My mind lapsed to our family doctor’s favorite expression when you were sick and paid her a visit. “Bottom of the birdcage” was her way of describing the ick that would accumulate at the base of your throat. You’d nod your head. Your cold had birdcage written all over it.
“Mom, can we get a bird?” Sam asked again. “A tiny bird. One that sings.”
I couldn’t think about the song, the colors, how happy it would make my little man to have his very own bird. All I could think about was the bottom of the birdcage and who would have to clean it.
“I’ll make you a promise buddy. You keep asking and working on your good behavior and maybe for your birthday we can get one.”
I’m more than happy to play my adults-only trump card, I’ve earned it. You need to play the losing end of enough childhood poker games to play that card yourself. “Sure thing” the adult says. But without the benefit of perspective, little Lord Fauntleroy with his batting eyelashes is unaware that he’s bound to stop asking by the time his birthday rolls around 9 months later.
“What’s that thing ya got there?”
I pointed to the pipe cleaner that he clasped between both hands, Cheerios lined up like little soldiers along its length.
Apparently they’d spent the afternoon building bird feeders in class. In celebration of Earth Day. April 22nd. Jackson’s birthday. I’d been so distracted lavishing my dog with attention on his special day (long walk, brand new rawhide) that I’d forgotten all about it.
What a shame, I usually make some kind of effort to celebrate.
I remember my first Earth Day celebration: climbing all 144 flights of the CN Tower’s stairs in Toronto, which at that point was still the world’s tallest building.
Last year we celebrated with a special Earth Day collaboration with TOMS; we participated in One Day Without Shoes. We walked around the New York City with bare feet. Maybe it wasn’t really around the city. But we did it for a few blocks, from our apartment to the site of the One Day Without Shoes bash.
If you were to think about large-scale efforts – mapping the human genome, searching for monster prime numbers, developing the TESLA, you would be wise to add planning a family Caribbean vacation to your list.
There’s the organizing, packing, passport-checking, last-minute snack shopping, the rounding up of coloring books, crayons, headphones, medication, sunscreen and whatever sand-caked plastic shovels that can be found from the last vacation.
Rodney imposed house rules against me asking him to exfoliate my back and apply sunless tanner the night before a trip, so now I leave that job to the professionals. Which of course never gets done. Time, who? what?
This year I got my act together and scheduled an appointment that I promised I wouldn’t break. I stuck to my guns, shed my clothes in front of a woman whose name sounded like Mary but wasn’t, and stepped into the booth. After a few passes of her spray gun, she declared that I looked “owa-some” and I skipped back home, a burnished shade of bronze.
My kids weren’t impressed. Over the sobs of one child, another demanded to know what happened to my “other skin”. The third was found later, hiding in a closet. This pre-tan effort, I imagine, won’t happen again.
It was the least I could do to get ready for what promised to be the trip of a lifetime.
When traveling with kids, Rodney and I have always leaned towards big hotels with big pools, big restaurants, and a bigger set of amenities. The kind of place where a kid can race around and find plenty of entertainment.
This year though, we booked our trip through Inspirato. After looking through their list of properties, we found a house that seemed like it would be a great fit for our family: our own pool, an empty beach, ocean-facing bedrooms, and the icing on our Tortuga rum cake….a well-stocked kitchen.
I’m not sure how many times the word “idyllic” was dropped into the conversation during our stay, but I’m pretty certain that were in three-digit territory.
It’s time friends. It took 9 months of coordination, planning, excessive emailing and general indecisiveness to get to this point, but I’m happy to unveil an updated blog design.
Two years ago I began this blog as a means to share my love of food with a broader audience. Though I put many hours of work into the concept behind the site, selecting the original design took several minutes.
I’d hired a freelancer to help me through some nagging technical and design issues, and he offered a quick solution: buy a pre-made theme. Genius.
But I had one other suggestion for my friend the programmer: find a theme that hides the photography.
Let the record state that if you’re planning to attend a store opening, and are planning to take pictures that you’re then planning to share with the company, don’t arrive after you’ve been drinking.
It’s at times like these when I’m relieved that I’m not a surgeon. Or part of Barrack Obama’s security detail. Even a dressmaker, all of those pointy needles and other stabby things.
It wasn’t always the case. I used to have a job where drinking wasn’t part of the job. It was much easier to demarcate that line in the sand – these are the times when drinking is acceptable – these are the times when drinking is not.
But then you start to work in environments where drinking is the norm. And in some cases, where NOT having a beverage in your hand is completely unacceptable. Like that event a few weeks ago for Edible Manhattan where against my will, I was forced to drink moonshine and talk about local spirits all night.
For legal reasons, let’s strike that last sentence. It was willful, all of it, I apologize. Sometimes I can’t even admit these things to myself.
The day of the Edible event was a long one. It started out with working lunch where I was taking food photos for a restaurant. You can’t very well take photos of lunch without a cocktail in the mix. And sometimes that first cocktail needs another one on the table for balance.