Thursday, February 28, 2013

Goldilocks gets a haircut

 My youngest was found recently under my desk, cutting her hair. I busted her early in her endeavor, so the damage wasn't too bad.

We talked about how that really wasn't a good idea. She seemed to get the message.

A few days later my oldest came home with some of her hair missing. Apparently, she too took the scissors to her hair, at her dad's house, although I'm almost positive she wasn't hiding under a desk.

She also colored this shorter section pink yesterday, with a pink highlighter, so had school-made highlights when I picked her up at the bus stop.

What's up with the hair cutting and coloring? I questioned.

But no matter, really, no harm done.

A few hours later, though, I received this text from the lovely Desiree:
Desiree: Did u hear your girl gave my girl a haircut today?
Me: Oh no!!! Is it bad? I'm on my way to get her in just a minute. Shit!
Desiree: She's got some new bangs. Lol
Me: Seriously? Shit. I guess Grace busted her. She wasn't there when I got there. Your girl is gorgeous, so probably looks cute, but geez, sorry!
Desiree: No worries, we think it's funny, curly hair is very forgiving, can barely tell! Ya, Grace said the were under the table, lol  
Apparently I forgot to mention to my girl that in addition to not cutting her own hair, she was also not allowed to cut her friend's hair either. (Note to self to be more inclusive next time.)

Thank god for forgiving friends, and for the fact that we're both texting about our third child. Your reactions tend to be a bit more zen than they would have with with your first child, what with your incredibly naive this-whole-child-rearing-experience-is-going-to-be-all-sorts-of-perfectly-wonderful-all-the-freaking-time attitude.

Because, well, it's not.

And, well, like Des and her husband Eric, you may as well laugh about it, right?

Plus, ready for the silver lining?

Des and Eric's girl rocks the hats,

and, as Grace pointed out to me this morning, when I courageously delved into the details of yesterday's scalping, yesterday's cut was minor. It could have been a whole pony tail(!).

Can you imagine?!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crust and Bone

Oh, the Oscars. Oh, those 85th Academy Awards.

I got to watch them this year. Sometimes it's tricky, not having a tv. My Dad used to say, "If you can't be a millionaire, it's good to be friends with millionaires." That's how I feel about my friends with tvs.

Katie had a party, and invited us. Us! with this suggestion:

Please join me to watch the Academy Awards and perhaps bring a dish inspired by an Oscar nominated movie. Such as Life of (Apple) Pi*, Les Miso-rables*, or Ar-goat cheese tarts.

*Gary gets credit for those.

And, oh how the peeps responded . . .

Zero Dark Thirty Cloves of Garlic Soup

Katie did in fact -- she reported -- peel thirty cloves of garlic. I told her a cut lemon rubbed on her fingers would get rid of the smell, but what fun would that be?

Searching for Sugar Man Cookies

Inspired.

Close Encounter Potatoes (of the thrice baked)

What? 1977 wasn't that long ago.

Beans of the Southern Wild

Totally awesome and clever and witty, don't you think? Plus healthy. Possibly the prize winner.

(Oh, and I made them.)

(Oh, and Mistah named them.)

Les Mizereatballs*

*This photo was taken while the horses, wearing the tricolore thundered by on their way to the French Revolution, which is why it's blurry.

Fresh Guacamole

No, really. Fresh Guacamole. The movie was nominated for Best Short Film (Animated). Paperman won, but Fresh Guacamole was the winner in my book.

Oscar's Zero Dark Thirty Dogs

Wait, we had another hot dog-inspired dish:

Cheezey Sausage Lincolns

Explains Carlos: "Cheezey Sausage Lincolns. Get it? Sausage Links. Groan."

Crust and Bone

Slices of an unidentified animal's bone,with marrow, and crusty bread? Oh, this may be a tie-prize-winner. Just like Skyfall and poor, ignored Zero Dark Thirty for the Best Sound Editing Oscar.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Amour

French-style.

Argo-Choke Dip

Seriously, these people are clever.

Oh, what a spread.

What a minute, what's that?

(photo credit: Tracey)
Let's get a closer look:

Bloody Hildi*

*Frankly, I have no idea.

Also, how did I not take a photo of The Life of Pizza Pi? Homemade Pizza Pi, thanks to Dawnie. Sigh.

But anyway. The party was not all about the food.*

*It mostly was.

It was also about the booze . . .

