Thursday, May 23, 2013

How I am getting invited to your Memorial Day Weekend parties ( key words: my homemade Ginger Beer)

Since summer is coming, I want to make sure you have the best thirst quencher on hand for all your upcoming summer soirees and poolside fetes. And when I share it with you, you will invite me to all your fabulous parties. (Plus, I am a rather kick-ass DJ when necessary.)

A few summers ago while home in Seattle, I found myself sipping upon a Moscow Mule. Do you know this beverage? Amazing. Comprised of vodka, lime juice, ginger beer, it became my go to beverage if I was opting for liquor. Ginger beer is not actual beer but a jumped up and far more flavorful sister of ginger ale. There are several brands we used at home: Goslings, Barritts, Fever Tree and diet versions of the first two. I happily sipped it the following summer until upon ordering it in one of our favorite restaurants, I noticed an immediate difference in that my beloved Moscow Mule had an upgrade, a kick, an improved personality. The reason: house made ginger beer. Tell me more! House made ginger beer is hands down better than store purchase. However, I failed to get the lowdown on how to create such a concoction at home. The next time we were in, our favorite bartender was absent. I asked our less favorite bartender for the general 'how to' to which he replied 'it is virtually impossible to make ginger beer at home."

Virtually impossible?

You know people are making liquid nitrogen ice cream, right? And nitro siracha on tuna tartare. I mean virtually impossible is a pretty strong position.

So I went to University of Google and tried 4 or 5 different recipes to discover that what he meant by 'virtually impossible' was 'actually rather easy and should be shared with all your friends and mixologists'.  I like my ginger beer with a little sass and attitude so after several versions, my final version includes a secret ingredient: Chinese Five Spice. YUM.

Here is what I am working with:

JennyMac's Homemade Ginger Beer

1 1/4 pound of fresh ginger minced in food processor. Minced well.
 Split minced ginger between the two pitchers. Add to each:
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
Juice from one lemon
1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice (if you are strong and like it with a little 'how you like me now.'
Fill remainder of vessel with hot water.
Stir, stir, stir.

Let cool to room temp (at least an hour) and add 1 tsp of yeast. You can use brewers yeast if you have it.
Let it sit overnight and then strain. 

Mix with any variety of delicious liquids for a perfect summer elixir. If you want my Moscow Mule recipe, by all means since I will be sipping it at your pool:

1 shot fresh lime juice
1 shot vodka
1 shot soda water over ice in a single bucket glass.
Top w/ ginger beer. Sip and enjoy and start penning me your thank you note. 

I just made a big batch for the beach this weekend. Have a fantastic long weekend if you are celebrating and remember the reason for this holiday season.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

It is the weekend: Go out and be a badass.

I recently read an interview and a quote that particularly resonated with me is this:

Every day I wake up and remember, today you can choose to be an *sshole or a bad ass.

What a simple yet compelling remark. And it is true. The world to me has multiple different types of people. One of my least favorite: The Black Clouds. This group is the constant complainer, the 'life is lemons', the 'woah is me." One of my favorite groups: Those who MSH (make sh*t happen.) This group is the 'yes, I can', the 'I love challenges', the 'we can do this' group. Summation: the badasses.

I love great stories in the news and recently read a story of two teenage girls who lifted a 3,000 tractor off their father and saved his life. Teenagers. Girls. 3000 pound tractor? Welcome to Badassville, young ladies. 

And what do you do if you are 85 years old with five children, fifteen grandchildren and twenty-six great-grandchildren? Well, maybe you join your other widowed friends and do little but watch soap operas on television, complain about aches and pains and seem to grow dottier with every passing day. OR, you get your college degree while landing on the Dean's list, also land the job of your dreams and still have enough sass and verve to put a note on Facebook that you want to hear the important things going on in people's lives, not what they had for dinner." Congratulations Willadene Zedan for reminding me age is never the issue. 85 years old. New college grad. Sparkling personality. Welcome to Badassvile, Grand Dame.

It is the weekend and let's let these examples of human strength and tenacity, represented by a vast spectrum of age, inspire us to tap our inner badass.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A note to our son with some important considerations

You are just a boy (although, according to you once you turned 6 you are a 'man' now so accompanying me into the women's restroom is utterly taboo.) You are getting taller. You are branching out. You are using your own voice, your own rationale and your own decisions more and more every day. We just celebrated Mother's Day. It is a big job. It is my most important job requiring the most commitment, the most focus and the most flexibility. It is the job also providing the most reward. You are just a boy but you will become a man so I want to set down some hopes and requests for you as you travel that road. 

I will miss all the sweet things about the tiny you. How you want to cuddle at night or sleep next to us during a thunderstorm. I will miss that you wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and that by donning a cape, you can easily fly like Superman. (I know I dashed this when you wanted to jump from our 3rd floor balcony and I had to tell you the tiny cape wasn't going to do the job.) I will miss giving you 'back scrackles' and the physical reality my hand once covered your entire tiny back. I will miss that you consider B., Bananas and Baby Bananas your actual buddies. I will miss the fact we can use these buddies to convey messages to you when you are salty or sour or simply don't understand why we say no when we do. I will miss the fact you want to pour your own milk but the milk is too full, the counter is still a bit high and you actually need my help. I will miss the fact you think my kisses contain some magical elixir that heals boo boos. I will miss the days when my mere presence at the end of your day sends you running, arms wide open calling ' MOMMY'.  I know the length of these days are measured. 

