do not inherit from Mom:
Impatience
Favored use of the F word
Interest in being right
Interest in debating (which is a nice word for arguing)
Interest in Rap Music (unless it's old school)
Interest in negotiating. Everything. (Or do inherit this and do NOT attempt to use this skill on me OR Daddy. Your grandparents can fend for themselves and thus are fair game.)
Interest in finding loopholes to get around rules
Interest in acceleration especially in vehicles
Amazing memory you will attempt to use against me at some point
Interest in frozen twinkies. They are good but actually disgusting.
Sissy scream upon seeing a snake
 
Biting sarcasm
Smart-assery (There is a difference between sarcasm and smart-assery.) 

Please inherit from Dad:
Amazing golf skills
Ultra-high metabolism
Amazing eye color (yours look like mine at times, and his at times)
Thoughtfulness
Intelligence
Flexibility
Tolerance for change
Emotional fortitude
Attention to detail
Pragmatic approach to all things
Vast interest in the world and seeing many parts of it

Please do NOT inherit from Dad:
Impatience
Morning grumpiness and when I say morning I mean ALL morning
Facial expressions that do not hide true feelings especially when those feelings are not nice
Poor, poor dancing skills
Hatred of making the bed every day
Fairly high interest in Tequila
Over-zealous interest in Vegas


It is a rather slight list, my little love. And quite workable I hope.
Thank you for being the best reason in the world to want to be a better person and an amazing Mom. I will do my earnest best to meet those goals.

Happy 3rd birthday. We love you. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A trail of condom crumbs

During the first semester of college. I thought it wise and bright to invite my boyfriend to come home with me for a little weekend visit with my parents. The boyfriend of the infamous beer bong.  Nice. During that weekend, the following mishap took place.

One night after dinner, we sat around chatting with my parents and a good friend of my Dad’s named Jeff.  Jeff lived near us and was taking a night off while his wife was home with their five children.  As we wrap up our night, he hits the lav before departing. I take BeerBongMaker (BBM) out into our family room to watch a movie and minutes later we hear my mom erupt.

She is calling my Dad in what I would classify as an alarmed panic to come down the main hall toward their room. He, perplexed, makes haste in getting there. I tell BBM to wait there and I rush off to the plight.

They stand in the hall which leads to their room, my room, and the main bathroom. My Mom is pointing to an item on the carpet. My Dad looks at it a moment before he picks it up. It is a fully packaged unused condom. She knows it does not belong to my Dad.

Mom: That has to be Jeff’s. He just came from the master bathroom.
Dad: Well….
Mom: Why in the world would Jeff have a condom? His wife had a hysterectomy.
Pause
She: Oh no…do you think Jeff is cheating on his wife?!?
My Dad is tres uncomfortable as this unfolds. It is HIGHLY unlikely that Jeff is using condoms as he already has five children (and clearly doesn’t know how to use one) and his wife can no longer get pregnant.

Me: Silence is golden. Because my Dad now has an impression that is highly inaccurate.

It does not occur to my Mom for a nanosecond of time there are other potential and highly viable candidates for Owner of the Condom. One of those candidates sitting in our family room as this melee unravels.

Mom: You have to talk to him about this. I can’t imagine why he would have this with him?
Dad: Ok. LONG PAUSE during which he avoids eye contact with both of us. No one needs Colombo to figure out this mystery. 

I slink back to movie watching and biting my tongue before turning to BBM and whispering “You brought condoms to my parents house?!?!?! AND dropped one outside my bedroom?!?!?!! Excellent work, Hansel."

A multitude of  other comments were also shared at that time too including things like "you presumptive jackass" and "this is your idea of a great location?". All under my breath and all carrying the promise there would be no condom equipped activity in my parents house. Or perhaps ever.

His response, "How was I supposed to know?"
COMMON __________ SENSE?

We were NOT doing something that required condoms. And we were certainly NOT going to do something that did require them at my PARENTS house. But before I, all comfy in my glass palace, throw stones; I didn't hesitate to accept his beer bong gift now did I. Nor did I refrain from using it to consume dozens of ounces of Killians or PBR. Way to set the bar high for yourself, SassyAss.

Later, my Mom is actually quite disturbed by the previous scenario. Shall I walk the road of justice and tell her that there is a slight and ever so tiny chance that it was NOT Jeff’s? Or do I merely retreat like an 18 year old scaredy-cat because my parents are already on edge about the beer bong and this kid? Do I need to lay additional foundation for his homicide? Or can I hope for the best that it is all forgotten about in a day or two when I am back at the University safely tucked among my biology textbook and cozy dorm room.  And potentially no longer with a boyfriend. 

