Mar 29 2010

Catch ya on the flip side.

palm_treeTomorrow we leave for Tulum, Meheeeeco! Aside from the fact that my house seems to have sprouted piles of clothes like zits on an adolescent fry cook: those to be washed, those to be given away, those to be packed for the trip, those to be packed away for the season, I’m excited. I’m excited to be going somewhere I’ve never been before. I’m excited to be staying in a tiny hotel that’s not on the grid, where we’ve been encouraged to bring flashlights for nighttime reading. I’m excited to eat real Mexican food and for my kids to practice their Spanish. I’m excited to unplug, sit, do nothing but contemplate my toes in the sand. I’m excited to feel the sun on my skin, smell the ocean, hear the cacophony of unfamiliar birds. I’m excited to go to Easter mass in Mexico and take in the glorious pageantry. I’m excited to go shopping in a little bodega for Easter bunny goodies (I’ve heard the Mexican easter bunny is way more chill than his American hermano). I’m excited to write until my hand aches, with a good old fashioned pen and paper. I’m excited to sniff out some yoga, maybe even a massage. I’m excited to spend more of my day outside than inside, to feel the prickle of saltwater drying on my shoulders. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some laundry to do.

Mar 29 2010

The secret to success

according to Erykah Badu. I love this. I love her.

Mar 28 2010

Making school lunch is a pain in the apple.

img_sackLunchI wrote another article over at Simple Good and Tasty about making lunch for my kids and ALL that entails. Check it out here if you’re so inclined!

Mar 28 2010

Saint James’ perch.

sjamesIn our kitchen we have one little spot, with one little stool, at which we keep the laptop. It’s the spot where Doctor Dash and I each have our first sips of coffee in the morning, checking email through bleary eyes. It’s the spot where Dash has a beer after work while I finish cooking dinner. We chat, a little or a lot, depending on the vagaries of mood and stress. It’s the spot where we listen to and download music. It’s the spot where I do a lot of my writing and most of my surfing. It’s not the most comfortable spot in the world, but if we’re downstairs, it’s most likely to be where Dash or I are sitting. 

So if you’re a boy who likes to snuggle, you figure out a way to fit in that spot. I can’t tell you how many times he has come down in the morning with crazy bed head wearing his blanket like a shepherd and slipped in behind me on the stool. Taking a cue from the other primates of the world, he seems to understand instinctively that even when you’re too big for mama’s front side, there may still be room for you on mama’s backside. It wasn’t until I saw Saint James sidle in behind Dash that I took note of it with the part of my brain that actually notices things. Perched as he was, he reminded me of a lemur or a monkey. But unlike a lemur or a monkey, who might cling to a parent’s back for protection or mobility or warmth, Saint James perches just because.

Because he can still fit.

Because he wants to.

Mar 23 2010

Black Eyed Peas – served up hot!

black-eyed-peas-at-the-xcel-center.4585808.36Photo by B Fresh Photography

Dash and I took Supergirl and Saint James to see the Black Eyed Peas last night and hooooooo Fergie, patron saintess of bootilicious booty-antics, was it ever a spectacle! I realize that every shred of live music we go see ends up on this blog drenched in hyperbole with a cherry on top.* I was trying to describe the experience to Lady Shutterbug this afternoon and I prefaced my panting phone swoon with the excuse that I’m a junky for anything that gets my adrenaline pumping. I think I excused myself because I’m starting to feel a tad abashed about falling head over heels for every single damn concert I go to. I’m a total lightweight, a rube, an easy mark and I would be a terrible music reviewer – Aack! Luuuuuuved these mo fos! They played coconuts and whistled but ohmyGod they rocked me Amadeus! Wooohoo! Woooo! Ya, Rolling Stone, you can just forget about hiring Peevish Mama. I suck at music reviews because nothing gets me all jacked up like loud live music and any shred of objectivity and respectability go right out the window as soon as those first strains go in my ears and down through my guts to my toes and back up again and settle in my ass, which remains a fiery bucking blur for the duration and usually the better part of the next day too.** That’s not really true, but it’s sort of true. It’s a bit of a curse, really. That’s not really true either. It’s a gift. Well, that’s not true. Some might say it’s a weapon. Yes, that’s it, my ass is a double edged sword – and no one, not even I, knows for sure whether it is to be used for good or evil. The base in my chest (Nanook calls it the defib – as in the doctor pulls the stethescope from his ears and gravely intones: “M’am, I’m afraid you have hip hop heart”), the crush of bodies, the flying sweat, the screaming and the music, the sweet, sweet music, go straight to the pleasure center in my brain and for those hours, there is no where, NO WHERE on earth I would rather be.

