Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning


March 2010

Dinner Party Menu for people who have children and want to look composed…

Had a friend over for dinner last Saturday.  Needed menu.  This is what we came up with…


Stinky Cheese and Bread (Morbier is a nice choice)

Corn Pudding (try this recipe from Bon Appetit…I added some Asiago cheese.  Delish.)

Zucchini Arugula Salad (the sleeper hit of the meal, it was awesome.)

Grilled Butterflied Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

Apple Crostada

Why is this a good menu for a working mom when you have kid(s) running around and its Saturday so you have 75 errands to do, but guests are showing up at 6pm so they can meet the kid(s), so you need to cook/bathe child/set table/get kid to bed all while being watched by a GUEST?  Because, the cheese is purchased; corn pudding assembled ahead and baked when you need it; salad is just tossing, not really cooking; chicken marinates all day and then you outsource cooking it to your husband who will grill anytime anywhere anyweather; apple crostada, use a Julia recipe for crust or buy crust, assemble it, put it in fridge then bake when needed.  See, easy.

A Gift and Music Memories

A gift arrived today.  A gift from ABOVE…yes.  Yes, my friends, our upstairs neighbors dropped off a gift (really a loan) that will solve all the world's problems.  The gift is called:

What To Expect: The Toddler Years

Finally, a manual.  Because we are slacker parents, we immediately noticed that we are 346 pages behind already in the book.  We gave up reading after Avery turned 1, feeling glib, and well, have been slowly sliding into a sea of toddler induced chaos.  But now, a manual.  We are saved.

But this is not a post about parenting (not needed!  we now have a manual!).  This is a post about memories.  Music induced memories.  On my way to work this morning I was flipping through my iTouch and as I listened it was like many scenes from my life were scrolling by.  So I thought I would make note of it for the future, whenever I might want to take a trip back in time.  Here goes:

Goin' Back To Cali, LL Cool J: flashed back to 2008 on a flight to – you guessed it – California where I was sitting 2 rows back from the Man himself, Mr. LL.  Oh yes.  At the end of the flight I told him that thanks to him I had been singing Goin Back to Cali the whole 5 hours.  He was amused.  And shorter than you would think.  But just dreamy, in general.

American Boy, Estelle and Kanye West: Watching the 2009 Grammys with my mom.

City of Blinding Lights, U2: Going for a run in LA in 2005 when my husband, then boyfriend, was working on the Crescent Beverly Hills (sweet little hotel).  Had a great run.  Felt like I was in a Gatorade commercial.

Blow Your Mind, Jamiroquai: Summer, London 1993.  My first experience really living in a city.  And wow did we jump right in.  I was there working in Estee Lauder's London office for the summer and my parents had to drag me back (there is a full post to be done about that summer).  But a friend's boss was dating a member of the band, and she said, "You know, I think these guys are going to be a hit."  Oh London.  Such fond memories.  The summer I discovered platform shoes, how to get into a club by skipping the line, that the English really do cover everything with cream and that the word "Brilliant!" really is, well, brilliant.  We saw every show, we danced on tables, I think we worked at our respective internships, we partied very briefly with Kate Moss and we drank champagne in the Kensington Gardens.  I could go on.  I will stop here…

U Know What's Up, Donell Jones: Summer 2000, working at 360HipHop.  By FAR the best job I have ever had.  Where else might you run into Ice Cube on your way to refill your coffee?

I Remember You, Skid Row: 1989!!  High School!  OH, the hair, the men in tights, the white boots and tiny skirts of the pom squad.  Those were the days. 

SOS, Rihanna: 2006, our wedding.  We had a strategy for music – no slow songs, a dance floor slightly too small to make it feel like a packed party, and we dictated the first five songs to ensure everyone was dancing.  This was the winner, SOS.  Even the old ladies were boogy-ing down.  Future brides, take note – NO SLOW SONGS.  Total wedding dancing buzz kill!  And I tell ya, that floor was rocking the whole night.  Worked for us, or maybe it was the liquor…

Country Grammar, Nelly: Actually, I hate this song but it reminds me of a night, Summer 2000, when my friends and I were totally unsuccessful sneaking our way into some swanky all white, or black or gold party out in the Hamptons. After our rejection (FOILED!  So much for that London training) we drove to our local haunt, and well, I met up with my now husband (who had also been rejected from the same party where he was coming to meet me).  See, it was fate 🙂

What are your music memories?  Isn't it amazing how just a few notes of a song can take you right back?  I think that is one of our nicest traits as humans. 