As you can imagine, Scaredy Cat conquered. My Dad knew all along but we have never discussed it because I was not about to tell him the condoms were in vain and were not even remotely part of my program. Not a conversation I wanted to have with Dad at 18. or 28. Or 38 for that matter. (He won't read this.) But I did eventually tell my Mom. Or at least I think I did. Or I wrote a blog post about it and look, the truth has been set free. And since she just flew in town last night for MiniMac's upcoming birthday, I can apologize in person if in fact, I had not shared this tidbit until now.

Is it too late to apologize to Jeff?


Update at 10 am: My Mom minutes ago admitted she laughed her arse off reading this...and then told me she did in fact NOT know and now it is she who should apologize to Jeff.

Double sorry Jeff!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A practical application of Newton's third law of motion.

The world is full of sinners and saints. Hopefully I fit somewhere in between (and closer to the saint end of the spectrum, I am certain.) And as much as I do love good mockery of jackasses, I also love stories of human compassion and goodness which do exist if you look.

Here are two examples:

MiniMac and I were taking a sprint around Piedmont Park. It was a beautiful and warm day so after visiting the Farmer's Market held there every Saturday, we venture off to the sand volleyball courts to run and play.

A few minutes into our fun, a man is quickly approaching and asks if I am JennyMac. I am.
"You dropped this on the other side of the park," he says as he hands me my wallet. I hadn't realized that it fell out of the Bugaboo while shifting things around to accomodate Farmer's Market purchases. He spent 30 minutes trying to find me. I was so grateful I wanted to hug him. I thanked him profusely and thanks to him, I didn't have a much more challenging day. Its one thing to hand something to someone who dropped it unknowingly. Its another to spend 30 minutes trying to scan a park using only a driver's licence picture to locate someone who you know will be very unhappy and potentially distressed to discover their wallet missing. The kindness of strangers, not to be overlooked.

The second example happened last week. Remember this day?  Well, I didn't get my glass of wine in a timely fashion at the end of that day. Why? Because, after leaving the office and heading to the gym I got a flat tire. Not a partially deflated flat but a full flat punctured by a large steel eye screw.

I discovered this flat tire at 4:45 pm at one of the busiest intersection in Atlanta of Piedmont/Lenox/RoswellRd/400. Anyone who knows this terrain knows you don't want a flat tire here at ANY time let alone 4:45 pm. I am able to hobble into a driveway near the front of the building and push the SOS button inside the car.  As I am waiting outside with my hazards on, not one or two or three people stopped to see if I needed help. TEN people stopped to see if I needed help. Mind you, it was 22 degrees out.  22 degrees seems like an airtight alibi for not walking across a parking lot to see if someone needed help. But they all did it.

The day ended with a replaced tire, after not too much further delay, a safe ride home, and finally that long-awaited glass of Cabernet.

Kindness of strangers, again, not to be overlooked.

Which is why my practical application of Newton's third law of motion is that for every d-bag action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Always tip your server

Since JohnnyMac is an avid golfer, making as many attempts to keep his 7 handicap as feasible, the visits to the course are fairly regular during what he considers warm months. In Atlanta, that is 9 out of 12. Typically, his golf outings lack any sort of scintillating detail. However, our friend Big Leaguer, also an avid golfer, recently shared this precious little tale. Perhaps golf can be sordid after all.

Big Leaguer and some of his wolf pack went to Florida for a little man time and back to back days of golf. These are not 20 year olds either. The first night, they went to Hooters for dinner. Oh, I assure you it is because of those incredibly delicious wings. Mmm hmmmm.
After enjoying, oh, I am guessing about the 3rd round of beers, one of the quartet got a bit surly when he got his  second order of wings. It seems he ordered twelve wings, and the server only brought him ten. He summoned her back to the table, all the while, giving her a little attitude.

Been to Hooters? These dames deal with all kinds of men. From the normal guy to the Eminem-stylin' jackass. I don't even go there and I know better then to give them attitude.

So Surly proceeds to upbraid her for an unnecessary amount of time. And counts each wing outloud as if she needed the extra help.

You want your extra wings, she asks.

YES I DO, Surly replies, extra hot.

My pleasure.

So shortly, she brings him not just two additional but an entire basket of wings. Extra hot, the way he asked. Which he consumes with giddy delight. They finish out their evening and go home for some rest before the early morning tee time at a prominent golf course.

The next morning, Surly feels a little off and assumes it is because of the beer. Perhaps. But the level of intake was fairly modest.

Out on the course, he feels a rumble. They get through two holes and he feels another rumble. He proceeds to lay down. On the golf course. And then he hurls. On the golf course.

All kinds of boyish pandemonium breaks out because men would never fret over or soothe a sickly friend like women do. Never.

