Mom was brave when we were with her. There was nowhere she wouldn't venture with us (well, except Monrovia, but I'll save that for another post). In her 1970 Split Pea Green Ford Station Wagon we would drive all over the Los Angeles basin. The car was her freedom and it became ours as well. Gasoline was still cheap, and the road called. I can remember driving down Hollywood Blvd. in the 70's, windows rolled down, (one of the few times that was allowed because we were "cruising", and it wouldn't, to quote mom, "blow my head off") driving past bikers and all assortment of L.A. weirdos. We loved it. Well, my oldest brother didn't, but Pete and I did.
1970'ish Ford Wagon similar to mom's
However, mom had an overprotective streak as well. If she wasn't there, then I couldn't do it. I think since she had adopted us, and felt so much fear we would somehow be taken away, either by our birth parents, the courts or worse, by God. She alone could keep us safe. I get it now, being a mom, but it was suffocating as a child. I did have freedom on my block, and I lived in that glorious time of coming home "when the streetlights came on" or when we could hear Dad whistle. My best friend Susie and I spent hours in our back yards together, creating plays and dramas on our cassette tape recorder or making up games like hiding from Godzilla, or trying to prank people driving down our street by tying up an old purse to a string and pulling it when they stopped to pick it up. Even with my friends my mom was infamous for being overprotective. There was that one time during the summer and Susie and I were playing with water balloons. My mom never liked water balloons and felt they were dangerous... BUT, mom wasn't home that day, so we played with them anyway. Stupidly, in the front yard. I didn't see mom as she turned the corner onto our street driving towards us just as we were throwing water balloons at each other, but I heard her when she slammed on the breaks, full stop, in front of Susie's house. "Danielle Corine!!! Get your butt home right now", mom screamed. Susie was dumbfounded as to what I could have done to deserve that! You see, mom had heard a story about a boy who had his neck broken by the force of a water balloon. Ok, done laughing? Mom imagined my 9 year old friend Susie could throw that water balloon the speed of a major league pitcher I suppose.
As I raise my boys, I have taken what mom would call unnecessary risks. Teaching T. when he was 4 years old how to use the stove, allowing A. to ride a razor scooter without a helmet, letting the boys cross the street at 8 & 9, alone, without mommy. Some of these things she was here to witness, others I hope she is witnessing with a front row seat in heaven. The amazing thing to me was while she was alive, she never criticized me (at least that I know of!) for my hands off parenting style, even though I know a lot of must have freaked her out. I think she recognized what it was in response to. So I've adopted her style of embracing the road, the long drive, the adventures into unknown places by car (or train!) with the boys, and I've also embraced some of her protectiveness: no spending the night at other kids houses, don't leave the block. I've also allowed other things to occur that would never have happened at my house growing up: have your friends spend the night at our house, yes, you can have chocolate cake for breakfast, yes you can skip school today and hang with me, yes your friend can come inside the house to hang out, want to sit in my lap and steer as I back out the car?
Which leads me to tonights adventure: going to Hollywood to see a show put on by the boys favorite YouTuber. I can hear mom right now, "no large concerts/crowds because there may be a stampede if there is a fire or some other emergency". I hear her thoughts, what I imagine her thoughts to be, but they are actually my own anxieties, creeping into my head: "What if there is a terror attack? What if a drunk driver hits us on the freeway? If I take the train will we be accosted by homeless people? What if we are robbed in Hollywood? How will you protect 4 boys all by yourself?". My voice and my moms voice, all mixed up in my head and heart. All things that could happen, but probably won't. Of course, none of these thoughts entered my mind as I saw the tickets were going on sale, lucky for DanTDM, the youTuber I just handed over $200 to watch with the boys and two of their friends (note to self, bring earplugs). So as a result of momentary weakness I become "Mom of the Year", for at least a few hours to my kids. Hmmm, this being bold thing can be expensive. So I will go, and enjoy the boys having fun with their friends and try to remember this is their first big adventure in Hollywood. A future "hey, remember that time mom took us and two of our friends to Hollywood to see DanTDM" story. Maybe even something they will tell their own children. Something they might remember when they are mad at me. Something they will remember and maybe they will say "mom was so brave and she loved us so much she sat through a stupid DanTDM show (no offense to DanTDM). At least I hope so.
Maybe one day Pete can guest blog the story of the time he killed the Ford Station Wagon.
When little T. (3rd grade) was assigned a mobile project, for some reason my first thought went to Pearl Harbor. How cool would it be to make the mobile look as if the battle was actually happenings? Since T. had been reading a historical fiction novel on pearl harbor the idea was favored by all.
Naturally I googled looking for ideas. Funny enough, I didn't find one image. Then my sick head kept imagining a Pearl Harbor themed mobile over a babies crib... Lol... And I realized why it probably didn't exist.
well, now it does, and we've filled a hole in the Internet.
We had the honor yesterday to attend a dear, dear friends wedding. Everything was just perfect, I mean, absolutely freakin' perfect! So welcoming, no pretention, and thoroughly enjoyable... everything you want in a wedding! My husband got a beautifully lit shot of the cake... I think it is stunning! Congratulations to my lovely friends, and thank you for including us in this most special day. Love you both.