Casual Observations and OMG I gave birth to a legal eagle

  • There were many responses to my Regrets post. Hit a nerve, eh? I must follow up on that. More thoughts. More regrets.
  • So the fortunate byproduct of giving up beef/pork/chicken/duck/lamb for Lent is that (a) I feel pious, for that that is worth and (b) I lost five pounds which in the wake of not working out for…oh…3 or so years, is nice (particularly when we are beach bound in the near future).  However, with regard to (b) I cannot tell if I lost said pounds because I am not eating meat or because I am SO BEYOND BORED with my dietary options I almost never have an appetite anymore!  Seriously, that is why vegans/vegetarians are skinny, because the food sucks.  I mean, I like beans and eggs and fish and vegetables but I LOVE roast chicken, grilled beef, sauteed pork (talk dirty to me!).  I guess the lesson is that this was a great thing to give up for Lent.  I am suffering.
  • Do you think every parent thinks their child should be a lawyer?  I ask because 2 year olds are incredibly adept negotiators who will go balls to the wall, as they say to avoid going to bed.  By the way, I never use that phrase "balls to the wall" because, well, the imagery is just awful.  Trying it out here for effect…thoughts?  Anyway.  Avery appears to be seeking an Attorney General post with her new tactics.  Tonight we had three decoy trips to the potty (two post getting her into the crib), at least 20 requests for "rub back!", dramatic coughing followed by "WATER!", stuffed animal rearranging, and my personal favorite "Hurt!  Sick!"  Now, you tell me, what parent when they hear screaming followed by "Hurt! Sick!" is not going to feel a pang to go and check for a fever or a leg stuck between the bars?  A sucker I tell you.  That is me.
  • I miss my dad but I will say, having him gone has allowed for my relationship with my mom to develop in a way I am not sure it would have if he were still alive.
  • Why is affordable child care such a tough thing to come by in this country?
  • I would like to write two books.  Here are my ideas (1) a book titled "Questions you should have asked but didn't" about all sort of random topics (questions most people don't ask when investing in a company, buying a house, getting married, ordering furniture…the topics are endless.  I suppose this would be a sucky book since it would be all over the place.  I may start a blog on that one.  The second book would be titled "Extraordinary Lives of Seemingly Ordinary People".  I am convinced that we have greatness all around us – if we only knew the stories of our neighbors and the people we sit next to on the bus, pass on the street, ignore on the sidewalk.  We so often define greatness by fame and fortune, which might be strong indicators of greatness, but there are a lot of folks out there who achieve pretty remarkable things in the face of adversity and it might be nice for us to know their stories too.  Who wants to publish that?
  • The other book that needs to be written might be titled "Why don't you JUST" which is a phrase often heard uttered by venture capitalists who have never worked in a start-up.  Let's just say I think for all VCs it should be a requirement that you spend some time working at a young company.  It sure is fun and definitely will give you an appreciation for the ripple effect "Why don't you just…" can have through a company.

Not much else to add.  Thanks for listening.  I always like to hear from you when you comment, text or email about something on this here blog. 

Quick follow-up to the above mentioned no appetite issue: just said to my husband "I cannot believe it's 10 and I have not eaten dinner nor do I have any interest in dinner and I am probably going to end up eating a sad bowl of YOGURT!"  Sad, I say.  Very sad. 

Regrets. A memoir.

My daughter called me MEAN tonight for the first time.  I am so proud!  This is a sure sign that she is growing up and gaining her sense of self.  Now EAT your lentils!!

Do you have regrets?  I have a few – probably worthy of their own post really.  But here are a few:

  • Should have taken a year off between high school and college.
  • I cannot believe I don't speak another language (does MSFT Excel count? I am fluent in that).
  • Should have run cross country in high school.
  • Should have stuck with rowing crew in college.
  • Should have listened to my parents when they said "Take piano!"
  • [are we catching a theme here, the coulda woulda theme?]
  • Should have played more as a kid and not worried about being embarrassed.
  • Sunscreen.
  • One can always see friends more and call family more than we do.
  • Laughing. More of that.
  • Should have coupled a minor in English with my Econ major.
  • There are hair and outfit regrets. I suppose they make for fun pictures now…don't judge.
  • This is a biggie – conflicted biggie – I regret taking my first job out of business school for the money and the name!  Oh there I said it!  I went to Goldman right after b-school and it was a mistake.  I did it because I thought I wanted to talk to hedge fund managers all day about diverse and alpha generating trading strategies!  YES.  That is what I told myself.  But in reality, it was for money, a "known" career path and well, some other dumb reasons.  I left after only a few months – got an offer at an internet start-up and ran.  The event was not terminal but something of a waste.  I pursued that job for nearly a year in b-school.  THAT was the waste.  What other time in your life do you have to experiment?  To try something new?  To look for a job that aligns with your passions?!?!  I had the world as my oyster and I went to…Wall Street.  Bad oyster.  Alas.  Now, if only we had a better way to figure out what we really WANT to do.  And what a luxury.  To have that as a choice. 

