Captain’s Log.

05/27/2012 § 6 Comments

6:00 am: The children are awake. I turn the tv on and pour myself a pint glass of Merlot. We eat Coco Krispies, and watch Animal Planet. I eat some chunky peanut butter from the jar with my fingers. I do the dishes.

8:10 am: The children begin to bicker. I turn the tv off and apply bright red lipstick. I consider shaving my eyebrows. I give the children a box of matches and send them to the basement to play. I take a 45-minute shower. I touch-up my lipstick and get dressed for the day.

9:00 am: The children are hungry (?). I give them each a block of expensive cheddar cheese and a raw egg. I blow dry and style my hair. I organize my sock drawer and try on some jewelry.

10:30 am: Severe thunderstorm warnings and torrential downpour. I send the children outside with a bucket of golf balls and a 9-iron. Inside, I flip through a magazine and wonder aloud if I should fold the laundry. I spread Nutella on a stalk of celery and think about color trends in wall paint.

11:15: I put on a Neil Diamond album and pour myself the remaining 9.4 ounces of Merlot.

Noon: The doorbell rings. It’s the children; they want money. I give them each five dollars in loose change and send them to the corner store for lunch. They return with two packs of cigarettes and a strawberry-scented air freshener.

1:00 pm: The children put on dry clothing and brush their teeth. I pack a tote bag with two fruit leathers, a Hershey bar and a large thermos of gin. We all put our shoes on and leave the house.

3:30 pm: We return home with the following in hand: a small collection of “borrowed” library books, a gently used hairbrush, and a single bag of groceries which includes (but is not limited to)… Kraft Dinner, grape soda, and a Sara Lee pound cake, which obviously I will save for later.

5:00 pm: It has come to my attention that the children are “thirsty.” I send them outside to drink from the garden hose. I lock the door.

7:30 pm: I wake from a deep sleep to the sound of scratching. I unlock the door and let the children in. I tell them it is time for bed. Naturally, they protest. As a compromise I give them each two pieces of bubble gum and a Sharpie pen to draw with. I tuck them in and turn out the lights.

8:15 pm: I mix myself a pleasing cocktail of warm grape soda, tequila and triple sec. I light a cigarette. I feed the cat and watch three consecutive episodes of Law & Order.

11:00 pm: I eat the pound cake from the container with a rubber spatula and go to bed.

All-in-all, it has been a pretty good day.

Riddle me this.

05/13/2012 § 2 Comments

I can’t explain why I don’t …

1. Grow a full beard (on my face). Truthfully, I am just a few hormone levels away from being a bearded woman and opening a feminist bookstore. I suppose I am lucky, but I have seen women with beards and they are usually very proud. I suspect they are happier.

2. Drive an ice cream truck full-time. I realize this is seasonal work, but haven’t I always wanted this kind of freedom? What would I do during the off-season? Well, probably just eat ice cream (to keep my head in the game so-to-speak), brush up on the latest trends in frozen treats (you would be surprised), and of course plan my route (it’s competitive out there!).

3. Keep my hands regularly manicured. It’s mainly a time management issue.

4. Live in a city park. Our city has some wonderful parks. Actually, I see no good reason why I’m not currently taking advantage of this option. I’m not going to rule it out for the future, especially once the kids are gone, which could be any minute.

5. Act my age. I have no real excuse.

6. Give my children the love and attention they deserve. I do try, I really do – but if you have ever met my children you can see that they are severely neglected. For one thing, their teeth are literally rotting out of their heads, their hands are always dirty, their shoes don’t fit and let’s face it they could probably benefit from playing a competitive sport. I just can’t go there, I am only one person and I don’t like standing in the freezing cold on a Saturday morning.

7. Have very many friends. I think we all know the reason for this. I am annoying.

8. Ride my bike to work. It’s mainly because I’m not brave and my clothing isn’t practical. Plus, you can’t smoke a cigarette and ride a bike at the same time unless you are riding a unicycle, and that is for clowns.

9. Read more non-fiction. Who am I, Spock? Oh, that’s science-fiction. Never mind.

10. Rinse and re-use expensive zip-lock bags. I’m working on this. I do have guilt.

Finger licking good.

