Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's Not You, It's Meatball (Redux)

You may have noticed I haven't blogged in a while. (Or maybe you didn't, but a week without blogging seems like a long time to me!) Lately I've been contemplating whether or not to end this Crazy Sexy Delicious story as I'm  re-evaluating what truly nourishes me and making some changes to my personal life.


Of the old habits I've decided to shed during this transformation, I hesitated on two: my sugar consumption and this blog. I've given up on altering the former for now, and I've tried to negotiate different compromises in my mind for the latter (blog recipes without stories? Rerun old stories with new recipes? Write fictional posts?) but ultimately what it comes down to is that I don't want to invest my energy in something that no longer "has juice" or fires me up. Recipes alone won't satisfy me; there has to be more to my writing life than just food. And as you've certainly noticed in these posts, it's hard to have a healthy inner life when what gets hits is putting drama on display.

I mulled over all this, indecisive as ever. (I'm very talented at convincing myself of whatever I want to believe.) But this morning, a feeling of certainty came over me. This blog needs to stop. Therefore, I'm officially calling this my goodbye post so I won't be tempted to start back up again.


A big thanks to all of you for following my emotional ups and downs, dating missteps and successes, and for the feedback you've given me online and in person. It's been a wild ride, but as we know, all good things must come to an end, especially if we want better things to come along. I don't know what will replace the space Crazy Sexy Delicious has occupied in my life for the last 3 1/2 (!) years, but I look forward to finding out.

**

My final recipe isn't the most photogenic, but damn is it tasty--and healthy for your heart!

3 INGREDIENT TACO TURKEY MEATBALLS (GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE)



Ingredients

2 pounds lean ground turkey
2 eggs, beaten
1 packet taco seasoning (check individual brands online to ensure they are gluten free)

Method

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 x 13 glass baking pans with cooking spray. Set aside.

• Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Incorporate ingredients with hands. Form mixture into golf ball sized portions. Place in prepared baking pans.

• Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until center of meatball is no longer pink.

• Enjoy guilt-free, knowing you’re doing something good for yourself.

**

I'm pretty sure I've posted "Nolita" before, but when I thought about writing this post, Keren Ann's eerily sung assertion "I think I'm going to bury you" was the first that came to mind.



It's late

I think I'm gonna stay
I think I'm gonna bury you
I think I'm gonna bury you or myself

It's late

I think it's gonna rain
I think I'm gonna bury you
I think I'm gonna bury you or myself

Somewhere I'd like to be cold and safe
If you're here to cry over someone else
Through the upper tide
I would be insane but myself

It's late

I think it's gonna rain
I think I'm gonna bury you
I think I'm gonna bury you or myself

Somewhere I'd like to be cold and safe
If you're here to cry over someone else
Through the upper tide
I would be insane, to be cold and safe

If you're here to cry over someone else
Through the upper tide
I would be insane

If you're here to cry over someone else
I would be insane but myself

It's late

I think I'm gonna stay
I think I'm gonna bury you
I think I'm gonna bury you or myself

Somewhere I'd like

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Get Rich

There's been a lot of talk about money in the world this week, what with the New York Times firing Jill Abramson. (I'm not going to rant about that. Amanda Hess wrote an excellent article on the subject which I will refer you to here instead.)

I've also been revisiting The Secret and its accompanying book The Power, both by Rhonda Byrne, which state that you can attract financial abundance into your life with positive thinking.


"To attract money you must focus on wealth," Byrne says. She also says you have to give it to get it and never, ever focus on lack. Huh. Well, the jury's still out on whether or not I can maintain a positive streak long enough to attract money, but I do know one way to get rich quick: dessert!

There's a recipe called Billionaire Bars that I've wanted to try, but you know what? I'm sick of being square all the time, and imitation is boring. So I decided to do my four-layer masterpiece in a pie pan. Take a shortbread crust and top it with caramel, cookie dough, and chocolate ganache, and you will have a priceless treat. If you can't be a billionaire, eat one! (Wait, that came out wrong...)

BILLIONAIRE PIE



Ingredients

For the shortbread layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the caramel layer:
35 caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cookie dough layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips

For the chocolate ganache layer:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Method

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

• To make shortbread layer, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla; stir. Add flour and salt; stir. Use hands if necessary to fully incorporate flour into dough. Press dough into pie pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.

