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Baking With Mary

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!

Love,

Mary

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.

Psst! Here I Am!

(source

Good morning, K-Mart Shoppers. I see that I have not visited you here for quite some time. I have much to share, but each time that I plan to log on and do so, I realize that I’ve failed to mention a few sort-of major things that are going on and so I log back off, failing to post anything. First and foremost, it would appear that I am having a baby. According to medical professionals, this baby will be a boy. According to my pregnancy app, this boy will make an appearance in or around 58 days from today. As I waddle about, fretting over the big stuff and the small stuff, it occasionally hits me that these medical professionals and that pregnancy app may actually not be a part of some grand conspiracy. It may actually be true that I’m having a baby. This is, all at once, incredible and exciting and breathtaking. It’s also terrifying and grey hair-producing and exhausting. What it isn’t is miraculous, or at least not any more so than any conception, gestation or birth. I can have babies. The proof is in the messy-haired blonde I just peeked at, snoring softly, Abby Cadabby tucked under her arm. I can also lose babies. Unfortunately, we all can. But it isn’t more than what it is. Or at least this is what I will tell you that I believe. I don’t know if it is my largely-Irish DNA or the fact that I was born under the sign of Virgo (or the fact that I used to play truly insane amounts of Tetris), but for me, things must make sense. The puzzle pieces must fit in order to weave a cohesive story. In terms of this one, this Who Gets To Have a Baby and When and How Much Grief Must Be Endured In the Process, I am waving the white flag. This one doesn’t make sense and it never will. One trip to any grocery store in America will shatter your belief that only seemingly “worthy” people get to parent. I read an essay² this morning, written by a mother who was stuck in limbo as her daughter endured diagnostic test after diagnostic test, and this is how it ended:

This is not the other shoe dropping. It is not tragic irony or doom or punishment for our interpretive failures. It is life, with loss woven into its very fabric. That’s just what there is.

So, I’m still here. And I’ll try to visit more often. In part because I really need to talk to you about Heelys and the fact that they are, surely and truly, going to be the death of what makes this country great endurable. So, I’ll see you soon.

 

¹ I’m hoping my baby doesn’t look quite this terrified/appalled/aghast.

² “Lumpy” – Catherine Newman

Far From the Maddening Crowd

DSM-IV

I’ve been sick and, when I’m sick, people are more irritating. I don’t view this increased judgment as a fault of mine but rather as a specialized genetic trait that I’ve developed, much like a blind person who can smell (and thus avoid) the dog shit on the sidewalk while their sighted peers stride right into it, unawares. My brain, when given the opportunity to take a break from its usual self-obsessing, instead focuses in on the many, many faults of those around me. Those who sneeze without covering and turning; those who smoke with children in their car; those who scrawl obscene graffiti onto the walls of elementary schools and churches; those who quietly return a library book without coming clean about the fact that their child vomited on page 27… The truth of the matter is, most people should be locked up, far, far away from the general population. Now that I’m feeling a bit better, I have had some time to reflect upon my observations. Here’s the thing:

1. There are two types of people in the world. There are the people who put the plastic divider behind their items on the grocery store conveyor belt and then there are the total and complete sociopaths. Listen, the person in front of you kindly placed a divider between their groceries and yours so buck up and pass on the good karma. Or would you prefer to burn in hell? Your choice.

2. If I let you into traffic and you fail to give a little wave, I will just sit right behind you and silently diagnose you with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, right from the driver’s seat of my dirty 1995 Volvo. No need to pay for a fancy, schmancy psychiatrist to evaluate you; I’ll do it for free.

3. On the other hand, those of you who speed up to avoid letting people into traffic and keep your eyes fixed on the car in front of you (as though it were filled with naked clown aliens), just to try to look like you don’t see the prospective merger, are clearly suffering from Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder. Simple as that.

4. Hawking loogies onto the ground, or worse, onto walls, is a symptom of Histrionic Personality Disorder. It is also the very most important factor in diagnosing Pathological Grossness. Keep your mucus to yourself.

5. I had another, but the mention of loogies has made me feel quite nauseated and I really must lie down now.

Upon re-reading this post, I am almost tempted to note that the person who wrote it seems to be suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but then I remembered what a wise Psychology professor once told me: “Taking one Abnormal Psych class does not make you qualified to diagnose those around you.” And so I’ll hold my judgment. It’s the right thing to do.

Cognitive Dissonance

Today is a day when I will search endlessly for the things that are already in my hand and console myself with the knowledge that, if and when I do find them, they will be nice and warm.

image

 

A Mullet to the Brain

The holidays are a stressful time for everybody.  People eat horribly, drive horribly and just have general lapses in judgment.  Wear that holiday sweater?  Why not?  Make out with the annoying co-worker at the Christmas party?  What’s the harm?  Attach sparklers to your eyeglasses and light them at midnight on New Year’s Eve?  Who’s gonna stop you?  Get your hair cut into a mullet-Rick-James-Jheri-Curl hybrid?  Meh, maybe we should think twice about that one.

But think twice I did not.

