Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Do You Love?

There's this little reality TV show some of you may have heard of called American Idol. I have been addicted this season. I'm not sure why, some seasons spark my interest more than others. And this go-around...I'm borderline obsessed. And I have thunk until my thunker hurts about all this "controversy" surrounding Adam Lambert. I read an article the other day on about whether the show is ready for a gay winner. Now, Adam has not disclosed his sexuality, so why was there an entire article on a major news website discussing whether or not America is ready for a gay winner of American Idol? I don't know, that's why I'm asking you. It bothers me....last year when the competition was down to the two Davids I didn't see any articles about whether the country was prepared to vote for its first Mormon American Idol. Why does his sexuality even have to be an issue? And because I don't like Adam Lambert I am a bigot or homophobe or close-minded or you come up with a word you'd like to call me. Bring it.

I am baffled by how much people love this guy. What's there to love? I'll admit he's got a GOOD voice, even a great voice, when he actually sings. has to do that scream. I guess in the music world they call it falsetto, but it is about as pleasant to me as listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. I do not like it. And then there's him....Adam. My 14- and 15-year-old Mia Maids adore him. My sister-in-law is a huge fan. And there are oodles and oodles and oodles of others out there who think he's the greatest thing to happen to American Idol. Kara DioGuardi had it right on when she called Adam "sleazy." I look at him and he is everything I do not want my children to be. This has nothing to do with his alleged sexual preference. It has everything to do with his self-absorption, his smugness, his fakeness, his absolute sleaziness.

I know American Idol is about singing, and if you think Adam Lambert has the better voice, vote for him. I personally think he's an actor, a chameleon, and a fake. He'd be fun to see on Broadway, but if I had to listen to him in my car I think I would find myself swerving into oncoming traffic to put myself out of my misery.

I like Kris. Surprise, surprise. I like his humility. I like that he seems like an all-around GOOD guy. I like his voice and his music and his style. I think he's more talented, but less experienced than Adam. If Kris were gay, but still the same Kris that I see on TV, I'd still like him. As much as I currently like him. If Kris had pictures of himself doing distasteful things with anyone, male or female, on the Internet; if he was obsessed with himself and his looks; if he acted like he was the greatest thing since peanut butter, then my opinion of him would lessen. I don't know Kris - all I know is what I see. But if I had to choose an "idol" for my kids (and myself) to look up to, hands down I choose Kris over Adam. Apparently America sees it quite differently, and maybe I'm more old-fashioned than I realized.

I don't know who will win.....the odds are pointing to Adam, and since one definition of idol is "a form or appearance visible but without substance," then I'll concede. Adam definitely is worthy of the title, because I can't think of anyone more visible, yet with so little substance.

Take That, Swine Flu

CW and I had planned a backpacking trip to Havasupai Falls. My husband went with some buddies back in his former life, before there was me, and he hasn't stopped talking about it since. I was excited to go, if for no other reason than to remind myself that I can still do fun and adventurous things like I used to before I became a mommy of two. Well, as pandemics like the swine flu can be very scary things, the tribal council decided to close the falls in order to protect the community. Too bad the whole swine flu thing was ridiculously overblown. But I don't think my little phone call asking if they were serious and if maybe they'd like to reconsider opening it back up did a whole lot of GOOD. Oh well, their loss.

And Moab's gain. CW's sister and her husband were planning on accompanying us on our trip, and they decided not to let the swine flu stop them from having some fun and seeing some beautiful scenery. Too bad when CW's sister told me to keep my babysitter for that weekend it didn't actually register. I really was smart before I had children. So, last Friday we ventured to Moab, with our two girls, to enjoy a weekend with the ADULTS from my husband's side of the family. My girls thought they were pretty special, being the only kids. They actually behaved themselves splendidly, and I loved having them with us.

Grandma and Grandpa brought the four-wheelers, and we spent several hours on a couple different trails soaking in the beauty and the sun. I couldn't believe LuV didn't scream the entire time, but when she wasn't zonked out sandwiched between Grandma and Grandpa, she was shouting, "Whee!" sandwiched between CW and me. And EM had the time of her life "driving" the four-wheeler (which meant she got to sit in front) with Grandpa.