• To make the caramel layer, combine caramels and cream in medium saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until smooth. Pour caramel mixture over shortbread layer; gently spread with back of spoon across surface of shortbread. Place pie pan in fridge to chill.

• Meanwhile, make cookie dough layer by creaming together butter and sugars in medium bowl. Add cream and vanilla; stir until smooth. Add flour; stir until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.

• Remove pie pan from fridge and gently spread cookie dough over caramel layer. Return to fridge to chill.

• Make chocolate layer by combining chocolate chips and cream in small saucepan; heat over low heat, stirring often, until chocolate chips are melted and smooth.

• Remove pie pan from fridge; pour melted chocolate over caramel. Spread with back of spoon.

• Return pan to fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Slice and serve, cold and hard, like cash!

**



I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain't it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That's too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball...

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world
Aha-ahh
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It's a rich man's world

A man like that is hard to find but I can't get him off my mind
Ain't it sad
And if he happens to be free I bet he wouldn't fancy me
That's too bad
So I must leave, I'll have to go
To Las Vegas or Monaco
And win a fortune in a game, my life will never be the same...

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world
Aha-ahh
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It's a rich man's world

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world
Aha-ahaaa
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It's a rich man's world

It's a rich man's world

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

25 Things (and at least that many s'mookies)

You may have seen those "25 Things" lists circulating in social media and in certain gossip rags. As with most trends, I'm a little late to the party, but I thought I'd try to come up with a couple dozen things (give or take) that you didn't know about me. Or maybe you did…? (And if you don't want to know, that's cool, too. There are some kick-ass cookies waiting for you at the end of this post.)

1) My mother named me after Erica Huggins, a Black Panther. Her nickname for me was "Carrot Top."

2) My parents listened to a lot of Tuck & Patti, Tracy Chapman, and Sade when I was a child. I still have many of their songs memorized today.

3) My first album purchases were M.C. Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, Paula Abdul's Spellbound, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, TLC's Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip, and Boyz II Men's II, all on cassette.


4) The first concert I went to was New Kids on the Block. The second was Whitney Houston.

5) I saw Speed (starring Keanu Reeves) around 13 times in the theater. I memorized the entire film.

6) I have never seen Star Trek or Star Wars anything and I have no desire to.

7) My first "real" job was working as an usher at the Children's Theater Company. I made $4 an hour.

8) One of the perks for ushers at the Children's Theater was we got to eat the broken cookies after intermission. I ate a ton of broken cookies the year I worked there.

9) The first kid who ever offered me a cigarette (in middle school) later appeared on a national daytime talk show to discuss his drug abuse with his parents.

10) I have never smoked a cigarette and I have never been drunk.

11) My first and second cars were Chevy Celebrities (awesome rides).


12) I've lived in Minnesota my entire life.

13) The longest periods I spent outside of Minnesota were a month in Spain and a month in Mexico when I was 16 and 17, respectively.

14) I got married to my first husband at 17.

15) My early career aspirations included veterinarian and bilingual preschool teacher.

16) I applied, and was offered admission to Macalester College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Minnesota. I went to Macalester because I didn't think a long-distance marriage would work.

17) From 1999 to 2005, I spoke primarily Spanish.

18) I once lived with three Mexican men in a two bedroom apartment. It was the only time I've ever had roommates. (Not including children and fiancés.)

19) After my divorce, I began dating, got engaged to, and dumped by my high school Economics teacher.


20) I have been accepted to Master's Programs in Exercise Science, Family Therapy, and Creative Writing. I attended two of those programs and completed degrees in none of them.

21) I hate shoe shopping, getting haircuts, and painting my nails.

22) I've exercised every day for the last ten years.

23) If I could only eat two foods for the rest of my life, they would be Jazz apples and peanut butter.

24) My guilty pleasures are bad reality TV shows and Us Weekly.

25) I've been blogging for 5 1/2 years. Every six months or so, I think I'm going to stop because I have nothing to write about. Now would be one of those times.

**

It's no secret that I love cookies (see #8, above). The inspiration for today's treat came to me when I realized my steady supply of Brookies was almost gone. I didn't feel like making the same old recipe again, so I made a batch of brownie cookies, a batch of peanut butter cookies, then smooshed them together with melted marshmallows. I thought Brookies couldn't be beat—turns out S'mookies are even more amazing!

