(Please don’t steal my photo without linking, or you too will be eaten by an alligator being ridden by Elton John.)
“Consider the bounty of your dead. All the people you have lost in your life have taught you what value is. They taught you how rare it is to breathe, how unbearably beautiful and sacred it is to feel an ache in the center of your heart.” -Augusten Burroughs
There are two types of people in this world:
The ones who quickly change the station when Billy Joel’s Scenes From an Italian Restaurant comes on, and the ones who give their fingers a quick stretch, in anticipation of pounding out some Steering Wheel Air Piano during the ‘Brender and Eddie’ portion of the song.
One should always strive to be the second type, and one should always strive to avoid the first type. Nobody is too cool for Air Piano and you are certainly no exception.
Cupcakes are good. I know it, you know it, and my 6-year-old knows it. But, you know what’s better than regular cupcakes? Cupcakes with rainbows and sprinkles. My 6-year-old really, really knows that. This is why her little sugar-grubbing heart was broken when my mom took her to Cupcake Royale last week and they were fresh out of their rainbowgasmic offering, The Gay. She settled for another cupcake, but the rest of the day went a little something like this:
-Averi, are you hungry for dinner?
-I really wish I could have gotten The Gay.
-Averi, should we read a book?
-The Gay had rainbow sprinkles and also a big rainbow on top.
-I think you can eat the rainbow that is on top of The Gay…
You get the point. Since she used the word “gay” about 100 times within a 4-hour span, I thought I should refresh her memory about the meaning of the word. That went a little something like this:
-Do you remember what the word “gay” means?
-Some people love, and sometimes want to get married to, people who are the same sex as they are. So some boys love boys and some girls love girls.
-(looking accusingly at her baby brother) Well, I want to marry William, but I think he wants to marry you!
So that was how that went. No snickering. No ewwwwwing. No judging.
I think it’s a very, very good idea to let our children know that there are different types of people in this world. I also think it’s a very, very good idea to let our children know that those people are just as awesome as they are. I’m not into the whole I’m-a-better-parent-than-you-because thing, but I feel pretty confident in saying this:
If you choose to model intolerance, you’re sort of failing at The Good Parent Thing.
Let’s do better than that. Let’s raise kids who worry less about who their neighbor loves and more about how to love their neighbor. There are enough assholes in the world. And it’s probably not their fault. Still, I would prefer to share a gay cupcake with somebody who isn’t an asshole. Even if they do want to marry their baby brother.
Spring has sprung in the Portland area. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, inexplicably pale people are sneezing and the “summer music” is back. It’s inescapable: blaring from the grocery store sound system, oozing from the speakers at the coffee shops and blasting from the radios of neighboring cars at stoplights, and, finally, making its final descent, back into the part of my brain where really bad music lives during the off-season (May-early September). Sheryl Crow, Bob Marley, Steve Miller, that Canadian who wants to ride a highway, all night long… Somebody, at some point, while high on something, decided that this would be the soundtrack of the American summer. I, for one, would like to say that I think a revote is in order. Hell, maybe even a revolt.
Here’s the trouble:
1. Sheryl Crow: In a word, she is whiny. By all means, soak up the sun. But please stop singing. Lance pedaled away from the whining, and so will I. (note to self: learn to ride bike)
2. Bob Marley: Been there, smoked that, hung a rug on the wall and pretended it was art, and now I’m a grown-up. Goodbye, Bob. Thanks for the memories (of needing to explain to one of your fans, yet again, that you did not die of “toe cancer.”)
3. Steve Miller: “I bought you a crate of papayas, they waited all night by your door.” Papayas are disgusting. Any friend of papaya is no friend of mine.
4. The Canadian who wants to ride a highway, all night long: no explanation needed
So, what do I actually want to listen to during The Warm Months? I’m not telling you. I’m weird like that when it comes to
Do you ever find yourself in a public place, daydreaming about past disappointments and garlic bread, when suddenly a person appears before you where once there was none, your heart skips a beat, and you are certain that you are about to die? Yeah, me too. Often. Too often. And this experience is not relegated to dark alleys and public transportation terminals. In fact, I haven’t been in a dark alley or a public transportation terminal since the early 1990s. I’m talking about the grocery store. I’m talking about the library. I’m talking about the cheap burrito joint. Why are these predators after me, you ask? Who are these blood-hungry pillagers, hell-bent on slaying me where I stand? Well, I’ll tell you. They are demons in the most clever of disguises. They are children. Children whose parents lost their goddamned minds and bought them wheeled shoes.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I feel that putting children in wheeled shoes should be considered an act of domestic terrorism and that the Department of Homeland Security should hand these parents their asses on a plate. And then confiscate the wheeled shoes, gather the villagers, and burn the shoes in a huge bonfire in the town square. Drinks and light appetizers should be served, but we can work out the details later.