01/15/2012 § 3 Comments

This weekend my dear friend and Food Network’s Home Cooking Sweetheart—Paula Deen—came for a visit. Here are some of the highlights:

As soon as Paula got settled in we began our weekend with a lovely snack of Triscuits slathered with butter and a wonderfully cheap, sweet Chardonnay (Paula’s favorite). I had never thought to spread butter on a Triscuit, but it’s so obvious. Wow. Paula is amazing that way, she is so clever and full of adventure. She’s just the best.

Next, Paula suggested we brush each others’ hair (I love this woman!). Her arms were tired from traveling (understandably), so I brushed her hair while she told me about a very odd encounter she had with Rachel Ray (who, suffice it to say, I now believe to be a man). I can tell you first-hand that Paula’s thick, gray hair is just as soft and beautiful as it looks to be on television, but what you don’t know (how could you?) is that her scalp is very sensitive. You need to be gentle.

For the evening meal we agreed to order take-out. Because, one: Paula did not really trust me in the kitchen (rightly so) and two: it can be really goddamned exhausting to cook for yourself when you slave over a fake, hot stove in a shitty television studio for just pennies a day. Honestly! I agreed. Paula insisted that we order from the Colonel. She was craving his original, extra crispy recipe of eleven herbs and spices. This puzzled me, but Paula was my guest and I adore her, so we ordered two buckets of chicken and opened a fourth bottle of Chardonnay. While we ate with our hands she told me a story.

She knew Colonel Sanders. In fact, they had been lovers. They met in Louisville, Kentucky in the summer of ’72, it was a heady time (she claimed), and she was thinner than she is now. He was much older, and experienced in the ways of love. The Colonel took her in. He was a true southern gentleman. He was also a wild, passionate lover with the strength of an ox, and the hands of a woman. The pressure to satisfy him eventually became too much and regretfully, she had to brake it off. True to form, the Colonel was understanding and they remained friends until he passed twelve years later.

The following morning was awkward. It was Sunday and Paula was scheduled to fly out later that day. I was resentful of her “fame” and her busy schedule, and to be honest, I suppose I was a bit pouty. I tried to put on a smile as we ate a simple breakfast of bacon. She suggested maybe watching her show together would cheer me up. Which it did. After several hours of television I felt like myself again. Then, it was time for Paula to gather her things and head for the airport. She let me help pack her suitcases and generously gave me a very large, velour track suit that she insisted was too small for her. It was nearly brand new! I tried not to tear up as her cab pulled away. I miss her already, but I know she will come again because we really are dear friends. The track suit is gorgeous! It fits me like a glove, and in fact, I’m wearing it now.

If you are the birthday girl.

09/24/2011 § 2 Comments

1. Wear something flattering and most importantly: age appropriate. If necessary, plan several outfits for your big day. This will help stretch out the time, and it will keep the people around you from getting too bored.

2. Buy or make something special for yourself. Personally, I like to buy new shoes. I don’t suggest making shoes, but if it feels good and you are handy, then by all means give it a try. There is no wrong answer.

3. Surround yourself with good looking, smart, successful people who like you for you. Actually, this holds true for every day of the year.

4. Take stock. Look ahead and think back. Don’t dwell. Just light your candle(s) and move on.

5. Eat and drink only your favorites. To excess.

6. If you have time — which you should because it is your day devoted to you and no one else, and you shouldn’t be lifting a finger except to beckon a waitress over for more wine — get a full body massage. Even if you have to ask a neighbor, it will be worth it.

7. You are not bound by social norms on this day. I do suggest at least wearing underwear (in public) and probably brushing your teeth.

8. Try something new, like reading a book or shaving your arms.

9. Say something nice to someone. About yourself.

10. Remember this is your day, but don’t let it go to your head. Tomorrow it’s back to reality babe.

Drink from the box.

09/10/2011 § 2 Comments

Original Triscuit. Great in the morning with coffee and Nutella. Slice a banana if you must, but don’t cop an attitude.

