Monday, August 29, 2011

Confession - Sage For Hire

Although it is not quite time for resolutions, this past weekend I engaged my semi-annual inventory of flaws and weaknesses.


I always seem to find time in the wee hours of the night to reflect upon my failings as mother, writer, Latina, woman...and, oh yeah, wife. 


After I do that, I remind myself that I'm too lazy to change and that without these character traits I wouldn't be the same awesome Michelle Zubiate Ferchaw. Then I binge on ice cream and True Blood. 


I believe everyone should aim for my healthy level of self-confidence. It's simple, really. Ask yourself...


Have I actually tied one of my kids to their bed and taped their mouths shut? No? Mother of the Year! Holla!


Have I ever really hit my husband with the car to make a point? If not, June mother-fucking Cleaver is what you are. 


Have you once, in reality, not in daydreams, slipped arsenic in that lady's Starbucks cup after she cut you off in the parking lot with her obnoxious Escalade? Goddamn Mother Teresa would be proud. 


Lower your standards, people. That's all I'm saying. You'll be a lot effing happier. 


I'm full of wisdom. I should charge someone for these services. 


You should've been there for my maid of honor speech at my best friend's wedding. It went a little something like this... 


(First, visualize me a couple months pregnant. That's right, there's no actually baby bump but I've spent the last two months "eating for two." And I'm wearing a strapless royal blue bridesmaids dress that I had begged my Elise NOT to make me wear. Though mentally plotting my revenge, I coolly take the microphone...) 


One weekend, my husband Larry and I took a road trip to Boston with Elise and her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Chris. On the way up, we stopped at the drive-thru to get some McDonald's for lunch. As we happily drove along, I noticed something happening in the front seat.


Elise, with great love and care, was feeding Chris his french fries. One-by-one she would tenderly place them in his mouth so he could keep both hands on the wheel. They smiled at each other sweetly between bites of salty affection.


After watching this for some time, I looked over at Larry and then down at my own french fries. 


Then, I looked over at Larry again and said, "If you even so much as look at my French fries, I will kill you."


All relationships work differently, but from what I've witnessed and always known about Elise, if Chris has half as much love in his heart as she does, this marriage will work out just fine.


So, then it is up to us, as their community of family and friends, to always support them and learn from them on their new journey as husband and wife.


Since there are no words to follow such pearls of infinite wisdom, let me leave you with some photos of another one of my masterpieces. Her name is Maya. It was her first day of kindergarten. 







Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Obsession: Back to School Clothes

So tomorrow my life ends. My little baby girl will become a kindergartener. 


All summer I thought to myself, I won't cry. There's nothing to cry about. She's always been social and independent. She's gone to preschool for two years now. This isn't any different. 


But then I got one of those automated calls from her new school's principal. It was a simple reminder that tomorrow was the first day of school.


And I bawled giant, sloppy, snotty tears of heartbreak. 


So if an automated phone call can bring that on, I'm fearing full-blown hysterics tomorrow. They may need to call my mom to come pick me up. 


I actually heard a story of that happening once to a lovely Jewish secretary at Larry's office. Tomorrow may complete my own transition to an insane Jewish mother. I get all verklempt just thinking about it. 


Obviously I've been in denial in the past couple weeks. But with all the shopping to do as a distraction, who could blame me?


The cute outfits (and the important education of my oldest child) are the only things getting me out of bed at 6 a.m. I'm telling you I don't get up that early for anything. It's a good thing I went into labor at night with my two kids because if my water had broken at 6 a.m., I may have just grabbed a towel, wrapped it around myself and went back to sleep until a decent hour.


But shopping for Maya will always be my saving grace in life. Because I love me a cute get-up. It will clear away all the cobwebs and the sorrow. 'Til there's none. 


Here are a few of the key pieces I put together for my darling Bean. 


Clothes




The school day jumper from Brooklyn designer Dressing Em. It cost a small fortune but I was really disappointed that Maya's school won't have uniforms so I decided to make this jumper a part-time uniform. The plan is that she will wear it once a week. You can dress it up or down and she loves it. Especially since she prefers to only wear dresses or skirts these days.





Two more play dresses from Hanna Andersson and Tea Collection. They are easy and simple but sturdy enough to hold up to intense kinder play.




