Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Love Letter

According to legend, I was born during a snow storm. But since I wasn't always in the company of the most accurate of historians, I looked it up and it's true that on January 27th, 1970 it was indeed snowing.

I was also always told I was almost born in a taxi? That my mother's labor was so short she didn't even know it *was* labor?

I do enjoy taxis but my own labors were seismic, interminable things.

Anyway, it snowed back then and it's snowing today and that symmetry is helping me keep things tied together, tied up. Safe.

45 years old today. I'm alive.  And I do feel like I need to mention that bit because today I am not feeling much of anything. My emotions are (for the most part) without ripples. I could float away. Not laughing or crying. Just here.

Milestones like this tend to be inspiring for me but not this one and there are no energy reserves to try and figure out why this day is even less a day than any other day.

The children (well, Ruby) have been lovely. PJ can't cope when someone else in our house is supposed to get more attention than her and Lincoln is just the same old ball of wonder and joy and unrelenting excitement that he always is-- Getting trussed up to play in the snow his body was all jerky-jerky with anticipation and he slammed his shoulder into my eye-socket. I yelled at him. As soon as i did I didn't feel anything different, though. Just the same. Dull. He was ok. Seconds later in the snow and howling with joy.

What am I saying? What am I trying to say? It's forced and obligatory today. I'm not enjoying this and I'm not doing a very good job.

So, I wrote all of that yesterday and as you can see, it isn't very good. It was a struggle. While I was falling asleep last night I realized what my birthday post should be. What it needs to be: It's a love letter to Ruby. 

Dear Primo*,

How, at age 14 are you so prescient? So intuitive and deeply loving? So unconditional?

Your face in the doorway yesterday morning shined like radiant coals, you smiled and smirked a little when you half whispered "happy birthday, mama!" You weren't deterred when I pulled the covers up over my head and mumbled that your slimy-jerk-face little brother had me up at 3AM and I needed some more sleep. Nope. You simply closed the door (gently) and let me snooze.

All day you served and smiled. I'd suggest you go somewhere, do something and you'd tilt your head, look right into my mind and shake your head ever so slightly to say "no way lady".

You hugged me and kissed me. You cleaned your brothers ass more times than I can count. You kept your little sister's emotional outbursts far away from me. You did the dishes and swept the floor.  All things you anticipated would cause me stress, anxiety, you took care of with ease and perfection. Your love for me shot out of you like bands of gold.

I can't breathe without you, Ruby. Whatever I did to deserve you I hope I keep doing so you stick around and continue to honor me with your glorious self. Your behavior yesterday didn't surprise me. It solidified and cemented (and all the other words in the whole world that mean "hold this shit tight") the fact that you are special. A privilege to know and be around... to mother.

There is a lot on your shoulders, beautiful girl, and you carry it all with grace and nearly imperceptible shifts. I'm hard on you because of what you mean to me, to this family. I've put incredible expectations all over and in and around you. But my appreciation of you (oh! I hope!) sinks in past it all and gets to your guts.

You are a dream within a dream (I wanted a daughter first, you know). Is thank you enough to say? It doesn't feel like it... it doesn't seem nearly enough.


*Primo is what The Hot Husband has always called her. I love hearing him say it so I had to use it here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I will drive great distances to have a margarita with my friends. It's my favorite cocktail (closely followed by a gin & tonic). Both are good with almost any food and are fantastic all by themselves.  I don't drink milk unless it's in a bowl of cereal or with a very chocolatey-cakey-brownie thing and then it has to be skim and it has to be ice cold.

Water is my favorite. It goes with everything. Coke over Pepsi for sure but only with savory things (or on its own). I drink coffee every day but I don't drink it with food unless it's a dessert or some kind of breakfast pastry. Never coffee with eggs. Never. Orange juice with eggs.

Wine (red or white) is right up there with water. Seltzer (flavored or unflavored) is nuzzled up in second place.

Anyway. Thought I'd put all that in your head, too.

Ever push out a fart whilst you were trying to push in a tampon? Yeah. Me neither.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Prophets Are All Around Us

I have been making meatloaf confidently (and deliciously) for 20 years now. I've always used my Nana O'Brien's basic recipe proportions but over the years I've tweaked it a bit: ground turkey instead of all beef, panko for regular bread crumbs, fresh rosemary in place of all purpose seasoning. But one thing I've kept exactly, precisely the same: The Glaze. It's a mixture of ketchup, yellow mustard & brown sugar. You mix all those things up and pour it on the meat before it goes in the oven and it is magic. 

I'm convinced that glaze sealed the deal for me and the hot husband. It's that good.

For years, I have made this dish for friends and family. Dinner parties and Wednesday nights. I love it so much that I often wish that it wasn't called "meatloaf", something this delicious needs- nay, DESERVES a far more sophisticated and culinarily appropriate title! "Chopped Meat Divine" would be so much better! Don't you think?

So anyway, as I was making yet another masterpiece tonight I did something I've never done before! And I have no idea what prompted me to do so: I plopped the meat in the baking dish (as usual) and shaped the loaf (like always), but this time instead of gauging the shape of the meat from looking down at the pan, I also got down low and looked at across the top; I spanned the Meatloaf Horizon and I saw that it was dramatically misshapen! It's lack of symmetry was shocking and I instantly felt motivated to adjust and correct and make it as pleasing in the baking dish as it was in my heart and mind. A few hugs and pushes and presses and soon enough if was more uniform and equal.

It was a revelation! And a reminder. You can look at something for 20 years and always see that thing the same way, OR, you can tilt your perspective and see it for how it could be. Don't you already feel smarter?

Dinner is at 7.