Simple to make, elegant presentation, and divinity in a cup!
Nah, no way. The Onion count was absolutely perfect (despite what my peasant husband says!)
Had a small harvest this week of onions, so it isn't odd the craving for French Onion Soup popped up!
Ingredients: 5 medium onions 3 Tbsp butter 1 tsp flour 6 cups beef broth (homemade would taste best, but any will do!) 1/4 cup very dry white wine or vermouth 3 Tbsp sherry or cognac (optional... although I don't recommend leaving it out!) Freshly ground black pepper to taste 3 Tbsp grated Gruyère cheese French loaf, toasted (sliced or torn) Or used croutons or whatever bread you have on hand! Tonight, I used toasted wheat slices.
Heat oven to 400º or broil. Slice the onions very thin.
In a large pot, sauté the onions in the butter until lightly browned.
Mix in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Stir in the beef broth, wine and Sherry or Cognac. Season to taste with pepper. Gently simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes.
Ladle the soup into oven safe crocks. Top with toasted bread or croutons. Place cheese (sliced or shredded) on top of bread. Put crocks into a roasting pan and place in oven as high up as possible near coils. Keep an eye on it, checking it every 1-2minutes. If you have it on broil, you can't peek too often! When cheese topping is bubbling and starting to brown, remove pan. Let the crocks cool down until you can touch them safely. DIG IN!
This was absolutely exceptional!
Makes 8 servings. 5 net grams of carbohydrate per serving.
This is a tweak of several recipes... it has taken me a few years to get it exactly where I wanted it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Bon Appetit!
In my house, the unfamiliar is just scary when it comes to food and my kids. My oldest especially finds comfort in repetition. Since he is a big fan of toast, we call grilled cheese sandwiches "cheese toast". We have toast, cheese toast, french toast, garlic toast... you get the trend here, right?
Tonight, grilled cheese a la Teddy. Somehow, if one of the kids has their name in the dish, it makes it much more pleasing. Today, we start out with a mixture of mozzarella, colby-jack, cherry tomato's and some greens. Both the tomato's and greeens were fresh from our home garden. I used beet tops, but spinach, kale or any green would do.
I can hear some of you right now, "grilled cheese??", yes, grilled cheese. With the addition of fruit (tomatos) and veggies (greens) it is a great way to get the extras into your kidlets! Now, I don't go crazy with the veggies, because son number 2 will have a cow if he finds too much stuff mixed in his grilled cheese.
I am lucky, to have this eager guy to try out this creation... and he loved it! Son number 1, not so much, but he ate half. Husband gobbled it up! Over-all... a big success!
Next time, maybe I will shove some brussel sprouts in there... or not!
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
When do you stand up and be brave, and when do we step back and let someone else take control, or responsibility? Wed night was one of those moments for me, and I stood back and let someone else take control. Now, I am questioning if I should report an incident to campus police.
During a film in class Wed night, when the Professor was out making copies, a student decided to answer her phone. Loudly, she held an extended conversation with a coworker, interrupting everyone's film experience. After not hearing the man across the room asking her to take it outside, he elevated his voice and added some profanities. THAT got her attention, and she let the fullness of her fury rage verbally into him. After demanding he treat her like "an 'effin lady", threatening to take out her mace, and hurling multiple insults at him in regards to HIS rudeness, she stormed out of class to finish her "important" phone call.
The young "lady" came back after a few minutes, hurled a few more insults and light threats, and then the Professor returned. No one said a thing. No one informed the teacher of the very uncomfortable incident that had occurred seconds earlier. No one reported the inappropriate behavior with her verbal threats to campus police either.
I feel WE the class, and myself personally, have let the bully win. Why was I too afraid to report this incident, or at the very least try to speak some common sense to this girl? Perhaps she didn't realize how loud and intrusive her conversation was? How have I become what I cringe at when I watch the news, that is, a onlooker, afraid to get involved?
The most ironic thing is we were watching a documentary on Charles Hamilton Houston, a black lawyer who helped play a role in dismantling the Jim Crow laws, a role model for one and all on "doing the right thing". Houston put right before his own safety & comfort, and led the way for others to have the courage to follow. In my fear, I didn't see the lesson right in front of my eyes.
"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Went into my favorite Starbucks today. I worked there a few years ago, when I returned to the company after a small leave. I returned as a part-time barista after being a manager for 13 years. It is a great little store, in a great neighborhood. BUT... the store is not (according to the manager) performing as well as it should. They are currently number 94 out of 95 stores. I can tell you one reason... today, I went in and purchased a Grande Americano and a Cheese Danish, warmed please. Do you want to know what it cost me? $1.38 or something really close to that. Why? The manager likes me, and gave me his discount. Now, I always try to refuse, but he just waves his hand and ignores me. The problem is, several of his shift supervisors do the same thing, and a couple of the baristas too. Now, if they are doing it for me, they MUST be doing it for others. These things add up, not to mention, it just isn't the right thing to do...Sigh...