So all of this is just crazy talk for: take everything I say with a grain (or five hundred) of salt. Except that I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the show was over the top, off the hook and full-on proof that the Peas are SUPERSTAHS for a reason. Dash and I don’t really like to see bands in large venues anymore, but anything we missed in terms of immediacy and flying spittle, was more than compensated for with visual and auditory bling and general high style technical wizardry. There were lasers and robots and huge flashing screens and shiny costumes and synthesized voices and break dancing and such a sustained eruption of confetti that the entire Xcel Energy Center looked pixilated. At one point, Taboo was singing and flying over the crowd on a motorcycle and I questioned whether it had been wise to expose Saint James’ and Supergirl to this as their first concert experience; what could possibly measure up?

Apropos of the costumes, I would like someone to follow me around with Fergie’s wind machine. And a few of her futuristic bodysuits would be nice too. And if I could get those freaky android flygirls to dance around me all the time, well, I guess I would like that quite a bit. She’s hot. And I hear from my friends who were down on the floor in the mad pulsing fray, that she had a wee bruise on her buttock. How sweet! How human of her! See, she may look like a sexy sci-fi space diva but she gets bruises on her ass just like the rest of us.

The Black Eyed Peas may be larger than life and everywhere you look, but the truth remains that they can still sing. And dance. Their music is nothing if not rumpshakin’ musical crack. It’s catchy as shit. busted out a little DJ set in the middle of the show which was truly one of the most enjoyable 20 minutes in my life, and as he rapped and scatted over Nirvana, the Chili Peppers, Estelle, Journey, The Eurythmics and more, I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t dying, DYING to be down in the mosh pit with Crackerjack, Nanook and the hubbies.

santiloupeasBut a glance to my left at Saint James, his baseball hat on sideways, pumping his little fist in the air, drinking in every second and not missing a beat, more than made up for my stadium seats. He was ripe for the experience. He swayed his arms with the crowd, yelled, danced, clapped, held up my lit phone, and basically took in the concert with touching wide-eyed sincerity and genuine excitement. Dash said he had as much fun watching Saint James watch the concert, as actually watching the concert.*** And I couldn’t agree more. Your first concert is a big deal, something you never forget and I was hell bent on being privy to theirs. Happily, it was a great one . . . but, then again, aren’t they all? What was your first concert? Tell me about it in the comments section.****

*Case in point, a few months ago Dash and I went to see Zero 7 with Tartare when she was in for a visit and despite fond memories of Epic from my crazy Snoop Dog night with Crackerjack, the show was kind of drag – experimental, dissonant and a bit bizarre (with fleeting moments of total coolness). One of the female lead singers was totally cheesing me out too – she was trying way too hard to be the husky voiced sexy nature girl and I wasn’t buying her hair-in-the-face crooning. I spent the whole time muttering under my breath and quashing the impulse to flick a hair elastic at her stupid freckle face so she could put her mane up. In fact she irritated me so much that I ended up swooning, scaring the bejeezus out of Tartare when I actually slid onto the floor in the public restroom – previously unheard behavior for a germaphobe like myself. So, ya, I hated the band and then I fainted. Can you blame me for not blogging about that? But I had fully intended to, because I had a two lucid thoughts worth exploring when I was on the bathroom floor of Epic: 1. Maybe my meat-eating ways were poisoning me and causing me to pass out at concerts; and 2. It was unbecoming and unseemly for a mother of three to be on the floor of a nightclub bathroom, whatever the reason.  