I made a special trip to Mission Viejo to check out the Zara Kids there. I'm in love with Zara but am not yet twiggy enough to wear their clothes myself. This jumper had me at the word "pinafore." 






For the days I can talk her out of dresses and skirts, it will be an outfit like this. Of course, I can't get enough of navy stripes so this sweater from Old Navy was perfect. And, on a trip to Fashion Island, I floated on a cloud into the Peek, Aren't You Curious store and found a FRIDA KAHLO t-shirt!!!! The back reads, "Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" LOVE. And, of course, the obligatory Gap skinny jeans


Shoes


To go with the school day jumper and all my daydreams of having a little French girl, I got these red maryjanes from Garvalin. Apparently, they are magic shoes that will massage her feet and shit. I just think they are pretty.




Maya picked these shoes out of the line-up at Nordstrom before I even noticed them. They were perfect, stylish and functional with a hint of sparkle. It's not often that we agree on something so I think these Converse are pretty special. 


Accessories





There aren't many accessories appropriate for the school yard (no hats or jewelry) but I think these knee-high socks and sparkly polka-dot tights from Crewcuts were made with me Maya in mind. 


Hope everyone is enjoying back to school shopping as much as I am! 


I'd also love your input on the new site design! I'm excited about makeover. :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Confession - You May Need To Call Child Protective Services

Oh my little love...


Why must you torture Mama?


Why must you abuse her?


Why must you humiliate her?


Why? Why? Why????


This has been a most trying week with Mr. Lincoln. Every morning, I wake up to the sweet sounds of him singing softly to himself and rolling around in his crib.


They are the sweetest, most peaceful moments of my day. I take a deep breath and stretch and smile...and then shudder a most violent chill. Because I know this is the calm before the storm. The hurricane. The monsoon. The tsunami. 


The beast stirs. 


If we combined all of Lincs antics from the week into a single day....well, the day may have ended with my tragic suicidal overdose on Hydroxycut. Luckily, they were spread out among seven days. But this is what it would look like in 24 hours...


Sweet sounds and babbling from his room. I get up, ready myself and take a look.


Yup. He's butt naked. He's somehow managed to pee all over the bed and on the carpet where I've just stepped. And he's using his wet diaper as a pillow.


After giving him a bath and changing the sheets, I ask him, "Would you like breakfast?" 


"NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"


"Come on down. I'm gonna make you something to eat."


"Bye-bye."


"Come with me."


"Bye-bye."


"You want cereal?"


"Bye-bye"


"You want milk?"


"Bye-bye"


"Come on, Lincoln! Now!"


"Bye-bye."


I finally pick him up and carry him downstairs, wiggling and screaming.


I spend the next 10 minutes coaxing him into sitting in booster seat. He spends 2 minutes eating before he swipes all his milk onto the table, chairs, walls, floors and cabinets. I spend another 10 minutes cleaning up the entire kitchen. 


(By the way, Maya does exist in the world. Though it's been hard to notice her this week.)


I drop Maya off at school and him off at the childcare at the gym. I spend a blissful hour commiserating with Arlene, who also has a two year old. We're war buddies.


I pick him up and his entire face is scratched up. I look at the gym lady in feigned shock. 


"He gave as good as he got," is all she can offer.


We go home and he's a perfect angel. He eats a snack, plays quietly and kisses me often. He has lured me into a false sense of security. 


We pick up Maya and make an impromptu trip to the library. He plays with the puzzles nicely and looks at the books. We happily sit at a table together and pick which books to take home. Then, an old friend walks in with her two kids. While Maya plays with the girl child, I chat with my friend and Lincoln attacks her baby boy.


It starts off loving and then turns brutal when I merely suggest Linc give the toddling baby his space. Oh no you didn't, bitch! Well fuck you and fuck him! I'll cut that little shit!


Horrified after he has pushed the baby three times, I offer up my red-faced apologies and flee the library knowing that Lincoln's ruined any chance of us getting together for a nice playdate. He couldn't give a shit. He's screams and bucks as I use my elbow to pin him down into the carseat while I try to buckle him up. 


He continues screaming while I try to sing and rock him to sleep for his nap. He screams loud, banshee cries of unadulterated hatred when I just throw him in his crib and let him sort out his own emotional issues. I hide downstairs on the kitchen floor.