The thing is, I like to keep tabs on all humans who are within my immediate area. I assess their ability to kill me, based upon a patent-pending formula of size, proximity, age and perceived physical limitations. Wheeled shoes fuck up my whole formula. Kids are quick. Kids are impulsive. Kids have never heard of “personal space.” Do we really need to up their already extraordinarily high chances of breaking the hips of the elderly? I say, let’s not. I say, let’s work together on this societal scourge that is wheeled shoes.
Parents of wheel-footed children, I have a proposal for you. You keep your
horrifying precious sociopaths offspring in non-wheeled shoes when they are indoors, and I double dog swear that I will stop sending my kids to the library with nunchucks and throwing stars. Deal?
I have the best mom in the whole, entire world. She raised my siblings and me, on her own (for the most part), while working and going to school. Despite being short on time and money, she made healthy foods a priority in our house. While some kids opened up their lunchboxes and found a Cup O’ Noodle, a Twinkie, and a Capri Sun, I was usually met by a cashew butter sandwich, on spelt bread, and a bag of soy nuts. We had very few processed foods in our house and we dehydrated our own fruits and baked homemade bread. We used wholesome recipes, from the Tassajara Bread Book. I still remember the smell of the dough rising in the kitchen and I cherish those memories of baking with my mom. She did a good job and I love and appreciate all that she did, and still does, for us.
That said, sometimes a girl just wants the proverbial Cup O’ Noodle. Recently, at the age of 36, I made Magic Bars for the first time. I had always thought about making them, but it seemed too…wrong. And who the hell has sweetened condensed milk in their pantry? Until recently, not I. Well, let me tell you: I bought some. And I made them. And, guess what? There is magic in those bars! Sugary, fatty magic! Well, since making those Magic Bars, I have become inspired to make other formally-taboo treats. I even invented one of my own! So, without further ado, I present to you…
Mary’s Pan O’ S’more-Like Stuff
1. Acquire the following, by whatever means necessary¹: Honey Nut Cheerios, butter², sweetened condensed milk, mini marshmallows, and milk chocolate chips.
2. Take 4 or 5 cups of the Cheerios out of the box and crush those little suckers up. (I put them in a Ziploc and smashed them with a rolling pin.) Melt a stick of butter and mix it up with the crushed Cheerios. Pat that shiznit into a glass baking dish (13×9 inches, if you are so inclined), which you have sprayed with something oily or brushed with some butter. Whatever blows your skirt up.
3. Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk on top.
4. Sprinkle a couple of cups of mini marshmallows on top of that.
5. Sprinkle a cup of milk chocolate chips on top of all that.
6. Bake at 325° until the marshmallows are lightly browned. Mine took 30 minutes.³ When it’s done, it may look something like this:
7. Take them out and let them cool. Eat them with a fork or a spoon. If you get a wild hair, you can try to cut them into squares and remove them from the pan. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. But, again, whatever.
Happy 2012 to all, and to all a good night!
¹Ideally, money or services should be traded for the acquisition of these items, but you can figure that shit out yourselves. What am I, Jiminy Cricket?
²None of that unsalted crap. What kind of a shitshow do you think I’m running here?
³Yours may take more time. Or less. For all I know, you have a fancy oven with a convection setting. It doesn’t make you better than me.
NUTRITIONAL DISCLAIMER: I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. If you do, wait to make these until mid-January, when you’ve thrown yours to the wind and are using your brand-spanking-new workout clothes strictly for the purposes of napping comfortably.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I know a truly baffling number of attorneys. If you steal my recipe, and enter it into a contest, and win some kickass trip to Disneyworld or the Bahamas, I will sue you and your children and your family pet. I will also kick your ass.