BROOKIE S’MOOKIES


Ingredients

For the peanut butter cookies:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the brownie cookies:
1 box brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Triple Chunk)
1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water

For the filling:
1 bag marshmallows, sliced in half
4 Hershey's bars, broken into squares

Method

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 6 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

• Make peanut butter cookie dough by combining butter, sugars, and peanut butter in large bowl; stir until uniform. Add egg; stir. Add flour and baking soda; stir. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and slide (on parchment paper) to wire rack to cool.

• Make brownie cookie dough by combining brownie mix and flour; stir. Add eggs, vegetable oil, and water; stir until combined. If dough is too wet, add another tablespoon of flour to batter. Scoop into tablespoon sized drops onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and slide (on parchment paper) to wire rack to cool.

• Once cookies have cooled, pack in Tupperware containers and freeze overnight. (Do not skip this step or your cookies will all crumble and be a big hot mess!)

• Once cookies are frozen, remove cookies from containers. Place one brownie cookie, face-down, on a plate. Top with halved marshmallow and 2 squares chocolate. Top with peanut butter cookie. Microwave for 10 to 20 seconds, or just until marshmallow puffs. Do not overheat! Let rest a moment before serving or transferring back to Tupperware. Repeat with remaining cookies.

• Yes, this is tedious, but if you aren’t patient, it will all fall apart and nobody will be impressed. Also applicable to life.

**

If you don't know me by now...you probably never will. I'm pretty sure even those who know me best are still baffled by all the ways I keep them guessing.



If you don't know me by now
You will never never never know me

All the things
That we've been through
You should understand me
Like I understand you
Now girl I know the difference
Between right and wrong
I ain't gonna do nothing
To break up our happy home
Don't get so excited
When I come home
A little late at night
'Cause we only act like children
When we argue, fuss, and fight

If you don't know me by now
You will never never never know me

We've all got our own funny moods
I've got mine, woman you've got yours, too
Just trust in me like I trust in you
As long as we've been together
It should be so easy to do
Just get yourself together
Or we might as well say goodbye
What good is a love affair
When you can't see eye to eye

If you don't know me by now
You will never
Never never know me

Saturday, May 10, 2014

You Don't Want To Know

Facebook is bad for relationships. I've always known this, even though I had many a relationship begin because of Facebook. I suppose I shouldn't lay all the blame on Facebook. Digging too deeply into any form of social media is like pulling the pin on a grenade, holding it in your palm, and watching it. You know it's going to explode; you just don't know how soon.


One click leads to another and another and another. Curiosity killed the cat and all that, but cool cats like us have nine lives, so who the hell cares, right?

Eventually, you come to the final click--the click that makes you want to smash your computer screen when you see or read something you weren't prepared for.

For me, it was a picture of a man I was supposed to marry. From his wedding day. The bride? The woman he cheated on me with. The date? Less than a month after he dumped all my belongings on his porch. (She helped, I'm pretty sure.)

KA-BOOM.


Believe it or not, this has never happened to me before. Sure, I've seen men I've dated go out with other women. I've met some of my exes' exes. Once, I even worked with a woman with whom I had shared a man, and who had messaged me anonymously about him in the past...but I didn't realize it was her until I no longer worked there. (She knew the whole time and said nothing, which is pretty fucking creepy in hindsight.)

Luckily (?) for me, my exes do not tend to be the marrying kind (which is why my relationships with them often ended). I don't have to think about them marrying anyone else because they never will.

But it's a special kind of sucker punch to the gut when someone who was supposed to be your husband gets married so fast he barely had time to change the sheets.

Lest you think I'm obsessing, this kind of behavior doesn't happen often. It's usually a side-effect of restlessness, procrastination, or avoiding some adult responsibility. I get curious about someone (the "who" rotates and really isn't important; so many exes, so many ways to waste time!) and I start searching. (Don't act like you've never done it. Hell, half of the men reading this blog only do so to keep tabs on me!)


What is the etiquette in such situations? "Liking" your ex's wedding photo could be funny, in a "Congratulations, you fuckers! I hope you make each other miserable for all eternity!" kind of way. Or it could look desperate and stalker-ish.