He wakes up smiling and affectionate. Maya tries playing with him until he starts head-butting her like a baby goat. I try playing with him until he starts charging me like a linebacker. Then I give him the straightarm to protect myself. He falls onto the floor, seemingly stunned. 


I jump up, scurry away from the scene and attempt to do some chores. Lincoln gets the toy stroller and, at full speed, starts running toward me with vengeance in his eyes. I step to the side at the last moment and runs right into the wall. More screaming. Oh the screaming!


I finally administer the baby crack so that I can make dinner.


Larry gets home and we sit down to eat. I offer him a fork of food. 


"Lincoln? Would you like some chicken?"


"Never!!!" He swats his hand at the fork and sends the chicken flying onto the table.


"Would you like some rice?"


"No way!!! YOU eat it!" He stabs his finger at my face.


"Would you like some watermelon?"


"NNNNNNOOOOOOOOO..............yes."


After about five minutes, Linc and I have had enough fun and he has escaped from his chair. He plays with a ball nicely and I continue to eat. He then decides to hurl the ball at me, thus knocking the drink I'm holding in my hand all over my face and clothes.


Larry whisks him upstairs for his bath while I clean up. I think my dear husband is afraid for everyone's lives. As well he should be. 


When Lincoln's finished with his bath, he asks for "Music, please!!!!" Then he proceeds to turn the volume from silent to blaring to silent to blaring five hundred times. Larry finally turns it off the second before I crack. 


"Would you like me to read you a story, Lincoln?"


"NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Normally, we would put him to bed and come back in one or two times to redress him since he's bored and, naturally, that means it's time to strip naked. 


But not tonight, my friends....






I think tomorrow is going to be a better day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Culture - An Education (on Broadway)


Summer is coming to an end and my precious protege, Maya, will soon be entering kindergarten.

I suddenly feel as if I've wasted the whole summer. 

We played, we beached, we camped and we bounced....but where was the learning? 

I'm not talking ABCs or addition or any of that other useless crap. 

I'm talking about the things that matter.

It occurred to me all at once the children began to play the Dan Zanes' CD 76 Trombones for the one millionth time. 

They are craving a Broadway curriculum!!!!!!

They are my children!! Thank you Dan Zanes and your mop-headed hippie sensibilities!!!!

As they listen to "Hello Dolly" and A Chorus Line, my heart swells with pride and great expectations. So I spent the better half of last week creating a new playlist for Maya AND Lincoln. (He can be a quadruple threat with the singing, acting, dancing AND cooking!)



As usual, I leave some of plot points to the side during exposure. They don't need to know that "Take Me or Leave Me" is a lesbian lovers' quarrel. 

But what do you think of the list?

Oh, yes, you saw that correctly. We have played "The Wizard and I" from Wicked  at least 108 times. That musical used to soothe Maya to sleep in the car when she was an infant. And Lincoln even loves it now. Poor guy really has no choice though. 

Am I missing anything important?

I'm not a huge Rogers and Hammerstein girl and I think it's a little soon for Sondheim. 

But what I don't have on my playlist, I get from my Sirius channel, "On Broadway." 

You laugh now but let's see who's laughing when I have front row tickets....and no grandchildren.

(I may have some more thinking to do...) 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Confession - I Got Bangs

No, it's totally earth-shattering. Trust me. 


Lea Michele got bangs. And then she turned all anorexic and slutty and vegan while still retaining her talent and popularity.


I decided it was the way to go.


Here's how I look....




Please excuse the bad lighting. And please ignore the unmade bed in the background. 


(I've decided people usually fall into two categories -- those who make their bed and those who don't. I won't say which is better. I think that's totally obvious. One clearly lives a more productive life.)


So yeah, I got bangs. I sat down to get a trim and said, "Hmm...how about bangs?" The hairdresser said OK unenthusiastically which I probably should've taken as a sign.


First she cut them as long side bangs. I said shorter. Then she cut them a little more. I said shorter. Then she cut them so short I had flashbacks to preschool when I first held those powerful little blades in my own hands and determined my own fashion fate right before a formal portrait with my brother in our matching sailor outfits. That large portrait still hangs in my mom's bedroom. So awesome. 


The eighties are back, no?


Please, no one tell me your opinion. (Read: Totally let me know what you think.)