. . . yum, Guinness.

Cheers, Angela!

. . . and it was also about a great crowd in a great room, watching tv, cheering and booing and cackling wildly . . .

(photo credit: Taia)

. . . and most importantly of all . . .

. . . it was about keeping the rest of the world fully informed.

Just kidding. It was all about the food.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

family files

I was poking through my recipe folder last night, when everything fell out all over the place, as all my shit is always wont to do. It's been a rough week in Kennedy-ville.  We lost a matriarch and had some major kid stuff going on and the whole world has felt like one big fat exposed nerve. So the spilled recipes were small taters, my recipes are an unmitigated collection of disasters to begin with, they are always crusty and speckled and nonsensical. They used to be clipped to the fridge wily nily or shoved in a drawer in similar style, but one day my husband took it upon himself to find and label a file folder, and now I have a recipe file to drop on the floor store the instructions for preparing my various and sundry favorite meals.

After picking everything up and putting it away and getting back to the business at hand, I found a sticky note face down on the floor and grabbed it to toss in the trash. Thank goodness I caught sight of the handwritten gold on the front before doing so, cuz look:


AwwWWWWWaaaaaaAA! It made me all schmoopy again. I miss Ellie and her 40-cat-crazy handwriting, and I miss Julie and her yum recipes and delicious diet, but most of all I miss that salmon, yum.

There wasn't much time to fret or lament, however. I had in fact pulled the recipe file out for a reason. A crowd pleasing, foos inducing, yogurt slathering, lesbo reason:

The epitome of comfort food.
We had a nice meal together, clinked a toast to Mimi and ended the night with some old family videos from our boy's baptism at 26 Bettswood Road where we got to visit with herself, and dad, and Uffie, and Dr. Cronin.

Sigh.  

Rest in peace, Mimi. We love you.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Just call me Shirley

Okay, I may not be a spiritual warrior per se, but I am to some degree a seeker. I want to know how to better live life, how to increase my happiness, how to tap into my higher self, my source, my soul, if you will.

There are many roads. And many teachers.

My childhood introduced me to the Catholic Church. I can't deny that I learned various good lessons there, but it did not resonate with me, and I never was confirmed or joined the church. For a brief period I found myself and very young children attending the Episcopal church near my house, but in all honesty, I was smitten with the few hours of free childcare each Sunday morning provided, and with the camaraderie of the few other families in the congregation with young children. My attendance also propelled me to the top of the list for the co-op preschool that operated on the premises. Basically, I was a poacher who stopped attending as soon as my neediness subsided. My children were never baptized there, nor anywhere else, which is perfectly fine with me.

The Jesus I know does not require baptism in exchange for his love and acceptance.


Although, truth be told, Jesus and I are not that tight. I have a stronger bond with his mother, especially his brown mother, Guadalupe. She's dope.

But actually I find myself identifying more with eastern ideas that come from Buddhism and Hinduism, as well and from various other ancient religions.


Saturday night I went to brush up on my Toltec wisdom. I went to hear Miguel Ruiz Sr. and Miguel Ruiz Jr. speak here in San Diego. Not familiar with those names? Ever hear of "The Four Agreements"? It was a book written by "Don" Miguel Ruiz Sr that was published in 1997 that sold more than 4 million copies. It remained on the New York Times bestseller for over seven years.

I just saw it referred to as a "neoshamanistic text," which I guess rings true, but makes it sound so mysterious, almost sinister.

To some degree this is apt, as Don Miguel starts off the book letting us know we're all parasites, well our minds are anyway -- a bit of an off-putting image, but if you stick with him, he starts making sense pretty quickly. He takes ancient Toltec wisdom combined with modern insights and distills it down for you. The four agreements are:
  1. Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid speaking against yourself or gossiping about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be a victim.
  3. Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

 Sounds simple, right?

Yeah, not really. Excruciatingly hard, but who said self enlightenment was going to be easy right?




Saturday night's talk was promoting Miguel Ruiz Jr's new book, "The Five Levels of Attachment," also deceptively simple and thought provoking; it moves on from "The Four Agreements" and explores the ways in which we attach ourselves inappropriately to beliefs and so called "knowledge," and how this leads to suffering.


A lot what he said rang true, and I'm sure I'll pick up the book. As I said at the outset of this post, I'm nothing if not a yoga-practicing, mantra-chanting, mudra-making new age urban guru  open to new ideas.