I have been thinking a lot about the food we eat. How many times have we been told "you are what you eat". Well, the afterthought today comes in two different forms. It is either, "yes, you are what you eat, except when it comes to adding hormones or genetically modifying foods" or "yes, you are what you eat, and everything out there will kill you!!!!".
Now, I like to think of myself as a level headed kind of person, I can be very skeptical about the "cause du jour". However, with all the increases in obesity, autoimmune disorders, diseases, learning disabilities and Autism, it is hard not to look at food, and the changes in it from one generation to the next, as a possible (and I stress POSSIBLE) cause. Is it really a stretch to think that something we put inside our bodies on a daily basis, several times a day, could be causing some of the problems many, dare I say most of us are confronting? Also, I don't think proposing solutions to return to a more natural way of eating is radical.
What I do know is we have an entire generation of parents asking themselves did I cause this ________ (insert you or your childs issue here) to occur in my kid or in myself? Am I just a weak person / parent? What am I doing wrong??? Why was it so much easier for our parents?
I have begun the process of educating myself to what has happened to our food, since food is one of the easiest things to control in our families lives - if we have a spine, that is! ;)
This month, I have been trying to focus on hormones that are added to our chicken, beef and pork, to increase the amount of food that comes from each animal. We have the food industry and federal gov't on one side, assuring us these hormones are safe, both for the animal and the consumer (um, that is you and me). On the other side, we have doctors, vegetarians, animal rights groups, child advocates, etc. etc, all telling us it is not safe for human consumption.
Interestingly, the Pill, a hormone used to prevent pregnancy, has a warning label all over it. We know it wreaks havoc on women's bodies. Other hormones, whether used to minimize the effects of menopause or to increase masculine features in men, also have warnings all over them. Logically, how can I come to any other conclusion, that these hormonal additives must not be good for us? I know medicine and hormones can be transferred through breast milk, because I was not even allowed to breast feed either of my sons, due to medications I was on. Am I to believe that these hormones are not transferred through our foods to us? If I am missing something, please tell me. I know I will get arguments that the "evidence" just isn't there to support my conclusion, since the FDA says it is safe. I wonder if the FDA thinks that it is safe or just safe ENOUGH? The second thought I have is "is it necessary?" For me, it isn't necessary to increase production ( and therefore profit ) when it may be causing harm to humans. A conflicting concern I have heard is this: removal of hormones will decrease production, which will lead to less people having access to animal protein? That is something which requires more research, but raising bountiful and healthy animals was occurring before the introduction of growth hormones, so I don't see this as a realistic concern. I would not want a result of any campaign to be more deaths of humans, as in the case of the banning of DDT and the rise in Malaria deaths in Africa, and all over the world.
I have a simple proposal. Lets work together, and pick one type of meat: chicken? ( I am open to any suggestions ) Get our friends and neighbors to write letters to Wal-Mart, Safeway, Costco, Kroger, etc. expressing our concern and unwillingness to continue feeding our families chicken with hormones. This is exactly the type of action that led Wal-Mart to remove rbST from its Wal-Mart branded milk. Other dairy's (not all) soon followed suit, PROVING, you can be profitable and give customers what they want. For me, this is NOT about destroying Corporations. I want Corporations to be successful, I want shareholders to earn, but I do want them to earn responsibly.
Today, I registered my oldest for kindergarten. Then, I went down to the local Community College to finish up my registration to return to college. It was a slight euphoria mixed with a bit of fear. Dang, I felt old! lol I found myself lost a couple of times, but mustered up the courage to ask for help a couple of times. I am definitely a different person this time around. Felt a bit better when I was able to assist someone slightly older then me! Can't wait to reach my goal, well, once I figure it out.
I am so embarrassed right now. Getting ready for bed, peeling off the clothes for the day, and I just noticed armpit stubble. Now, ordinarily, this wouldn't be a crisis, but today, I went sleeveless!!! Also, I was with friends today. What are the odds that I didn't raise my arms ONCE around them??? Slim to none, right? I wish I was Superman, so I could fly around the world to turn back time. Sigh. I suppose, in reality, I would save my Superman power for something more important, like preventing a death.
So, took my 4 year old to the Pediatrician yesterday, for his 4 year check up. At the end of the visit, she mentioned "well, he only grew 1/2 an inch this year". Ordered about a million tests for him, meanwhile, I am freaking out on the inside. Just thinking, omg, preemie, seizures, and now he is going to be a "little person".... on and on, you know, the way moms do.
Took teddy to school, and continued freaking out internally for the next 3 hours. When I finally got him home, I thought, well, let me just double check it, against the measurements I take every few months.
Well, it turns out, according to my records, Teddy grew 1 and 1/4 inch, and that was in 8 months, not a year... so , I photographed the wall of markings, which I have been marking up for the past 4 years, when I remember... and emailed it to the doctor.
My friend just pointed out to me the Dr. probably is circulating this picture around her staff, saying, "look what this nutty mom emailed me." lol... she is probably right, but I am MORE right!
Always think, and rethink what your doctors tell you. And try to find humor in everything.