Surly must leave to avoid further mockery and to freshen up. He doesn't quite make it off the course before he is sick again. He then disappears.

Hours later, the men hunt him down. Laying down on the floor in the men's locker room. Not a bench but the floor. Clad only in a golf towel.

Have you seen a golf towel? Oh, they are tiny. And even more so when draped across the southpark of a large man.

WTF is wrong with you, they ask (Male dialogue often free of any unnecessary niceties.)

He replies that he doesn't feel well.

And where the F are your clothes?

In the garbage.

Why?

Long pause.
Because while I was barfing, I sh*t my pants.

He spent three days in bed. Well, either in bed or in the bathroom alternating between heads and tails. Oh, he just had to speak up about the two missing wings, didnt he? Just had to count out his shortchanged plate for her on his chicken wing abacus.

Hmmmm. Let's review:

1. Don't be rude to a server.
2. Especially one very skilled at handling jerk offs.
3. Even more so when she is one handling your food.
4. Especially when your food contains spicy condiments and a blanket of
heinous orange sauce which can hide or mask a multitude of other things
5.
Unless, of course, you too would enjoy the legend that
could precede you about the guy who shat his pants on the golf course.


And who knows what that gal may have added to those wings. Maybe a little extra tabasco. Maybe some jalapeno sauce. Maybe some urinal cake. Maybe some cockroach.

Who's to say, but this is you why you give tip, not lip, to your waitstaff.



Monday, January 11, 2010

Copper Tone

A few years ago my hair styling guru took a very long vacation which forced me against my will to find another stylist. Oh, it may be immaterial to some but who cuts the coiffure is an issue of matter to me. I went to the most popular man in the place and he was fabulous with a pair of shears even if each haircut dominated the entire morning because he was a frequent-pause-to-tell-a-story type of guy. I just made sure that I quickly accepted that my 45 minute slot would NEVER finish in under 90 minutes. Never.

Even though I missed my former stylist and pined for his return, the replacement soon created stylist-client pleasant bliss. Until the incident.

I have long locks. I have hair shorn above the ear (Dorothy Hamill phase but then again in graduate school when a smooth talking and uber-sexy Italian man in London talked me into it….I didn't love the haircut but oh how I loooooved the haircut provider). JohnnyMac is not obsessed with hair and while I am sure he prefers it long, he is a modern man and realizes its my hair and I shall do with it what I like. And since I already live in his cave, the long hair is merely for aesthetics and not something by which to drag me around.

I once dated a man, he of the worst gift giving ever, and once at a party a friend of mine from college was talking about my very short hair back in the day. His comment (which took me by surprise) was that his wife would never be allowed to cut her hair. I am sure (not a bit) he was joking but over one more sip of martini I said, “Well, let’s just break up NOW, Archie Bunker.”

So one day as I sit in my new stylist chair, I tell him I want highlights. Not chunky- monkey -Cindy Lauper style highlights but just-back-from-Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat-sunkissed-around-the-temple highlights. He concurred but added the highlights would look smashing if we also lightened the whole coif. Mmmmm. Lightening the brunette? I vacillated between yes and no. He indicated we would go just a shade or two lighter. OK. Lighten away my Doyenne.

Hair color is not a quick process as many of you know. And by "know" I mean, know from a friend telling you. I am sure those blond tresses are your goldeny blond birthrights. And since it is not a quick process, time slowly ticks by but I look forward to what lies under all that potion.

And then the big reveal. He, smiling like a kitty on a brand-new satchel of catnip day, turns me in the chair to the mirror.

WOW, I say.

And there are several kinds of WOW.
WOW like I just found a smashing pair of Christian Louboutin’s in my size on sale for 100.00.
And WOW like I just heard someone talk about their jock itch.
And my WOW from the chair was NOT the shoe on sale kind of WOW.

Him: What do you think?
Me: It’s lighter (said with poker face which is rare for me.)

Him: It’s gorgeous
Me: Ummmm, it’s copper
Him: It’s multi-tonal
Me: It’s multi-tonal copper
Him: Its auburn. –ish.
Me: Copper. In fact, excellent camouflage for PENNIES.
Him: Darken it up a bit?
Me: How quickly can that occur?

Luckily for me, I learned my hair lightening lesson and the yummy icing on the cake was my stylist eventually returned.

And once, just for fun, I asked him about highlights.
“In your hair,” he asked. “NO.”
Perfect. I will keep him forever.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

You don't need 50 dollars to make me holler.

We interrupt the regularly scheduled Saturday food porn programming with this little update:

I am completely honored to say I received two emails from great bloggers indicating they have nominated me for the Tenth Annual Weblog Awards. The Bloggies are a well-established Blog Awards showcase and by looking at the previous winners, I will be the first to say that even being suggested among that impressive list is incredibly humbling. And awesome. And proof that you don't need 50 dollars to make me holler.

