moomie's BIG RED VAN

Moomie, have you ever seen Project Runway? It’s a reality show on Lifetime that brings aspiring fashion designers to NYC for a season of cutthroat runway challenges. Heidi Klum is the host. The panel of respectable fashion leaders are brutally honest. There are always tears, always one designer that’s bat crazy, and of course, always a mega-huge, career-altering prize at the end.

Jacqueline and I are watching a recent episode where the contestants have to design a fabric and a look based on old family photos and memories. And then, as a cute little surprise, their moomies walk into the workroom! While all the Project Runwayers were blubbering for their mom’s on my television, I too got teared up!

That’s it. That’s all I wanted to say. Miss you. You’re my rock.

PS - I made brownies today! And before that, Jacqueline made scalloped tomatoes with croutons!

This past Sunday evening, Moomie and Daddy Boy came by my new apartment, which they had yet to see, for a little dinner. Actually, it was more like a big dinner. When I cook, I seem to cook in bigger quantities then ever needed. It may have something to do with the Jew/Italian hybrid in me.
Joining us was my roommate, Jacqueline, and very close friend of mine, Margaret. I made roasted potatoes and tomatoes, chicken, and this green bean and cherry tomato salad that I’ve seem to fallen in love with [not my picture, by the way]. And I think the dressing goes a lot farther with some garlic salt and basil. Moomie said she liked it too so I figured I’d pass along the recipe from one of my favorite food and recipe blogs, Smitten Kitchen.
After the ginormous crabfeast at my apartment a few weeks back and then this, I’m realizing that I like entertaining a whole lot more than I figured. I enjoy it when folks and friend stuff their faces, sit back content, full and drunk with good conversation. I like it when laughter reverberates off the trees in my backyard.And I like learning how to cook. No offense, Moomie. I mean, you taught me the basics. I know when pasta is perfectly tender. I know how to fry an egg. But I want recipes of my own. It’s kinda neat to find those.

This past Sunday evening, Moomie and Daddy Boy came by my new apartment, which they had yet to see, for a little dinner. Actually, it was more like a big dinner. When I cook, I seem to cook in bigger quantities then ever needed. It may have something to do with the Jew/Italian hybrid in me.

Joining us was my roommate, Jacqueline, and very close friend of mine, Margaret. I made roasted potatoes and tomatoes, chicken, and this green bean and cherry tomato salad that I’ve seem to fallen in love with [not my picture, by the way]. And I think the dressing goes a lot farther with some garlic salt and basil. Moomie said she liked it too so I figured I’d pass along the recipe from one of my favorite food and recipe blogs, Smitten Kitchen.

After the ginormous crabfeast at my apartment a few weeks back and then this, I’m realizing that I like entertaining a whole lot more than I figured. I enjoy it when folks and friend stuff their faces, sit back content, full and drunk with good conversation. I like it when laughter reverberates off the trees in my backyard.And I like learning how to cook. No offense, Moomie. I mean, you taught me the basics. I know when pasta is perfectly tender. I know how to fry an egg. But I want recipes of my own. It’s kinda neat to find those.

Don’t feel guilty, Moomie.

I took one look at those pictures and thought to myself, [content sigh] I am such an individual. Red tights? Psshhh, I’d wear those now if I could!

When arguing, remember: One person is not more right than the other; both of you are wrong.

So, there we were in the kitchen, watching Daddy Boy open his Father’s Day gifts. Jenna gave him a month’s cable subscription to the Tennis Channel. You baked him cake and cupcakes. I got him a yoga mat and — underwear and socks.

You, Evil Child, looked at the packages and said: “Is this my life 30 years from now? Getting my husband underwear and socks?”

To which I said: “You should be so lucky to have a relationship that long. Lucky, too, that you know each other long enough to know what your husband needs, however boring it may be. That’s intimacy.

Yeah, underwear is boring and anything but romantic. But hear me out on this one:

Boring is good. Friendship is good. And your dad and I are friends. He’s my best friend. We’ve grown up together. Which is not to say that we don’t go our own ways, at times at least.

Maybe that’s a sign of a good, or even good-enough, relationship: that you have other interests, go your separate ways because that’s where your feet and interests — even passions — take you. See, we all have our separate paths. The key/hope/goal is for them is to be parallel, with lots of crossover.

Sometimes when you’re on your parallel tracks and doing things like reading, playing the trumpet, going on vacation with a girlfriend, building things with 2 x 4’s, you look over the tracks and see your mate, you cross over. You and your mate realize that you miss each other. Sometimes, you see that your mate needs something, be it a companion or helping hand. Sometimes your mate simply needs new underwear and socks.

So that’s why Daddy Boy got new underwear and socks for Father’s Day — along with a yoga mat. I dragged him to a yoga class a few weeks ago and he liked it. I’m trying to encourage him to attend other classes because he sits all day and I want him to stretch. My best friend in the whole wide world needs to stretch.

In other words, love is often about boring things. I’ll take boring any day.

 

Oh, dear … these photos make me feel really guilty! Why? Check out the red tights.

First, in my defense let me say that I wanted you to have a “well-rounded” childhood; hence, in addition to other “learning opportunities,” I signed you up for a dance class. Good, Moomie! But I also didn’t want to buy the “uniform” that went along with it. Three reasons:

  1. Dad and I were grad students and money was tight. Alas, the tutu (a gift from a relative) came sans tights.
  2. I was a product of the Sixties and felt obligated to rebel against the status quo. I resented having to conform, especially when it came to girls wearing pink.
  3. You already had tights, a perfectly fine, indeed serviceable, pair. So what if they were red? Red was arty, and it lent itself to the whole I-am-woman-hear-me-roar theme.