I don't want you thinking I'm fishing for compliments. (Read: I'm totally fishing for compliments. And I'm totally obsessed with the word "totally" lately. It's gotta stop. It's, like, gotta stop.) 


And I'm thinking my new bangs go with my new car (woo-hoo) and my new French attitude. What makes an attitude French, you ask? Confidence, good taste and a love of cheese. 


It's all happening!



Monday, August 8, 2011

Cooking - Meatless Monday Veggie Tacos

Now you know me loves me beef. In fact, entering the search term "daddy cow beef" will somehow lead you to my lowly blog.


But I also know there are definite health and environmental benefits from going meatless. So I've decided to join the Meatless Monday movement. One day a week, if I can remember, I will cut meat out of my family's diet. 


Here's the mission that I subscribe to from www.meatlessmonday.com:


Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. 


Sounds good to me! It's a small step but a manageable one in our household. Red meat is pretty scarce around here anyway. (Thanks Larry.)


Last week I made Pioneer Woman's Grilled Vegetable Pizza. I had some issues with my execution, (I rolled out the dough too thin and the toppings just made the whole thing a soggy, unattractive mess) but the flavors kicked ass. 


That's when I had an epiphany. At the moment, I'm not a huge vegetable fan. I don't really enjoy eating them on their own. But they are wonderful vehicles for flavor!


When pesto or goat cheese or curry or garlic or lemon is involved, I'm all over that shit!


So, armed with a new attitude, I'm enthusiastic preparing the foods I know my kids will reject for months to come. But I have high hopes for a breakthrough one day. I think I see the future... Lincoln will be a chef living in Europe and, owing all his inspiration to his dear mama, he will pay for his parents to live in a chateau in the French countryside. He will visit often with his wealthy, famous friends and cook wonderful meals to be enjoyed out in the garden.


I'm getting way excited about this new life. I cannot wait.


While I dream, enjoy this recipe that I came up with today. Larry and I loved every bite of these tacos. The kids enjoyed some black beans and quinoa with avocado and corn. Well, maybe "enjoy" is a strong word...I forced Maya to choke back a few bites. Buen provecho!






Veggie Tacos 


2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ear of corn
1 yellow squash, cut into half moons
1 zucchini, cut into half moons
Dash of Cumin
Dash of Chili Powder
Salt
Pepper
Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
Corn tortillas
Goat Cheese
Salsa
Avocado
Quinoa 
Whatever else you like


Heat the canola oil over high heat in a large skillet. Throw in bell peppers and cook for about 3 minutes. Add onions for a couple minutes. Then add garlic and corn. Then add the squash and zucchini and season with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender but still a little firm. Add cilantro and lime juice.


Serve on heated corn tortillas with goat cheese crumbles, avocado and salsa. I added some quinoa for added protein. You could also add black beans if you would like!



As an added bonus, I served Pioneer Woman's Watermelon Granita for dessert. Life is gooood!



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Confession - A Shitty Week

Today at dinner, Maya (while polishing off her third taco) announces loudly, "I've gotta make a poop now!"


"Thanks for sharing," I say, putting my own taco back down on the plate.


"Daddy?" she shouts to Larry. "Did you know I haven't pooped since July?"


"Thanks for sharing, Maya," he says.


I'm pretty sure that isn't true since a) she can't read a calendar and b) I would remember not wiping her ass for four days. They would've been a happier four days. 


Now, I ask you this question.


When does a child learn to wipe his or her own butt????


I mean, come on, she's almost 5 1/2 years old. Isn't it time? It isn't like I haven't tried. 


Every time she blasts a dookie, she calls out loudly and in a sing-song voice that will surely send shivers down a snake's spine, "I need help, pleeeeeeeaaaaaaasssssseeeee!"


I think one of these times it may be her last. 


Every once in awhile I try to merely suggest that she may want to take care of her little problem on her own. She cries and begs and begs and cries and I give in because I really don't want her to start holding it in or having some sort of psychological/Freudian issues. 


I keep warning her that she will probably have to download a brownload at school but she assures me this will never happen. In all of preschool, she never once felt the need to grow a monkey tail. 


I explain that this may be different, since she will be at school for a longer day. Nope. Not happening. 