It all started innocently enough, much like all horrible ideas.  It was December 23rd and my hair was a mess.  I hadn’t had a haircut in 10 months and it was long (think mid-back or so) and unruly (think Midwest-1986 or so).  I was out running errands and stopped into Starbucks for a latte.  I asked the barista if she knew of any salons in the area that might accept a walk-in for a trim.  What luck!  Not only did she know of the place but it was two doors down and she had given up her beloved hairdresser of 10 years for their $15 cuts.  Go!, she said.  You won’t regret it!, she said.

Well, the bitch lied.  I regret it like I regret the evening in 1994 when I saw Reality Bites and decided to give myself the short-bangs-long-hair look.  Except that I have a cowlick and the bangs just got more and more uneven and I just kept cutting more and more and before I knew it, I had left Reality Bites in the dust and headed straight for the scene from Pink Floyd: The Wall where Bob Geldof is cutting and shaving and shaving and cutting.  Not cute.  Not pretty.

I walked into the hair place, got onto the list and then sat down to wait my turn.  I was the only woman in the waiting area (RED FLAG! RUN!). When my name was called I asked the girl for a trim.  I said that I wanted 2-inches off and that I wanted the layers to remain long.  She cut the two inches and then a couple inches more and then another inch for good measure and then she took out a razor and started hacking away at my hair as though it were an intruder who had startled her while she was in the midst of a huge crafting project.  While I am normally fairly assertive in my life, something about the salon chair makes me clam up.  Is it the backwards, nylon Zorro cape?  Is it the florescent lighting?  Is it the person with the sharp instrument mere inches from my throat?  Who knows.  What I do know is that my hair is wavy and, in some parts, curly.  As I continued my errands and the hair dried (What, you think they include a blow-dry in a $15 cut?) the true nature of the hack job was revealed.  Curly ball of poof with a pin-straight rat tail in the back.  Upon returning home, I said to my husband, “Basically I have a curly mullet.”  His reply?  “(long pause) Well, I like mullets.”  Husband Fail Alert.

So let this be a lesson to you.  If you are walking into a salon with the attitude of How Bad Can They Fuck It Up?, keep on walking.  Run if you must.  Grab a pair of shears, wave them around menacingly and back out slowly if that is what it takes.  But don’t sit down and don’t let them snip even one hair.  For now I am wearing hats but this can’t last for long.  What will I do when winter turns to spring?  What then?  Dear God, what then?!

As much as you’ll be seeing of my new ‘do.

Why I’m Not a Talent Agent

Today, while looking at a variety of salad dressings at the supermarket, I had a very serious thought: “God, I wonder why Newman from Seinfeld has never made a porn and called it Newman’s Own.”  Immediately after this, I realized that I was losing my mind and decided that I should head home after checking out the after-Christmas sale candy at once.  I’m 35 and I have long-since given up hope that I will start thinking things that “normal 35-year-olds” think (Mortgages and matching my shoes to my handbag and retirement, oh my!).  I’m me and I’ll be damned if I don’t kinda like me.  If I weren’t me, I would seriously consider hanging out with me and I just don’t go hanging around with anybody everybody.

I hope that you all had a beautiful Christmas (and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a beautiful Day-That-Some-People-Pretend-Is-Jesus’-Birthday-So-That-They-Can-Eat-Too-Much-While-Exchanging-Gifts).  I had a wonderful holiday with my husband, my daughter, my mom and my new puppy (whose name is Buzz but whom I am currently calling The Artist Formerly Known as Satan).  More posts will be coming in the New Year (or so I claim).  My group of subscribers is small but you are some kick-ass folk.  I wouldn’t trade you for all the tea in China.  Thank you.

Now go and try to rid yourself of the image of Newman engaging in explicit sex acts.  I dare you.

image credit

As I stated last year, I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions.  I think they’re generally committed to under duress, or worse yet, under the influence of eggnog and sugar.  And since no judge in the world would be able to hold you accountable for any contracts drafted by the pen of Captain Morgan or Sara Lee, you’re really sort of left in a lurch, with nobody to answer to but your own sorry self.

2010 has been a difficult year sucked ass.  Between my nutso autoimmune disease and my pregnancy losses, my body has had more attention than I generally like for it to have.  And I have found no shortage of people who are chock-full of tips, hints and general advice.  There are only so many times that one person can say, “Yes, that might work.”  Or, “That’s one idea.”  Or, “Sure, give me his card.”  Or, “Please step away from me, kind sir.”

So with that being said (and with nothing more than oatmeal and a possibly-lethal amount of coffee in my system), I have decided to make a December 5th Resolution.  Starting right this minute, anybody who attempts to offer advice about my body¹ will be met with a loud chirping noise, followed by a flick between the eyes, followed by a kick in the ass.

So hear ye!  Hear ye!  Whether you are a friend or a foe; a doctor or a salesperson; a pirate, a poet or a pauper, consider yourself warned.  The non-existent suggestion box is officially closed for business, locked, chained and cast into the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean.  Got it?  Chirp, flick, kick.  Or maybe flick, chirp, kick.  Or, depending on the obnoxiousness of the advice-giver, kick, kick, flick, flick, kick, chirp.  We’ll see.  The possibilities are endless.  The world is my oyster.  And I prefer my oysters served without a side of shitty advice.²

¹ ie: What my body does or doesn’t do; is or isn’t capable of; does or doesn’t look like; should or shouldn’t behave like, etc…

² Okay, I’m actually allergic to shellfish but let’s just pretend I’m not for the sake of bad analogies.