Friday, February 22, 2013

The Film Fest, Part I

We're in the middle of the best thing about winter around these parts -- well, except for the Hygienic Art Show -- The Garde Arts Center New London Winter Film Festival.

This year's line up is, truly, one for the ages. Every single movie is a must-see. And it's all so timely and important and pop-culture-crucial with the Oscars coming up on Sunday.

Let's take a look-see at what we've seen so far, shall we?


Flight
I loved it, although I'm partial to movies about drunks. I prefer, though, non-redemptive movies about drunks. In one scene when Whip Whitaker, the pilot played by Denzel Washington, chose *not* to grab a bottle of booze I whispered to Mistah, "Can I boo?"

Most of our friends were unimpressed, though. Chris thought the movie was trying to teach two different things. Is the drunk the hero or the anti-hero? Hsin thought it was "predictable, too long, and preachy." Mistah and I, though, we sat back and completely enjoyed a fine actor being a mighty-fine drunk. Well, until the whole redemption part.

ParaNorman
No idea; I didn't see it.


Beasts of the Southern Wild
Wow. What a movie. What a preternatural presence the then-six-year-old Quvenzhan√© Wallis is. What a graceful and confident presence. She is in every scene in that movie, and you can't take your eyes off of her in any of those scenes. Except when looking at the set -- that must have been a set designer's dream-come-true.

Poverty, strength, redemption (sigh), global warming, a drunk named Wink the night after a drunk named Whip, this movie had it all. And it rendered most everybody who saw it speechless. Chris announced that it immediately vaulted onto his all-time Top-10 list. Justin, however, was less impressed: "Too much yelling."

It was so different, so moving and poignant, and featured such a wonderful tribe of righteous, iconoclastic individuals. And Quvenzhan√© Wallis' Hushpuppy will knock your socks off.


A Royal Affair
Oh, those wacky Danes. They're not very kind to eachother, those Danes. At least they weren't in the late 1700s. The story is "known far and wide . . . in Denmark" as the screenwriter reports. "This is probably one of the most famous historic episodes in Denmark, and I would say that every single Dane knows about it. But it’s funny, because as soon as you cross the border, nobody knows it."

Me, I only had eyes for my man Mads Mikkelsen. And ears for the Danish language. And closed eyes during any and all beheadings.

I liked it though; hey, what else are you going to do on a Sunday afternoon in New London Feburary? With wine? And Jennie?


The Sessions
This was the only movie I had previously seen. I liked it the first time; I liked it a lot. But this time? I loved it. I loved it with the depth of my soul, and I had to practice lamaze breathing not to weep out loud in the Garde Theater at the end. Plus I had no tissues so my black shirt's sleeve is a wreck.

Bill found it clinical, Dawn and Hsin and James told me they loved it, but frankly, I didn't ask for too many opinions. I loved it so much I didn't want to know what anyone else thought. How was John Hawkes not nominated for an Oscar? He was supine, and didn't move, and was completely riveting. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. After the movie I basked in that post-movie cocoon of love. Swooning love. With bloodshot eyes.

Sigh. How I love the movies.

Tonight is Argo. Tomorrow is The Life of Pi at 3 and Anna Karenina at 7:30. Next week is . . . well, let's just meet back here then, and we'll discuss . . .

Good luck to everybody on Sunday. May the best actress, actor, director, cinematographer, screenwriter, lighting director, set designer, composer, gaffer, and, most imortantly, best boy win.

See you at the movies.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

shmoopy



Beth’s thoughtful post from yesterday got me feeling all shmoopy about how all we can do is the best that we can do. It's not in fact crisis week at MYE, as evidenced by certain beautiful boozy lunches out in the tundra. We may have angst here out west, but at least we have sunshine. And rain. Hail. whatever.

Here's my thing: I'm finding it hard to let go of the expectations we had for our children, expectations that were shaped by our own childhoods, despite the fact that our childhoods did not even remotely resemble the lives that our children are leading. I understand this on a cognitive level, I know that the times they are a-changing. I try not to spend too much time muttering about how things were back in the day and whacking unruly whippersnappers with my cane. Get off my lawn!