We hiked to Delicate Arch, and EM was a trooper! She walked more than I thought she would, and thank GOODness we had Super Aunt C to save the day when she needed a piggy-back ride. It was a fun, fun, fun vacation with GOOD company, GOOD food, GOOD scenery, and as far as I can tell, absolutely no swine flu outbreaks.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Broccoli Salad

EM helped me make broccoli salad for dinner. It’s one of CW’s favorites.

2 bunches broccoli tops
½ red onion, chopped
½ lb crisp bacon, crumbled
grated cheddar cheese
grapes, halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp vinegar
¼ cup sugar

I chopped broccoli while EM gnawed on it like a beaver chomping on a log. EM wanted to know if she liked “purple onions” so she tried a piece. It made her eyes and tongue burn, but she was still determined to eat it. I was proud of her for trying something new, even if she wasn’t able to eat it all. I cooked the bacon in the microwave, because it is so much easier that way, and then let LuV and EM share a slice. EM blew on the bacon for her little sister even though it wasn’t hot. LuV has two mommies. I grated cheese and EM asked why I was putting cheese in the salad. I halved the grapes and EM stole grapes as she stole glances at me, making sure she wasn’t in trouble. I put the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar into a bowl and EM stirred it all together until it was smooth and creamy. We tossed everything together and put it in the fridge until it was time for dinner. CW had several helpings, and literally licked his plate.

A Homemade Life

This was a birthday gift from my husband. He told me, “The book made me think of you.” I love it, and I took it as a compliment that a book about cooking and a life with the kitchen at its center reminded him of me. Let me peak your interest, or perhaps bore you to tears, depending on your relationship with the kitchen, with the first couple paragraphs.

“It started when I was a freshman in high school. We’d be sitting at the kitchen table, the three of us, eating dinner, when my father would lift his head from his plate and say it: ‘You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants.’ Sometimes, for good measure, he’d slap the table and let loose a long ooooh of contentment. It didn’t seem to matter what we were eating. It could have been some sliced tomatoes, or a bowl of mashed potatoes, or some fish that he’d fried in a pat of butter. At least every couple of weeks, he said it. To me, it sounded like tacky bragging, the kind of proud exaggeration that fathers specialize in. It’s the suburban man’s equivalent of ripping open his shirt and beating his chest with his fists. I would shrink into my chair, blushing hotly, the moment it crossed the threshold of his lips. I was mortified by the weird pleasure he took in our family meal. After a while, I could even sense it coming. I’d mouth the words before he could say them: You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants!

“But now I’m old enough to admit that he was right. It’s not that we knew how to cook especially well, or that we always ate food that was particularly GOOD. There were hot dogs sometimes, and cans of baked beans. Our garlic came in a jar, minced and ready, and our butter was known to go rancid. What was so satisfying, I think, was something else. It was the steady rhythm of meeting in the kitchen every night, sitting down at the table, and sharing a meal. Dinner didn’t come through a swinging door, balanced on the arm of an anonymous waiter: it was something that we made together. We built a life for ourselves, together around that table. And although I couldn’t admit it then, my father was showing me, in his pleasure and in his pride, how to live it: wholly, hungrily, loudly.”

Blueberry-Raspberry Pound Cake; Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille; Italian Grotto Eggs; Doron’s Meatballs with Pine Nuts, Cilantro, and Golden Raisins; Cider-Glazed Salmon; Slow-Roasted Tomato Pesto; Arugula Salad with Pistachios and Chocolate…and so many more! I can't wait to try these recipes.

Granted I have no idea what kirsch is, and I don’t know if my local grocery store carries crystallized ginger, and more than one recipe calls for bourbon or other such alcoholic beverages, and I’m not certain how my little girls feel about eggplant or salmon or feta, but I’m undaunted by the task. My cooking exploits are about to get a bit more adventurous – and I’m eager to broaden my kitchen repertoire!