Can I make butt-wiping fun? Should I have a rewards chart up on the wall for cleaning up your own Hershey squirts?


And now I am even more anxious because, for the very first time, Lincoln bloop-blooped in the potty. 


It's been one of those weeks. Everywhere you turn, someone is forcing a duck to quack. 


So if you have any advice to offer, please fire away. 


Just don't fire any butt shuttles, thank you. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Culture - Films That Make Me Say "Hmmm..."

This past weekend we went to the circus. People, I didn't think I'd survive it.


First of all, "The Greatest Show on Earth" is one hot mess. The ringmaster is pointless, the songs are cheesy and the production is pretty shaky. I also almost had a nervous breakdown during the tiger bit. I was waiting for a Seigfried and Roy moment and wondering how I would explain "mauling" to my children.


I did find the stunts and acrobatics totally amazing and I love the elephants, even if I totally feel sorry for them at the same time. I won't go into my conflicted feelings on that issue, we would be here all night.


But then there are the clowns....


I hate clowns.


I've always hated clowns. 


Clowns make me want to curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb.


One clown did make me do that, actually. And I was 10 years old.


Some sadistic member of my family gave me a clown doll. This clown was the kind that laughed maniacally when you squeezed him. I know. Sick bastard. 


Well, one night, while falling asleep on my top bunk, I accidentally kicked that bastardo. And he or she started laughing....


And.


Would.


Not.


Stop.


It's painful to relive this moment now. I was actually saving this for my therapy visit but getting it out now is cheaper. (It also frees up minutes in my hour with the therapist for other issues such as my aversion to the feel of wet wood.) 


My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder keeps me from remembering what happened in the six months following the incident. I assume, however, that after a few minutes of trying to get it to shut up, I started screaming bloody murder and one of my parents came in and destroyed that demonic doll.


I think I was fine for a few years until I saw a movie that sent me back into PTSD. 


So when I saw the clowns at the circus, I braced myself for the worst. But it turns out that these clowns were pretty benign. None of them had razor teeth. None of them laughed like a hyena. None of them tried to touch me. Oh my God, I just shivered typing those words.


But they did remind me of that doll and that movie which, in turn, led me down the path of scary movies from my youth which I shall share with you now...


1. Stephen King's IT (1990)


Oh sweet baby Jesus. The clown was played by Tim Curry. Sick MoFo.


2. Legend (1985)




I didn't even remember that Tom Cruise was in this movie. All I remember is that freaky red monster. Played by Tim Curry. What? Again? Maybe Tim Curry's the problem! What's the clinical term for a fear of Tim Curry?


3. Howard the Duck (1986)




No, this is not in any sort of order. My fears are not yet categorized. 


Does anyone else remember this George Lucas flop? I do. In my nightmares.


4. Return to Oz (1985)




I had actually blocked this one out of my memory until Lady Gaga decided to be a Wheeler on the cover of Born This Way. Leave it to Lady Gaga to conjure up the freaky imagery of an 80s movie.




5. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)






What? A musical? I know! How can a musical be scary? Two things creeped my shit out. First off, Steve Martin in a black wig. It was so weird and disturbing to me, I still can't get it out of my mind. Second, Ricky Moranis feeding Steve Martin to a monster-plant. I think it was my first taste of media violence at seven years old and, as cheesy and unrealistic as it was portrayed, it did not sit well with me. To this day, I cannot watch violent movies or shows. Thank you, Rick Moranis, for ruining me for The Sopranos. 


6. Never Ending Story (1984)




They should not have called this a family film because that shit was weird, that shit was depressing and that shit will leave a mark on a five year old for-eva. The boy's mom dies, the hero's horse dies, etc. How is a child to process that mess? Sick. Just sick.






Now I originally intended to have a solid list of 10 movies here...but these six just freaked me out too much to go further. I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight, which is a shame since I finally made double-digits in my followers and I was starting to feel content. 


Thank you though to everyone who is following me! I'm hoping to redesign my site soon so that it almost looks legitimate and not like some looney person who just learned how to surf the World Wide Web.  Let's just call it "classic."


Feel free to let me know your scariest movie memories. And I'll refrain from sharing with you the time I watched The Exorcist at a sleepover and I crawled under the bed so I could pray in private. It was the most Catholic moment of my life.


Amen.