**Sometimes I really can’t seem to stop dancing and I start to wonder whether I might have a tumor.

***We bought tix for the BEP for Saint James and Supegirl as their main Christmas gift and I cannot say enough about the shift away from the material gift toward the experiential gift. I wasn’t sure at first, but now I am. On Christmas Eve they opened up cans of black eyed peas that I had wrapped and put under the tree while Dash queued up I Gotta Feeling and they’ve had all these months to look forward to the big night. The anticipation, the delayed gratification and mostly, the memories are so much better than another lego set. 

**** Query whether it is perhaps time to reign it in when one’s blog post has footnotes.

Mar 22 2010

One uninspired hot tip.

I haven’t had much by way of writing fodder lately. Or maybe it’s the writer, not the fodder that’s the problem. I have found, in the past, that when I have nothing to write about, writing is paradoxically, what shakes loose the block. You, my dear reader, have been subjected to too many of my attempts to write myself out of a corner. Even when I don’t explicitly come out and say so, there are certainly times when I hit the publish button with a disgusted sigh. I have twenty minutes before the sitter comes for Devil Baby, so we can take the other two to see the Black Eyed Peas. Surely, I will have much to report tomorrow. For now, I want to blow away this cloud hovering around my temples, so I can step out with a clear head tonight. I hereby offer you a hot tip as a token of my appreciation for coming to visit me here, in this arid land of peevishness.

Funny People: ok, not exactly hot, this tip, but I’m guessing at least some of you haven’t yet seen this movie. It’s directed by Judd Apatow, of  Superbad, 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked-Up, but it’s Judd Apatow doing something really risky, really successfully: dramedy. This movie is funny and sad and touching and toes the schmaltz line without ever stepping over it. It’s lovely and raunchy, a delicate balance, indeed. And Adam Sandler? He’s epitomizes the sad, no – angry clown in this movie and he was damn good; I would so rather see him actually act than talk like a baby. And it turns out, the man can act. Here it is, days later, and the movie is still slipping around in my head. This never happened with Apatow’s other movies, funny as they were. I highly recommend it and with that, I bid you good night.


Mar 16 2010

One magic minute.

louliI think you see people at their purest when they don’t know they’re being watched. Written out, that’s a painfully obvious statement. Yesterday I dropped Supergirl off at school and although I don’t typically walk her in, I do stay and wait until she gets in the door. She ran toward school, her backpack bouncing against her rump, turning around once to wave and blow a kiss. Just like that, she stepped seamlessly out of her home life into her school life, her public life. She had her hand on the door when she spotted a Golden Retriever tied up to the fence. She jerked the door, changed her mind and walked over to the dog, her hand outstretched and facing up — just as Red Vogue taught her. First she knelt, then she sat, her face level with the dog’s. She was petting him, and this is the part that killed me, she found the dog’s tag and bent her face in to read it. It mattered to her. Who is this dog? The dog rested his chin, for just a moment, on top of her bent head. Kids streamed past her as she sat with the dog, running her fingers through his thick biscuit coat. I watched from the car, my foot on the brake, feeling like a voyeur into the very essence of sweetness. How is this girl even mine?

Mar 16 2010

Red Lentil Soup

Hey, yo, I have another post over at Simple Good and Tasty. Pop on over if you’re inclined to read about me lurking and fretting in the bulk food section of our local co-op. I seem to be doing a lot of lurking and fretting lately. What, exactly, do you suppose is my problem? Just feeling lurky and fretty, and I’m not sure why.

