paddle_sunset_FeedMeDearly

Last week, we were invited to a friend’s birthday dinner, usually cause for celebration, but this time it resulted in a mild panic attack. While getting ready for the evening, I started to question what to wear, something that’s been happening with increasing frequency. Somehow, when I made the decision to leave my corporate job last year, I got sucked into the mom wardrobe vortex of cords, chunky sweaters and other items that can best be described as “comfortable”. Any sense of style was promptly diverted to the unused part of my brain that’s responsible for random childhood memories and bad first dates.

So these days, instead of embracing an evening out, I look through my closet, and think….“Will this outfit look good with these shoes?”

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The answer of course being “no”. These heels were bought circa 2009 when gladiator sandals became the shoe of choice for people whom I will kindly refer to as “those who remove their clothes for a living.” Emma modeled them on Saturday morning to remind me that I’m no longer 25 with a questionable taste level. To the Salvation Army they went and I’m at least happy that the worst offending item in my closet is now deceased.

Arrest-worthy outfits aside, the dinner was fun. I sported a sizable headache on Saturday morning, my barometer of a good time. Rodney & I dusted off a family size bag of Thai chili-flavored potato chips for breakfast and hit the road, lake-bound, for what promised to be a beautiful weekend.

Warm weather meant a few firsts for the season…

First dinner outside on the deck….

sunset_FeedMeDearly

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I wasn’t planning to write a Mother’s Day post. Today’s post was supposed to be about ramps, but ramps will have to wait. Mother’s Day is a more timely subject, and one that I shamefully didn’t prioritize.

It’s not that I don’t love Mother’s Day, I do. But I tend to get excited about it on actual day itself, when at 11AM, someone in the house (not a child) says “oh crap, it’s Mother’s Day.” Then I start to scheme about all of the wonderful things that are heading my way….a late afternoon nap perhaps, or a 7:30PM bedtime with a good book.

I hope that my lax attitude towards Mother’s Day doesn’t sound harsh. I’m certainly not an old curmudgeon who goes about disparaging Valentine’s Day and the rest of the Hallmark holidays. If I’m to be completely honest, I’m equally forgetful about anniversaries. Rodney and I are often shocked to see a bouquet of flowers show up in our apartment every November, courtesy of my mother, who doesn’t forget these things.

But here’s the thing about forgetting communal holidays. It’s much better if it’s forgotten until the end of the day. At which point you realize the error of your ways, have some celebratory Champagne, and head to bed happy and a little drunk.

The worst time to remember is mid-morning, when you feel compelled to do something about it outside of the home.

Which is how, two years ago, we ended up at McDonald’s.

Not my first choice either, but here are the facts: 1) we were staying at the lake for the weekend where there are only 1-2 decent restaurants, decent meaning not McDonald’s, 2) everyone within a 15 mile radius goes hunting and gathering for a table at one of said restaurants, and 3) McDonald’s was right around the corner.

Based on my food and recipes, you may have presumed by now that I’m more skilled in the kitchen than a McDonald’s fry cook. Which isn’t a fair comparison, because it’s possible that he’s a talented chef who’s butting up against the chronic and debilitating constraints imposed by McDonald’s corporate.

But the point is this: my food tends to be better than what you’ll find at your neighborhood Golden Arches. Meaning that we could have gone back to our house, tails between our legs, and prepared a splendid brunch of Eggs Benedict, plump sausages, and blood orange mimosas. But that would be admitting defeat.

So rather than making me do all of that wonderful gruntwork which would have had me humming The Sound of Music all morning, Rodney suggested that we go to McDonald’s. Because, you know, the kids are hungry and we should probably find somewhere quickly before tectonic plates shift, the ground opens up, and world disintegrates into a smoking heap of ashes.

McDonald’s is one of those “in the case of an emergency, break glass” kinds of places. And I suppose that hungry kids = emergency, although in my highly trained medical opinion, treatment should have included a return to the house STAT for some whole grain crackers and a yogurt squeezers while I did the Sound of Music thing.

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Cherimoya squash

I love it when our challenge brings us a food that’s new to all of us. It’s happened a few times in the past year, such as rambutan and mangosteen. Cherimoya squash is a little less exotic, and although I’ve heard of it (and have likely eaten it unknowingly) this was my first time preparing it at home. Cherimoya squash is like kohlrabi, beets, and other vegetables that tend to be cooked but are equally wonderful in their raw state. Thinly sliced, they’ll add a crispness to any salad. But figuring that my kids would probably prefer it cooked, I gave the squash a toss in the sautee pan, which led to all kinds of unhappiness. But we’ll get this vegetable again – it’s a winner, at least for me. 