Rosemary Olive Oil Triscuit. Cozy up with a family-sized carton of these heavenly squares; a stick of butter (unsalted) and a magnum of red wine. A magnum = 1.5 liters. A stick = 1/4 pound. One of these is metric.

Hint of Salt Triscuit. I’m not going to lie, this is a sacrifice. Once, somebody bought these by accident because he wasn’t reading carefully. (true story) My solution: anchovy paste. If you want to get fancy (because you deserve the very best and this useless box of wheat isn’t going to eat itself) — shave some parmesan onto each cracker and pretend you are enjoying a Caesar salad. Take it one step further: pretend you are in an expensive restaurant wearing a gorgeous cashmere sweater and no bra.

Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuit. A nice masculine choice, especially for men. Cracked pepper aids in digestion much like the active cultures in yogurt. To be taken before bedtime.

Roasted Garlic Triscuit. A perfect choice for girls night in. Delicious with Brie and for that matter anything fattening (like pudding). Since it is girls night in, and you are hosting; slice a pear and put some lip color on. If you don’t have a pear, open a can of mandarin oranges. It will be fine. By the second glass of Pinot no one will even care that your lip color has worn off and you look like a bloated corpse.

Deli-style Rye Triscuit. I believe these are Kosher. Schmear with cream cheese.

Fire Roasted Tomato Triscuit. Top with fresh mozeralla (said with an Italian accent as if you have a cooking show on Food Network). For a truly gourmet touch: add a basil leaf. Yes, the basil should be fresh and here’s why: The children will leave this snack alone because you can tell them the basil leaf is baby spinach, and to go get their own damn snack for Lord’s sake. Can’t I get one minute to myself in the bathroom?

Garden Herb Triscuit. Our mother had a boyfriend named Herb. He taught us how to play chess.

Triscuit Minis. new! Technically this is not a flavor, but is is very exciting.

Reduced Fat Triscuit. I have actually never tried these, but by the looks of my second trimester I should probably consider the option.

How could this happen?

09/04/2011 § 2 Comments

A six-month supply of dangerously cheap, single-ply toilet paper.

Here’s how it happened. It is late one Sunday afternoon and I’m mostly needing a nap. Instead, driven by my nurturing instincts, I sacrifice the last precious moments of my weekend to a large and filthy grocery store near our house. In a retail stupor I find what I consider to be an amazing deal on a suburban-sized multi-pack of toilet paper. I wrap both arms around the bulky mass and wrestle it from the shelf. Remembering to lift with my legs — I heave it into the cart. I finish the shopping and come home with my haul. A short while later the compromise in quality is discovered. (Mom!) As it turns out this toilet paper is painfully thin and needless to say not very effective. (How could I have known this? What am I? A gypsy?) To make matters worse, each roll is infinite. No matter how we try, we can’t seem to use it up. We invite friends and strangers in on the condition they use the bathroom. I tell everyone it’s better for the environment. And just be thankful we still have indoor plumbing in this economy. I remind them of our new household motto. One Roll at a Time.

A homesick, young innocent stranded at summer camp.

I really don’t know how this could have happened. A good mother sends her child to summer camp. Right? Only the best for my baby girl. I tackled the packing list with tender loving care. My little darling had the very best mosquito repellent and 50 spf sun block. She was equipped with a new water bottle, an expensive flashlight, (stolen from my husband’s glove box) twenty pairs of underwear, extra shoes, rain gear, a soft pillow and a warm sleeping bag. Have fun Pumpkin, I’ll see you in five days. Hug. Hug. Kiss. Kiss. By week’s end my bad mothering is revealed. Apparently I failed to write in all the possible names for “People other than yourself authorized to pick up your child from camp.” _______ (What?!) Well… you’re home safe now that’s all that matters. Right Sweetie? Did you remember to wear your sun block?

A flatulent episode in front of my daughter’s boyfriend.