Mar 15 2010

I heart Jamie Oliver

jamie-s-kitchen-bookRemember the Naked Chef? That cute, British, slacker chef who cooked fresh food in a really simple, sloppy, adorable and inviting way? Well, he’s no slacker. He’s been busy and I realized just how busy when my editor, Shari, over at Simple Good and Tasty emailed me the link to his acceptance speech of the TED Prize. He carries a powerful message and, man, would it ever behoove this country to lend an ear and make some serious changes. If you have a little time and a thing for scruffy passionate Brits, do yourself a favor and watch this. If not, here are some highlights from his speech. 

“I profoundly believe that the power of food has a primal place in our homes that binds us to the best bits of life.”

“Fact. Diet related disease is the biggest killer in the United States, right now, here today.” 

On school lunches: ” There’s not enough veggies at all. French fries are considered a vegetable. Pizza for breakfast. They don’t even get given crockery. Knives and forks? No, they’re too dangerous . . . and the way I look at it is, if you don’t have knives and forks in your school, you’re purely endorsing, from a state level, fast food. Because it’s handheld. And yes, by the way, it is fast food. It’s sloppy joes, it’s burgers, it’s wieners, it’s pizzas . . . “

“There needs to be a new standard of fresh, proper food for your children.”

“Under the circumstances, it’s profoundly important that every American child leaves school knowing how to cook ten recipes . . .”

“My wish is for you to help a strong sustainable movement to educate every child about food, to inspire families to cook again, and to empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”

Ooof! Gives me chills. His new show, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” premieres Friday March 26, 8:00-9:00 p.m., CT, on ABC. Gentlemen, start your TiVos.

Mar 11 2010

A jig and a tear.

EDM_Feat_IrishDance_02I’m kinda known for being a weeper. There are certain sure-fire triggers that’ll always get the water works going: sad movies, happy movies, children singing, extreme frustration, weddings, funerals, Baptisms, First Communions, chopping onions, handwritten Valentines cards, gin, and soccer games when my son’s hair is looking especially awesome. Note that Irish step dancing is NOT on my list. 

I’m not quite sure what happened today, but I took Devil Baby to Saint James’ school to watch Corda Mor (a local Irish step dancing school) perform, and when they started, I felt that familiar prick in the place where my eyes and nose meet up for coffee. Jesus, I thought to myself, trying to pull it together. What is up with me? The step dancing girls were even wearing these crazy curly wigs which came in only three colors: blond, brown, and mouse brown. That really should have been more than enough to pull me out of the moment, but alas, no amount of fake hair was going to thwart my melancholia. Irish step dancing? Really? I’m not even Irish. 

I definitely tend to have a physical reaction to huge displays of talent, but that runs more along the lines of chills, not tears. When Shaun White nailed that crazy second run on the half pipe after he had won the gold, you could have grated cheese on my goosebumps. Same with exceptional singing, rapping, dancing, guitar solos – chills, baby. But Irish step dancing? Really? 

Devil Baby sat in my lap, rapt and clapping in time with the music. I peered around to catch a look at her expression and she was all eyes, her mouth pursed in a perfect little O. Do you like it? I whispered in her ear. She reached back, placed her whole hand flat on my cheek and held it there for a moment before withdrawing it to continue clapping. I realized in a rush that it wasn’t the girls on the stage who were making me emotional, it was the girl in my lap. I had done this very simple thing that required no effort or money at all and she was LOVING it. She has historically been so unpredictable that I had kind of stopped trying to take her to things, show her things. Remember our last story time? Ya, well, that was our last story time. I don’t know how to explain it apart from admitting that she’s naughty, I’m lazy, time flies and then, poof! I find myself on the verge of tears because my daughter is actually sitting in my lap, snuggling with me and enjoying something. Enjoying something with me. Together. It dawned on me that even though we’re always together, it never feels like we’re together

And then I really lost it.

This is what I’ve wanted all along. This. This was an absolute given with Saint James, an absolute pleasure with Supergirl. This. This is why I decided I wanted another baby. This. Could it be that it’s not too late for Devil Baby and I to have this?