ME: Ok, guys.  We’re going to eat something called —

LAUREN: That’s a no-no.

ME: — cherimoya squash.  Can you sit on your stool, please?  I don’t want you falling off the table.  You’re going to fall down.

ME:  Look at what it looks like.  What kind of fruit or vegetable does it look like?

LAUREN: A splash of no-no.

ME: I think it looks like a green apple.

SAM: Wooooooooooooooooo.

ME: Who’s going to smell it first?

SAM:  Me, me, me.

LAUREN: Me, me, me.

ME: No, Sam wanted to smell it first.

SAM: It smells like a cucumber.

ME: Yes it does.  That is true.  It smells just like a cucumber.  What do you think Lauren?

SAM: Is it salad?

LAUREN: I think it smells like cucumber and lettuce.

ME: It smells a bit like lettuce, too.  So I had to look online for instructions on how to cook it because I’ve actually never had this squash before; people online said that you’ve got to chop it into pieces and then you sauté it.  So that’s what I did.

LAUREN:  Could I have a bite of it?

ME: Yeah.

EMMA: Hot.

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turnstiles_FeedMeDearly

Warning, if you don’t like trains, you won’t like this post.

If, however, you’re the kind of person who’s been collecting model trains since toddlerhood and/or you have an actual toddler at home who’s really into them, then read on.

I’m keeping it light on text this week so that I can share some photos from a visit to the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn.

We took a trip to the museum over the winter and I’ve been meaning to share these pictures but a few things got in the way – winter storms, a Caribbean getaway, a triumphant return to the lake house and other report worthy events that had me donning my CNN news anchor hat.

That being said, the transport museum is a hidden gem. It takes a little more effort to get there if you’re in Manhattan, but the upside that you get the place to yourself. On the day we visited, we only bumped into two other groups of visitors.

I will admit that I was a teensy bit worried that we’d run into Jack the Ripper in the museum catacombs and have nobody to rescue us. But the ability to relax in empty Mad Men-era subway cars was well worth it.

To get into the museum, you enter just as you would any old subway station.

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After a fascinating walk through a section that shares the subway’s history – photographs, tools, and plans, you end up by a set of old turnstiles. 

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Sam thought that getting to sit in the driver’s seat in a few of the old buses was better than Christmas.

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Other sights included a tiny streetcar replica.

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But the old subway cars were the main attraction.

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grapefruit_FeedMeDearly

I was 24 when a Mexican bird pooped on my face.

How did I know the bird was Mexican? Because we were in Mexico. In all fairness, he could have been an ambitious American bird who’d flown too far south for the winter. But for the purpose of this story, I’ll assume that he was Mexican. And that he was a he because aim was a factor.

It happened during my first trip to Mexico with the man I now call my husband. We’d been on a family vacation with his parents, and had made the last-minute decision to extend our stay. Both of us were in the midst of job transitions and were lucky enough that our calendars overlapped.

Initially, our spur of the moment hotel/apartment search was a flop; nothing was available. His parents weren’t happy that poolside Margaritas had been replaced by a frantic search for a strip mall hotel or kindhearted landlord who would take us in.

Towards the end of our planned vacation, we found ourselves apartment-hunting in downtown Acapulco when a bird, possibly a Condor or a Falcon, pooped on my face.

We didn’t actually see the bird, but Rodney, combining his high school biology and college-level math skills, made some rough estimates based on the poop surface area. Thankfully it had missed my eye, but covered a broad swath of my right cheek. Although I never actually saw the wreckage, I distinctly remember the sensation. Like a mug of hot chocolate had been splashed in my face.

These discussions happened after the fact of course. Rodney’s immediate reaction was to slip into a mild shock, recover, and then attempt to clean it off. A little too quickly I might add, because instead of wiping it off my cheek sideways, he barehanded it down over the corner of my mouth. Our Cat 4 problem had now escalated to a Cat 5.

We needed water. And not your standard issue garden hose as that would have increased the likelihood of a second gastrointestinal flesh-eating disease.

The hunt began for a bodega and bottled water. It wasn’t long before we found one and in that same back alley where the Condor had made me his personal latrine, we washed our tainted bodies.

cincodemayo

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