Here’s what happened. It is a typical evening and I have just come home from work. My oldest daughter Zoe and her boyfriend Ben (both in high school) are doing homework in the dining room. They make me proud. Because I am such a good mother, I like to connect. So, I gingerly interrupt their homework for a brief hello. After about two minutes I can see they are beginning to lose patience. My time is running out. Suddenly, I recall a funny story from the day. This story is sure to make Zoe and Ben laugh and realize I am the world’s coolest mom. “Guys, wait! I have a good story I want to tell you!” I wave my arms and jump in the air for dramatic effect. Just as I land on my feet a loud blast of wind escapes my body. Oh dear. Next: a horrified look of disbelief from Ben. Screaming from Zoe. Near crying and more screaming from Zoe as I stand there and try to apologize. Continued loud protest from Zoe and a terrified, awkward look from Ben as I explain that these things happen when you get older … and OK. I’ll go now. I’m going. I’m leaving the room. You kids let me know if you need any help with your homework.

A waltz down the aisle

07/23/2011 § 4 Comments

Pep-O-Mint
Ellen always kept a roll of Peppermint Lifesavers handy. She loved everything peppermint including soap and tea. If we behaved in the grocery store, we could each choose a roll. Including peppermint, the choices were slim: Butter Rum (rum is for grown ups), Wild Cherry (love), 5-Flavor Fruit (colorful), and Wint-O-Green (my Fav-O-Rite). It was 1975 and we had a rotary telephone. We were never allowed bubble gum because it would simply rot your teeth on contact and get stuck in your hair and then you would need to shave your head. To make matters worse, it was widely believed that chocolate gave Maggie headaches. Nice going Maggie.

Kiwi Shoe Polish
Our father (we’ll call him Mark) would shine and buff all of the leather shoes in the house about once a week. He is a Virgo. He had every color of Kiwi shoe polish, even white. I will say, from painful experience, that white shoe polish is fake and does not work for shit or Shine-Ola on your brand new saddle shoes that you begged for and tried to keep clean, but couldn’t help it.

Tang
The Astronauts drank this for strength and sexual stamina. We were not allowed to have Tang. First off it had absolutely no nutritional value and was pure sugar. It was also full of yellow dye no. 5 and (worse!) red dye no. 2 which (admittedly) was getting banned by the government. Not to mention did we want to get lock jaw, permanent hyperactivity or syphilis? We did not. Jeez.

Channel No. 5
Ellen’s signature. Worn on special occasions, accompanied by a long twinkly necklace and fabulous, chunky high heels that we were sometimes allowed to try on and walk around in. If we caught the scent of Channel we knew a babysitter would arrive soon and we might get to eat a TV dinner with pudding, and maybe actually watch some TV.

Old Spice
Mark’s signature scent delivered daily in the form of shaving “soap” and stick deodorant. This is a favorite of mine. In fact, I should probably just start wearing it myself. I bet it would lead to a promotion at work.

Nilla Wafers
With a little privacy and access to water I could polish off a box of Nilla Wafers in ten minutes flat. Our mother did not bake cookies. On occasion she would bake brownies, but she always put walnuts in them. Mom, you know we hate walnuts. Oh, I’m sorry honey, next time I’ll try and remember. Really?

Mrs. Butterworth’s
She was strictly for the weekends. We would chatter away at her as she stood patiently with hands clasped while we ate. Ummm, Mrs. Butterworth are you married to Uncle Ben? Oh. Where is Mr. Butterworth? Well dear, I don’t rightly know. I haven’t seen the good Mr. Butterworth in quiet some time. Why do you ask sweetheart, would you and your sister like some more of my thick and rich buttery syrup? Yes, please.

Keds
Twice a year Ellen took us to Lou’s Bootery on Main Street. Lou would measure our feet and we would agonize over the impossibly cruel “choice” of red or navy. Should you stay with the same color you had been wearing, or mix it up? Six months can be a life-time in a pair of rubber-toed, lace-up tennis shoes. Finally, Lou would seal the deal with a roll of Smarties to compensate for his super lame selection of bootery. Thanks Lou. Your name rhymes with shoe, and you smell like one too.

Bayer Chewable Aspirin
Nothing says I love you like two tiny baby aspirin, and a cool washcloth. Because baby aspirin smelled and tasted like Tang, we tried to get a fever as often as possible. And just how on the Planet Mother Earth did I know what Tang smelled and tasted like? I just did.

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