Mar 9 2010

Spring? Hell, no.

montiOnly a fool, or a three year old, would believe that spring is around the corner. Yes, the snow may be melting, slowly exposing street grime that can be carbon tested back to November. Yes, we can see patches of sodden grass and all manner of balls and toys that have been buried for months. But it’s only March 9, which means that we, my Minnesota friends, are far from finished. But if you’re like me, you are finished. You’re ding-a-ling-a-DONE. I’ve exhausted all my love for stews, reading, and cozy fires. I want crocuses, sunshine and pollen. STAT. Christmas, Valentines Day, Tiny Dancing and the Olympics are gone, leaving nothing to look forward to. The worst is over, yes. But as far as I’m concerned, the hard part starts now. The thaw in Minnesota is a long, drawn out, dramatic affair – it is Mother Nature being the biggest, most flamboyant tease she knows how to be. One step forward. Two steps back. Lubricated by a whole hell of a lot of mud. My kids have forsaken their winter coats for weeks now and I can hardly blame them. I feel the same way about my matronly puffer. But dare I wash them and put them away? Only if I want to bring about a giant blizzard followed by a freezing clipper. Sigh. At least our thick winter blood is coming in handy. Dash and I spent most of Sunday sitting on our stoop, reading the paper, watching the kids play, tilting our faces to the watery sun. My kids alternated between snow boots, rain boots and bare feet all day long. Some people might think we’re crazy. But we know we’re not crazy. We’re just desperate.

Mar 6 2010

The Avett Brothers

874-0Got my ass rocked off last night, which is always a good thing, but particularly so when you weren’t necessarily expecting to get your ass rocked off. An unexpected, revelatory, surprise ass rocking is the very very best kind. And when steely banjos and flying cellos are involved, well, then you just stand back on your heels and go, Shit, man. Who knew? Pipes knew, that’s who. That’s why he jumped on tickets for himself, Sassy Jewels, Ten Gallon, Gigi, and us as soon as they went for sale months ago. And, oh blessed Bertha, I am so glad he did!

Having given I and Love and You a few listen-throughs, I was expecting a soulful, bluegrassy, folksy show. I was not expecting to get my ass rocked off. I went in kind of blind, happy to ride along in the backseat of someone else’s idea for the night; Pipes is to be trusted in these matters. I got my first inkling that we might be in for something special during the opener: The Low Anthem. I left my group for a little scouting mission to see how far up we might be able to get and suddenly found myself in the hot pulsing belly of First Ave, totally enthralled but what I can only describe as thrashing hillbillies. They were very hairy (of head, not of body) and they were on fire, playing bluegrass like they were all hopped up on meth (which they weren’t. At least I don’t think they were). We only caught the end of their set, but it was frenetic and exhilarating, wild and raw. Speed bluegrass is not the kind of music I would necessarily listen to on my own, but so goes the magic of live music. When there’s that kind of energy and musicianship raging in front of your eyes, pummeling your rib cage, hell, it’s really hard not to get caught up. I was practically panting when I found my friends again.

When the Avett Brothers came on, First Ave exploded. They were ridiculously good. Ree. Dick. U. Lous. Now I get it. NOW I GET IT! I get why they’ve been sold out for  months. They were beyond sweet and gracious with the adoring crowd – obviously jacked up to be performing. North Carolina boys happy to be in Minnesota for a night. The brothers are beautiful song writers first and foremost, but man can they sing. The eldest, Scott, has a superhero voice – it’s shot through with gold streaks, completely unique and seemingly indefatigable – like an alloy of a man’s voice and a precious metal. After two hours of some serious singing, he sounded as fresh as a daisy – like I said, a friggin’ superhero. His brother, Seth, has the dulcet, pretty voice, the perfect sound to wrap under and over and all around his brother’s. Mmm. Wrap me up in that blanket anytime. Like sexy overgrown leprechauns, they jumped around, played a bunch of different instruments, tore through song after song – their talent and musicality was staggering – as was their energy. There’s a reedy blue grassy vein through all of it, but often they teetered into punk and the next song would have a total Buddy Holly feel to it and then, just as deftly, they’d woo us into a smoky honky tonk shack – all with a cool, sharp edge. It was just an amazing, amazing show, and now, listening to their album again, I realize it’s all in there – beautiful song writing with deep roots in country, folk, blues and rock served up in a completely modern, clean, brilliant way. It was good. Really good. Lucky fucking us.