Anyway, when it came time for your dance recital, I cringed because you were the only kid who wasn’t wearing the “uniform.” I wasn’t cringing at you but at my not getting you pink tights so you “matched” the other girls.

Those red tights of yours really stuck out, and it was blatently obvious that I had failed yet another mommie-test. I got all paranoid, wondering what the other mothers were thinking. I could almost hear them say, “What is she cheap, or something? Did she really have to be practical when it came to something so important in a little girl’s life? Doesn’t she know the Sixties are over?”

Of course this was all in my mind. No one was talking about me (at least not aloud). And yet, when I see these photos, I keep “hearing” the other moms’ whisper: “Those red tights are going to scar that kid for life. Ten years of therapy, minimum.”

Still, I feel awful, most especially when I see the photo of you sitting by yourself, looking pensive (depressed?) Were you thinking, “I wish I had pink tights like the other kids. I am so embarrassed, I’ll just sit on the sidelines and try to blend into the wall.”

Maybe I did scar you for life … Is that why you didn’t grow up to be a dancer? Had I not failed another mommie-test, would you now be with the New York Ballet?

As a fellow writer, I thought you would enjoy these. I wish I had written them, but, alas, they arrived in an email. Kudos to the author!

  • Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.
  • One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.
  • Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  • If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
  • The main reason that Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
  • I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
  • What if there were no hypothetical questions?
  • Is there another word for synonym?
  • If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?
  • If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?
  • One nice thing about egotists: They don’t talk about other people.
  • Does the Little Mermaid wear an algaebra?
  • Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
  • Is it possible to have a Civil War?
  • If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?
  • If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?
  • If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?
  • Why are hemorrhoids call “hemorrhoids” instead of “assteroids”?
  • Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
  • Can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?

NOTE: I wrote this piece years ago, when you were a babe and I was syndicating “Sunshine,” my parenting column. Ah, the memories it revives — eeek!!

I’m a mom who works at home. For those who think I’m being redundant — what mom doesn’t work at home? — let me be specific: I work for a living in my living room.

It’s not exactly an executive suite. There are blocks and rattles where leather chairs and oak filing cabinets should be. But it’s mine, at least a small corner of it, from which I write pieces like this one and others on parenting issues.

Working at home has its advantages. The dress is informal. It’s an easy commute, and there’s an eating establishment right around the corner (unfortunately). But it also has its drawbacks, especially if you have an infant around, as I do.

My daughter, as much as she loves me, has little respect for my work. For while she devours what I write — when I can’t get it out of her mouth — she’d rather I spend my time on other, more important things, namely her.

To be able to spend time with her is why I decided to work at home in the first place. Before she was born, I envisioned myself floating effortlessly from writing table to changing table, producing wonderful tracts on motherhood while producing a wonderful child. I would work as she slept, or so the plan went. It never occurred to me that I would give birth to an insomniac, or that I’d be trading a 9-5 job for one that began at 6 a.m. and ended at midnight.

To work at home, I quickly discovered, is to work in snatches of time and to pray that you can pick up something as quickly as you’ve put it down.

To work at home — as a writer at least — is to be foolhardy. You’re always chancing that the legislator or educator you’ve called for a quote won’t call back at an inopportune moment (e.g., when you kid’s pretending her cereal is hair mousse or when she’s looking for just the right light socket to stick her finger into.)

But inevitably, the phone does ring.

For example, one evening several months ago, I was wrapping presents on the living room floor when the physician I had been trying to reach called. Just as I picked up the receiver, I heard a loud gurgle coming from my daughter’s diaper. She had let loose a mudslide on the rug.

What to do? Hang up? Scream out that I’d call back later?

Unfortunately, if the doctor and I didn’t talk then, we couldn’t talk until after my deadline. So I went ahead with the interview, taking notes with one hand, while wrapping my daughter’s backside in wrapping paper and tape with the other.

Luckily, things like this don’t happen often. Neither my rug nor I could take it. But that’s not to say that most other workdays pass uneventfully or efficiently. Not when I’m playing working mom one moment and just plain mom the next.

Slowly, however, I’m getting used to feeling that I’ve got a split personality. And I’m getting used to the interruptions. I’ve even come to welcome them. After all, one of the greatest pleasures of work is goofing off from work. And what better way to goof off than to have a willing accomplice, one who can’t snitch because she can’t yet talk.

Here’s another writing story that came in my email. So dear writer daughter of mine, what say you about our writing a tandem story?

This is offered by an English professor from the University of Colorado as an actual class assignment:

The Creative Writing professor told his class one day:

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting next to his or her desk.

“As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me.

“The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students:

The story:

First paragraph by Rebecca: At first, Laurie couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Second paragraph by Bill: Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. “A.S. Harris to Geostation 17,” he said into his transgalactic communicator. “Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far…” But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

Rebecca:

 He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. ”Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel,” Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. “Why must one lose one’s innocence to become a woman?” she pondered wistfully.

Bill:

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu’udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through the Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu’udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast  of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized even poor, stupid Laurie.

Rebecca

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

Bill:

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. ”Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F—KING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I’m such an air headed bimbo. I guess I’ve read too many Danielle Steele novels!”

Rebecca:

A$$h@le.

Bill:

B*tch!

Rebecca:

F*** YOU - YOU NEANDERTHAL!!

Bill:

In your dreams, Ho. Go drink some tea.

Teacher

 A+ — I really liked this one.

Me and my moomie (aka your grandma) on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, CO.

Me and my moomie (aka your grandma) on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, CO.