So I get that it's different now, and that electronics have shifted the scope of social relationships. If, say, some mean spirited little shitbag wants to mess with my kid’s head or heart, she doesn’t have to run through my interference to do so. Back in the day, the shits had to call my house and ask if they could speak with me, they did not have direct access. Now everyone has a cell phone and a wireless device with text plus and the shits have direct and continuous access to each other. It puts a huge burden on them to figure out the things that our parents slyly managed to impart during the brief yet powerful moment of handing over the phone. A look or a tone or an outright warning that I heard loud and clear whenever so-and-so was calling for me:  Watch yourself with this one.  Don’t trust too much.  We parents of today need to find new ways to pass along our wise warnings and unwise utterances. We’ve got to find ways to keep the conversation open.

We've also got to accept the thing that all parents have had to accept, always and forever since the cavemen looked at their spawn with furrowed protruding brow and wondered "who is this?" Our kids are not ourselves.

It's hard to let go of the vision I had of what my kids’ lives would be like, and dreams about the things they would and could want to do as they grew to be young adults. But I’ve come to the realization that it’s time for a new vision. It’s time to let go of remorse about what has changed and regret about what I might have done differently. It’s time to accept who my child is and who he is not, and to celebrate all that makes him him rather than mourn all that makes him not me

There is no room for shame, and no regrets. Maybe we'll allow ourselves a brief pause to lament that it's not going to be as easy to grow up as I've convinced my adult self that it once was for my back-in-the-day teenage self.

Yesterday was a difficult day. Today will be better. Right???

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My pity party and the purple plastic purse

There is a line from one of my favorite children's books, "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes that reads "Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better."

This simple statement, a short note written to Lilly by her teacher, Mr. Slinger, and placed in her purple plastic purse before giving it back to her at the end of the school day, after having to take it away from her earlier, has become a phrase of solace for me.

Does that seem childish? No matter -- it's so succinct, and true, and really what I need to hear sometimes.

I had a difficult day today, and I know that tomorrow will be better. And if not tomorrow then the next day. Or the next.

I haven't felt this low in quite a while. I'm by nature a relatively content person, and especially in the last number have years have tried hard to cultivate positivity and soldier on in the face of adversity.

Let's be clear, I am living in the most affluent nation in the most affluent of all times. I know this. I do not have real problems. I am not starving. I am not living in a war-torn area. I am not watching my child die of dehydration. I am not a woman living in a society where I can be stoned for adultery.

I have it easy. A job, good health care, access to more food that I could ever need, a home with 3 toilets. It's an embarrassment of riches. I practice gratitude every day.

Yet still the distress, the feelings of doubt.

I want to be enough. I want to be able to do it all. I want to be all I need. But when I look ahead at the challenges to come, the raising of three girls in today's world, the prospect of giving each of them what is best for them emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually, all the while working full time and negotiating with two ex husbands -- well shit, it might be a long, hard run.

My life choices, or reactions to other people's choices, are my own. I get that. I am here because of me and me only. No one made me do this. Or that. Or the other thing.

But sometimes, well sometimes I look around at think to myself, it's a high climb up and out of here.....

Guess there is nothing left to do but run and skip and hop and fly my way out.

Just like Lilly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Boozy Luncheon

Mistah and I have a standing date: Lunch, when we both have the rare Monday off, in the winter.

A boozy luncheon.

It's a civilized tradition.

Half the fun is the getting there . . .

. . . driving around this time of year is sparkly and bright . . .

. . . it's not summer, but hey! Whatayagonna do?

Well, what you're gonna do, is go to the Dog Watch Cafe, in the depth of winter . . .

. . . and find a full house of other luncheon-loving-friends . . .

(including real-life, luncheon-loving friends)

. . . looking right out on the water.

And the first thing Mistah and I do, every time?

Why, we order a dozen oysters . . .

. . . of course we do.

Mmmmmmm, oysters.

And . . . 

. . . killed 'em!

Man, those were some righteous oysters.

Next course . . . 

. . . for Mistah Schleckah at least, the soup course. Lobster bisque. Neither Mistah nor his Mumsie can pass up lobster bisque.

And then, salads.

Oh dear. We plumb forgot to take photos of our salads.

No worries though, our entrees were on their merry way . . .

Mussels for me . . .

. . . and lobster ravioli, with broccoli and shrimp, for Mistah.

We had it all . . .

. . . an afternoon off, the world's most awesome Lisa bartender . . .

. . . good friends, great food, a fabulous venue . . .

. . . oh, it was a Boozy Luncheon for the Ages.