Mar 4 2010

Stillness at 75 mph

highwayOn Friday afternoon, I packed Doctor Dash’s car with entirely too much stuff for a 36 hour getaway and hit the road. The book club ladies had left a couple hours prior, and I was anxious to catch up so I wouldn’t miss anything. I hadn’t even considered that the drive might be anything more than a means to an end, but as soon as I hit that open highway, I felt my whole body go aaaaahhh . . . 

Man, I had forgotten how good it feels to drive. Solo, no less. No kids. No stops. No satellite radio. Just me, my thoughts, some tunes and the road unfurling ahead of me like a gray ribbon.

I grew up in suburban Detroit – car country. The day I got my license was – let me see – the fifth happiest day of my life: marrying Doctor Dash, the birth of each monkey, and then, yep, getting my license. I went to the DMV on my sixteenth birthday (duh, waiting another day would have been an exquisite torture) and the first thing I did afterwards was drive my sweet ass cream Buick Electra station wagon with wood panelling over to Sweet Sue’s house. We were besides ourselves. We were crazed. We were euphoric. We went to see Manhunter at the Pontiac Showcase Theaters, because we needed a destination. The movie scared the crap out of us and we were so frazzled and giggly when it finished that neither of us noticed that I was driving south on Telegraph Road instead of north towards home. We were deep in the hoods of downtown Detroit before we figured it out and sheepishly turned around.

Not surprisingly, I was a total lead foot. Over the next years, I managed to cry my way out of three traffic stops before an Indiana cop decided he wasn’t buying my shit and slapped me with a huge ticket. I had been driving back to college and I remember wailing something about being soooo excited to see my friends because I missed them soooo much. I guess he didn’t find me and my giant perm and crocodile tears all that compelling because he said I don’t care and walked away. To which I shrieked You’re so mean

The summer between freshman and sophomore year in college, Sweet Sue and I convinced our parents to let us go on a tour of the East Coast. We crashed with friends and relatives, ate, people watched, and schemed about how to get into bars with only one fake I.D. between the two of us. Despite all our underage drinking shenanigans, it was the epic drive that I remember best. We drove fast (Sweet Sue got a ticket) and we drove far. There was a lot of Van Morrisson played on that trip.

And of course, college was sprinkled with so many great road trips: Dead shows, football games, Mardi Gras, spring break, camping. It was all about getting out of South Bend, maybe trading cloudy skies for some sun, scaring up an adventure in some new place. Same friends, different location – beers, laughter and running around in technicolor.

In my twenties, road trips weren’t always so frivolous. To and from law school and first jobs in big firms, I drove with angst and stress whispering in my ears. I turned up the music and wished for the road to go on forever, for the hours to stretch and multiply, keeping the crush of reality at bay for just a bit longer. As long as the wheels were moving, time might just stand still.

I had forgotten all about the joy of the open road. Call me crazy, but it’s hugely compromised by having to think about snacks and DVDs and toys that beep. Once upon a time all you needed was a joint, a pack of gum and a full tank of gas. What a lovely discovery to find that a long drive is still a total pleasure under the right circumstances – specifically, alone or with adult company and going somewhere fun. 

And say what you will, but, America, with all its warts and freaks, is a great place to road trip. Endless space, sun, wind, music, open road. It’s a good place to run. It’s a good place to chase. It’s a good place to drive far. Think far.

Mar 2 2010

Southeast Asian Squash Curry

statuesI’ve got another post over at Simple Good and Tasty. Check it out.