So there you have it.  Oh yeah, there are others, but oh how DULL.  I get the whole "I would not be who I AM! if I had done things differently" (I always picture people saying this, channeling their inner Scarlet O'hara.  But please. What a crock.  I mean sure, maybe that is true but really you would not do ANYTHING differently?  OK.  I suppose the way to think of regrets is as opportunities.  Who says I cannot take piano and learn a language now or in the future?  Think of it that way, feel better.   Move on.

I don't really know how my daughter calling me mean led to that diatribe.  I think I thought my parents were mean for trying to force me to do things I did not want to do but now wish I had done.  Now that is a tough balance to strike as a parent.  Think I will just deal with a few regrets tonight and get to my daughter's future therapy needs another day.

(I Can’t Get No) Inspiration…

Seriously. Talk about a lack of, well, things to talk about.  When I started this blog about 4 years ago (maybe 5, but I think it was 4), it was out of a desire to document various thoughts and ideas in the hope that as I sat in my rocking chair on my porch, as an old lady, drinking my spiked lemonade (yeehaw!), my grandkids would read it aloud, laugh, cry and ask questions "Granny, what was it like in 2010??"

Well here we are and I have nothing to say of late.  Just busy I guess.  And tired.  Do you ever find yourself at home staring at the wall?                              Oh.  Well, I don't either I guess.  I suppose if I DID (which, you know, I DON'T) it would not be a sign of a disorder, but rather just plain tiredness.  No, I am not pregnant.  I am just working hard.  And enjoying it, but between go to work, do a thousand things, pick up child, make her dinner, get her to bed, remember to eat, do more work, pack her a lunch, do some laundry, refi a house, talk to a friend, etc. etc. (oh yeah, see a husband!) you know, the time goes by.  And we just have ONE child.  This is why women, maybe men too, feel weak and guilty.  I just have one and I am tired.  Boo.

Enough of all that.  That is just whining and at the end of the day, I am excited about my job and glad I have important things to do, so BUCK UP as my great Aunt Evelyn would have said.

So in the spirit of grandkids reading this, how about I start with a few simple life updates to get back on track:

Avery has started school!  Day care really, but for her it's school!  And it's great.  She loves it. 

I gave up beef/chicken/pork/duck/etc. for Lent.  I still eat fish and eggs.  I really miss duck (true).  Let's face it, I really miss all meat.  Yes I do.  I have lost 3 pounds unintentionally.  The jury is out about what happens after Easter.  Until then, lentils. 

WE booked a vacation!  NOT a family trip (sorry kid, you get to go to Camp Grammy!).  Down to Miami Beach we shall go soon and re-live our debaucherous early years!…though we will probably just nap.

Is it really March?

I am baking a spaghetti squash right now.  Is that like low fat ice cream?  (the very idea of low fat ice cream is criminal)

For some reason whenever I take the B train to work I think of my dad when I get to 42nd street.  Weird.

If you give some mindshare to Parting Thoughts, you know, those thoughts you think you might have upon your death, are you living the best way you can?  I am not sure I am.  I am not too far off the mark but I think among many other things a few parting thoughts would involve laughing/drawing/sharing/reading/calling more.  Perhaps there is a post to be done on this.

I think Generation M, of which we are all now a part (Generation Multi-task) is making us all less efficient and generally dumber (more dumb?).  Yes.

I hate Washington politics and have become jaded and disillusioned.

I saw two old friends in the past week and dog gone it, I had a blast.  Need a lot more of that.

Avery said "Golly willikers!" today.  Say what??

I read The Help and loved it.

My friend Heidi's book came out and is getting rave reviews.  Called The Girl Who Feel From The SkyBuy it here.  GREAT book.

Do you think Iron Chef is rigged?  I do.

The next time you are baking brownies, stir in a few dollops of peanut butter.  Because even brownies can be improved.  Life Lessons From Cooking.  That is all.

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