When you become a man or at least a more independent, older version of you, I will not try to control your every move. I will feign disinterest when you want to cut your hair like Justin Beiber (oh please don't ) wear orange corduroy pants (say it ain't so) or adopt a fake foreign accent like Madonna (really?) but I will intervene should you find yourself leading yourself astray with drugs, alcohol, porn, MTV cribs or Ed Hardy clothing. I don't know my tactics yet but believe me, I will have them at the ready when the time comes. I recently overheard two teen-age boys talking. Oh LORD, I thought to myself. As you grow and bloom, here are five things I will hope you consider: 

1. Refrain from inking a tattoo of a girls name or GOD FORBID her face on any part of your body. While this might indicate 'commitment' or 'honor' or 'true love forever' to some girls it also indicates 'yikes' and 'WTF' and "are you serious I have to look at that while we get ready to make out' to the other girls you will meet after you and the original inspiration for the tattoo break up. You dont need to put a persons name or character on your person in permanent ink. Ditto for you own name. If you have to tattoo your own name on your arm, you have lost 200 IQ points. 

2. Don't talk mean about women. Prior to marrying Daddy, I certainly dated. You don't need to know details. If I was on a date and that man mentioned his horrible ex-girlfriend, horrible female boss, or horrible girl who did him wrong, my instant response was "Delete." Yes, some people suck. No one needs a constant reminder or dissertation about it. You are an innately positive person and I hope this lasts forever. You will be disappointed. You will be hurt. How you handle these instances will speak volumes about you as a man. It won't be easy but every bump teaches you something about yourself, how you will love, how you will lead and how you want to be loved. 

3. Do not over communicate your sex life. At this point, you really love women and told me, your raven haired Mommy, that 'blond girls are much prettier than brown haired girls." Don't limit your options, son. And please don't be that man who share his exploits in granular detail with his friends. Say things like 'that girl is hot' or "Mary is a bad-ass on the ski slopes" or "my girlfriend killed her SATs" or "I love girls who volunteer to read to the blind or donate time to Habitat for Humanity." What you don't want to say are things like "I banged her" or "See that girl, I ______ her" or "Hey buddies, come over and secretly watch me doing _____ to this chick this weekend." The reality is if you say horrible things about women and what you did with them, well, other women will put you on the bricks so again, you are limiting your options. Being a man might sometimes seem like its about swagger and conquer. It's not.  The best girl in the world will be the one who loves you and challenges you at the same time. Just ask your Daddy. He loved it, then kind of didn't love it and then remembered how awesome it is and loves it again. 

4. Use caution with what you publish. Like, never ever make sex tape. This should be part of bullet point #2 but it might need its own platform. I don't really want to fathom you even considering this an option. I don't want to consider these words in the same sentence as a truth someone would actually have to tell you. The reality is you will grow up and do things and explore you own wants with a variety of people. You might marry the first girl you have sex with or you might marry the girl who falls 75th on the list. Whomever it is, let me assure you that with out a proper camera crew, lighting and serious editing no one and I do mean no one wants to watch this. If a girl tries to tell you its a good idea, beware. She might think it as her cinematic Kim Kardashian moment but it will be your Screech moment. Ugh. That will haunt you forever. Ditto for taking pictures of any part of your body and sending it to anyone. Ditto for taking selfie pics in the bathroom mirror with your shirt pulled up with your iPhone and posting them in cyber space. UGH. Ditto for taking pictures of yourself doing ANYTHING stupid and actually showing someone else never mind hundreds of people. I dont know what social media platforms you might utilize in the future but my least favorite people on Facebook are the ones who think it is 'diary' versus what it actually is 'public bulletin board'.

5. Help others. This past weekend, my heart was melty and stirring while you tried to show our neighbors 2 year old how to bat. I love that you actually handed me your fruit-sicle to help him. I love that you told me he needs someone to show him how its done. I love that you do not even realize his Daddy plays in the NBA and a pretty stellar athlete. You were so loving and sweet, it was beautiful and astonishingly emotion. With helping others is another rule: Don't be a bully. Recently, a teen-age boy, angry at a ref during a soccer game, punched that man one time in the side of the head and that man died. I will have a hard time defending such an action. Bullies suck. You learned this already in kindergarten when a boy in your class picked on a girl in your class. I want you to be able to defend yourself and I want you to love people. I want you to champion yourself, others and the underdog. Oh, I love competition but there is a certain decorum. I appreciate you are trying to learn this. I appreciate strong personalities. I appreciate strong opinions. I don't appreciate people who are mean, manipulative or arseholes. True giants know how to get what they want without being d-bags about it. Oh, d-bags get plenty, trust me, but not the right way. Don't be mean to the waiter, the maid or the janitor. T Remember that the person you might despise might be the person you are sitting across a desk from in an interview one day. 

There are so many life lessons to share. This is just your starter kit.