Mar 1 2010

Ladies on Ice.

lady2Last night as I shampooed Devil Baby’s hair, my thoughts kept straying to my weekend away with the book club ladies. Mere hours before, I had been sitting in one of the various roving sloppy circles of the weekend (in front of the windows with the view of the lake, in front of the fire place, around the wooden farm table, on two benches in the sun at the tip of Stout’s Island) surrounded by a near constant flow of words and laughter, maybe a few tears and quiet moments. Devil Baby didn’t want me to wash her hair and as she whined and resisted, I thought about the women who let me say what I needed to say, without judgment, with nods and murmurs of understanding, with stories of their own. I felt physically exhausted (more on that in a second), but mentally alert – almost limber. The way you’d feel after one of those rare classes in college where you felt like you cracked through to some greater truths, some deeper understanding of whatever topic you were discussing.

I’ve said it before, but these book club ladies are super analytical. They are processors and thinkers. They’re also highly verbal people. So you sit in enough circles with them and you’re going to hear really nuanced and insightful explanations or theories about the stuff that’s on their minds. They are also lyrical and romantic and curious. Lady Shutterbug has this completely endearing habit of saying “O.K., I’ve got a question for you guys . . .” and throwing out some juicy dilemma or a giant octopus of a topic. The word soulful came up a few times over the weekend – it’s what we look for in a yoga teacher, in a book, in a song, in a friend. But to be soulful, I think you must be honest. And to be honest, you must be brave. And the ladies are brave. (Not that you’d know it, judging by our mini frights over the course of the weekend: country folk on snowmobiles with night vision goggles, cat burglars, cracking ice, grandpa poltergeists). I think my take-away from the weekend, the reason I feel so clear in my head (despite all the wine, etcetera) is that I got to speak and hear the truth for hours and hours and hours. A mother’s truth. A wife’s truth. A woman’s truth. 

I wasn’t privvy to every single conversation, but as we meandered through the thicket of our lives right now – motherhood, sex, food, balance, friendship, botox (just talking, just talking), work, non-work, house work, clothes, husbands, art, faith, bras, meditation, moods, yoga, books – I felt like there was so much disclosure, so much sharing, but equally as much listening and mental note taking. We are not old, but we are not young. As such, I think we’re aware that we’re learning a few things along the way. The tricks, tips, and shortcuts. The surefire cures, the hit recipes, the best this or that, the worse this or that. I’m a huge fan of a “hot tip” and I feel like I was scurrying around, gathering the ladies’ hot tips like falling leaves. On the topic of food alone, I can’t wait to make Lady Pretty Twigs’ green goddess dressing, Lady Doctah K’s oven ribs and mushroom barley soup, Lady Tabouli’s kugel, Lady Shutterbug’s eggbake, Lady Homeslice’s chocolate mousse cake, and Lady Peace’s salad with stir fried veggies. And Lady Doctah Poodle, her fruit was fab, but what I really can’t stop thinking about is something she said right before I left: that perhaps it’s not a question of being a good mother or a bad mother, but of being an authentic mother. This is a really beautiful way to look at this job we have now and will have for the rest of our lives. It allows for imperfections and yet the standard is lofty, one worth calling to mind again and again, like a mantra.

But the weekend wasn’t all talk. There might have been a little drinking. There might have been a little dancing. There might have been a little singing. And there might have been some shrieking and laughing. And some of that might have happened indoors. But it all might have happened out on the white expanse of the frozen lake under a full moon, too. I must say, the ladies went a little crazy. A little really crazy. They cut loose. Soooooper loose. They even indulged me and my ridiculous notions and took turns with my cushy headphones and did a little tiny dancing. OH, TINY DANCING, HOW I LOVE AND ADORE YOU! We gave those country folk in their icehouses an eyeful and an earful, I’m afraid.  The image of my friends, running, spinning, swaying, singing, falling onto their backs and gaping up at the moon is something I’ll not soon forget. And I suspect the same goes for the country folk cowering in those ice houses.

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