My husband has expressed similar sentiments when we contemplate eating out… “We could go out, but your cooking is so GOOD, it’s better than any restaurant.” Many of you may share my love-hate relationship with cooking. I love to cook, when I want to cook. I don’t always enjoy the day-to-day necessity of fixing dinner, especially after a long day with the kids. I hate coming up with a weekly menu, but I love making something delicious for someone to enjoy. I love when EM says to me, “Mommy, this is GOOD.” I love to see EM’s eyes widen when she sees a plate of strawberry shortcake piled high with whipped cream. I love LuV’s barely contained excitement when she knows it’s feeding time. I love when CW nearly licks his plate clean after eating broccoli salad. I love to see empty plates and full tummies. I love little hands pouring and stirring and helping and tasting. I love the kitchen, and I guess that’s why I love this book.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Birthday Love

EM and LuV,

For my birthday you both woke up extra early because you didn't want to waste a second of my special day.

You were needy and fussy all day long because you wanted me to know how much I am needed and appreciated.

EM, you burst into tears for no apparent reason and told me, quite passionately I might add, that I had hurt your feelings because you were trying to tell me that you care very dearly what I think of you and say to you and do for you.

LuV, your two-year molars have been causing you, and therefore all of us, a great deal of pain. You asked me for medicine, in your adorable little 19-month-old voice, because you wanted me to recognize that I have a remarkable ability to comfort.

EM, you asked me why none of my friends were coming to my party because you wanted me to understand that I don’t need any more friends than my wonderful husband and two precious daughters.

EM, you threw several toys at me when I asked you to turn off Ice Age so I could watch American Idol because you were teaching me a lesson – just because it’s someone’s birthday and just because someone is older than you does not mean that they get to do whatever they want. (Actually, sometimes it does, even though it doesn't seem fair.)

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday gifts!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Sometimes I feel like I've failed as a mother. Sometimes I lose my patience, I don’t spend enough quality time with my children, I handle a situation poorly, I say “no” too many times in a day, I don’t teach them enough, I don’t love them enough. I’m not, I don’t. Sometimes I compare myself to others. Sometimes I try too hard. Sometimes I don’t try at all. Sometimes I’m overly sensitive to what others think of me. Sometimes I base my worth on someone else’s value of me. Sometimes I say mean things. Sometimes I don’t like what I see in the mirror. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I don’t have my priorities straight. Sometimes my house is beyond untidy. Sometimes I’m not a very good friend. Sometimes I’m selfish. Sometimes I beat myself up because I will never be GOOD enough.

Sometimes women are too hard on themselves. I hope you gave yourself a break on Mother’s Day and acknowledge all the GOOD you do. You deserve it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not So Subtle

To CW,

I made a mistake - early on in our marriage when I was naive and assumed you should know me well enough to be able to read my mind. I told you that some special occasion (such as Valentine's Day or my birthday or our anniversary) was not a "big deal" and you didn't need to do anything special. And you believed me. You must have been relieved to find that I, like you, found it silly and unnecessary to make a big deal on these days. I have since learned that you are a low-key, low maintenance kind of guy who does not care for such hoopla when said events involve you. Well, I was severely disappointed when nothing was done in celebration for whatever occasion I had told you not to worry about celebrating. Just in case you haven't realized after 7 years of marriage...I like to celebrate, I like to make a big deal, and I like to perhaps go a bit overboard. I will never throw you a surprise party. I will never invite the neighborhood over for cake and ice cream when you turn a year older. I will never buy you a gift without being 100% certain you will approve. But for your benefit, here are a few items on my "wish list." In the next month we will celebrate Mother's Day, my birthday, and our anniversary, hint, hint, hint.

1. A dress from here.

2. This phone.

3. A vacuum (or maybe one a little less pricey...)

5. A haircut and/or pedicure so I can look like her.

6. Dinner and a movie with you as my date.

7. This, or this, or this.

8. Something from here.

9. A bench for our bare wall.

I know that was a little "indulgent" as Simon Cowell would say, but just so long as you remember and do something to make it a special day, I'll be happy. I love you.
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