In this case, I am not jealous. I'm just pissed that I didn't beat him to the altar. (I also had this feeling when my ex-husband re-married before me.) I know it's all ancient history. I'm better off because of the breakup. But I can't deny the strange swarm of emotions that rose up in my stomach.

I confessed to Specs what I'd done because I needed to tell someone about this bizarre discovery.

"I hope he treats her better than he treated you," Specs said.

"What?" I gasped. I hoped for a lot of things for the ex in question--castration, illness, suffering--but I certainly don't wish for him to have a happy marriage with the Other Woman.


"I hope she cuts his balls off. I hope she cheats on him. I hope he gets his heart trampled on," I said.

"I meant, 'I hope he learned the error of his ways.'"

"Ha!" I said. (Or something like that.)

I suppose this is all a good lesson: No more online searching. What's done is done. Bury those assholes and never look back. Because while curiosity won't kill you, it sure as hell can make you go bananas.

**

Today's recipe is perfect for when you want to take your mind off the increasingly incestuous nature of the Internet (not to mention the Twin Cities).

Specs has been craving buns. I've been avoiding making them because they're so much work. I told him if he made the dough, I'd do the filling. Last night, he had his very first bun dough making experience. (I feel like both he and I are too old--at 43 and 32--respectively, to do anything for the first time anymore, but apparently not.) I decided to do the buns as I never had before--packed with mashed bananas and chocolate chips. While I can't dig into these luscious pastries (gluten galore!), they sure were fun to photograph and I know he'll enjoy them.

Keep your hands busy with baking and away from that search engine.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BUNS


Ingredients

For the buns:
2 3/4 cups flour, divided
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 medium bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

• Combine 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Whisk. Set aside.

• In large saucepan, combine water, milk, and butter; heat over low heat, stirring often, until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let cool momentarily.

• Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients. Stir. Add egg; stir until dough forms.

• Knead dough on lightly floured surface for several minutes, sprinkling with as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as necessary until dough is elastic but not too wet. Return dough to bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.

• After initial rise, you can refrigerate dough for up to 2 days if desired. When ready to bake, roll dough out into 9 x 13 rectangle.

• To make filling, combine mashed bananas and butter in large bowl. Stir until incorporated. Spread mixture over surface of dough. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate chips.

• Roll dough tightly into a log. Cut 8 equal-sized buns from log. Place swirl-side down in greased deep-dish baking pan (either round or square). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise additional 30 minutes.

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, or until set in center and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

• Meanwhile, prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir vigorously until mixture is smooth. Drizzle over warm buns. Serve.

• Everybody feels better after baking. You can't say the same of cyberstalking.

**

I don't want to talk about it (anymore), but far be it from me to prevent Crazy Horse from singing about it.



I can tell by your eyes that you've probably been cryin' forever
And the stars in the sky don't mean nothin' to you, they're a mirror
I don't want to talk about it, how you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won't you listen to my heart, whoa, heart

If I stand all alone, will the shadow hide the color of my heart
Blue for the tears, black for the night's fears
The star in the sky don't mean nothin' to you, they're a mirror
I don't want to talk about it, how you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won't you listen to my heart, whoa, heart
I don't want to talk about it, how you broke this ol' heart

If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won't you listen to my heart, whoa, heart
My heart, whoa, heart

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Treat Me Like Your Mother

I'm not a fan of holidays. Mother's Day is no exception--in fact, it's one of the most loaded ones. I have a lot of complicated feelings about my mother and about being a mother, and they change drastically depending on the day. (I see a lot of heads nodding out there. It's a convoluted relationship, amirite?)


I have neither the time nor the inclination to delve into that emotional quagmire right now, so instead I'm going to focus on the food, because as a mother and a daughter, I know I've at least done that part of Mother's Day right. All of these cakes, taken from the Crazy Sexy Delicious archives, are simple enough for baking novices and will "wow" your mom or the mothering figure in your life. Don't forget to "treat" her right this Sunday!



This cake consists of two layers of Rice Krispies treats topped with frosting and springtime colored chocolate chips. It's a sugar bomb, yes, but a light and airy one!



Hummingbird Cake is essentially a banana cake infused with pineapple, slathered with cream cheese frosting, and studded with pecans. It's an impressive dessert that'll make your mom proud.