Of the 30 categories, Let's have a cocktail has been nominated for:

Most Humorous weblog
Best Writing of a weblog
Best New weblog
Weblog of the Year

The selection process is still accepting nominations until January 12. The more nominations a blog receives, the more likelihood it will be selected for the final ballot. And the great thing about the nomination process is each category requires you to nominate three blogs. It is called spreading the love.

If you are bundled up inside on this cold, cold day, and have any interest in nominating your favorite blogs for the process,  here is an easy access point: the link. There are so many interesting, witty, and well-crafted blogs, let's share them. And should my blog make it on your list, I appreciate the support.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Edge

Last weekend, MiniMac and I stopped by Barnes and Noble. While in line, MiniMac said, “Mommy, look at the edge.”
I inquired, “The edge of what, baby?”
And when I turned around to see his reference, only then did I notice that he didn’t mean the edge of anything.
He meant THE Edge.

And when we got home, he said, "The Edge plays the guitar like me."

I will say when I was two years old, I knew only albums involving fairy tale readings and the only adult figure I could recognize outside of my family MIGHT have been Captain Kangaroo.

My son is on his way to being so much cooler than me. And my son can thank me in 20 years that he NEVER had to watch Captain Kangaroo.

PS: And even if you have an aversion to kids, be it minor or major, you have to admit, a kid with a guitar is pretty cool. Come on, make a little soft spot in your heart for it. haha. 

PSS:  Because you are sitting there reading, and don't really want to get back to work or household chores do you? You are invited to read my interview at the beautiful SocieteAmore.  Thank you Rowe for the feature!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's your excuse?

Yesterday I was a little salty about working out. I didn't want to run because it was 28 degrees here. Yes, I know that is 28 degrees warmer than some of you but one of the perks of living in the south is we don't do 28 degrees. And if any white flakes appear from the sky, you get vacation and call it a snow day.

Not only did running outdoors not interest me in the least, I didn't want to go the gym because of the mere minutes of exposure to the elements I would endure walking from parking lot to front door. Doing nothing is not part of my plan and unfortunately, I already know making excuses is not considered actual exercise. Poor little kitty. 

So in effort to stall the inevitable motivate myself, I read the news. And then I saw this:
 



Jose Fausto Gonzalez, also known as 'Pepe Fausto', is a Spanish cyclist.

He cycles everyday.
And he is EIGHTY.

Pepe Fausto doesn't get all poor little kitty about the cold. He doesn't make paltry excuses like being outside for 2 whole minutes is too much too bear. Sometimes you just need to get up and go. As I have said before, the ass won't lose itself.

You are outstanding Pepe Fausto. Or may I call you by your new pet name, El BadAss?

I can only hope that when I am his age, I can still rock it like a hurricane. Thanks for the inspiration, El BadAss, I needed it.



PS: Come visit Life 2 Us, a new website and the brainchild of Unknown Mami. I am one of their featured bloggers this month.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

Upon leaving a meeting recently at a giant office building, I stopped to use the ladies room. Inside I spotted a sign asking the dames not to flush certain womanly products down the commode. My thought was straight and to the point as in, Who the ---- is old enough to be in this office building yet unaware of this piece of information?

When you are a young girl, the message of not flushing feminine products is reiterated to you in the neighborhood of 10,000 times at both your school and your home. Obviously someone skipped that stage of training, or posted signage would not be necessary.

I also recently saw a sign on a company break room fridge reading: Please check to see if your name is on the food you remove so you are not removing something that is not yours.

Do you know my secret trick for knowing what is mine or not without putting my name on it? It is called MEMORY. And when I have no memory of placing something in the communal fridge, I don't grab it and hope for the best.

And there is a new sign on one of the offices on my floor declaring it the "Lactation Room." Except no one knows who recently gave birth and is lactating. Frequently the sign is overturned to reveal "Lactation Room in Use" yet our staff is highly familiar with one another to the point one would easily know who has given birth. Let's call it what it is. Not Lactation Room but I Like To Have a Bit of a Catnap Throughout the Day. Codename: Lactation

And then Mom in High Heels posted this sign on her blog one day.


Which after I laughed, I thought surely anyone over age 8 using a urinal knows you don't put your fishing pole in it.

I ponder what, or who specifically necessitates these types of signs. Are they in jest? They must be because the messages are as common sense as:

Don't use the bacon in this package as clothing or
Cat Litter is not mouthwash or
Cheese does not make great surprise birthday party confetti.

But then I saw this...and had to take a picture.


Congratulations person who can't follow simple instructions, you have solved the mystery. You are the reason for the signs.