The only way to make Angel Food cake more heavenly is to add funfetti sprinkles to the mix, stuff it with ice cream, and top it with cherry pie filling. If you're not your mother's favorite yet, this cake will promote you to first place.



This is one of my most controversial cakes. It even got me kicked out of a baking club! And yet, it's one of my most popular dessert recipes. I guess some people have trouble admitting they're not as prudish as they appear to be...? (Psst...you can be a mom and be sexy. Trust me.)

Add a card to your edible gift and that's that. Are we done with Mother's Day yet?

**

It's possible I've posted this song by Tracy Bonham before (mothers can blame this forgetfulness on a phenomenon called "baby brain") but all the other songs about mothers are sappy, and that's not how I generally feel about the whole motherhood thing. I mean, really.




Mother mother
Can you hear me
I'm just calling to say hello
How's the weather
How's my father
Am I lonely heavens no
Mother mother
Are you listening
Just a phone call to ease your mind
Life is perfect
Never better
Distance making the heart grow blind

When you sent me off to see the world
Were you scared that I might get hurt
Would I try a little tobacco
Would I keep on hiking up my skirt

I'm hungry
I'm dirty
I'm losing my mind
Everything's fine

I'm freezing
I'm starving
I'm bleeding to death
Everything's fine

Yeah, I'm working
Making money
I'm just starting to build a name
I can feel it
Around the corner
I could make it any day

Mother mother
Can you hear me
Yeah I'm sober sure I'm sane
Life is perfect
Never better
Still your daughter still the same

If I tell you what you want to hear
Will it help you to sleep well at night
Are you sure that I'm your perfect dear
Now just cuddle up and sleep tight

I'm hungry
I'm dirty
I'm losing my mind
Everything's fine

I'm freezing
I'm starving
I'm bleeding to death
Everything's fine

I miss you
I love you

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Death By Chocolate, Not By Gluten

Some desserts have the strangest names. Like "Dump Cake" (Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Gross). Or "Nipples of Venus" (Italian truffles). Or "Lady Fingers" (Cannibals!). Or "Better Than Robert Redford Cake" (WTF?!). I could go on, but today I'm focusing on one in particular: Poke Cake.

Now, I want to do a lot of things to a cake (many of which I wouldn't want to be seen doing) but poking and pouring sticky liquid into it are not high on the list (though I bet this urge is common in men). Alas, despite its questionable name, Poke Cake is a very popular sub-genre of dessert, and seeing how I hadn't done one in a long time (turns out this Better Than Sex Cake is from the Poke Cake family), I figured I'd give it another try.

It's been a gloomy week in the Twin Cities. Non-stop rain and gray skies that would just not quit. So I decided to check Poke Cake off my "To Bake" list and increase my waning serotonin at the same time. I may have gone overboard when I decided to make three insanely sugary layers of chocolate infused with sweetened condensed milk. I ate 1 1/2 slices and collapsed into a coma. I could have died! From eating dessert!


Okay, not really, but I couldn't even look at this cake without getting a stomachache after that. The good news is that it was very easy to adapt to a gluten free diet, so at least I didn't have that allergic reaction weighing me down in addition to the dairy one.

We could call this "Better Than Sex Cake," but, come on, I've never had a cake that was better than sex, and if you have, I must question why you're doing sex wrong (or with the wrong person). Death By Chocolate Poke Cake does have one advantage over sex, however, and that is:


Now, I simply must get outside, as the cake is all gone, the sun is shining, and I haven't had a proper dose of Vitamin D in almost a week!

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE POKE CAKE (GLUTEN FREE)


Ingredients

1 box gluten free chocolate cake mix
Water, butter, and eggs (as called for on cake mix)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar hot fudge
1 cup chocolate chips
*Note: Always check individual brands to ensure they are gluten free

Method

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan generously with cooking spray.

• Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan.

• Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cake is set and toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

• Remove cake from oven. Let cool 5 minutes, then run spatula gently around rim of cake. Place serving platter next to pan. Put hand on top of cake, flip cake into hand, then flip cake right side up onto serving platter. (Fun and challenging!)

• Poke holes in surface of cake with straw (or just a fork if you don’t have straws). Pour sweetened condensed milk over cake, aiming for the holes (ahem). Use spoon to scoop up excess milk from platter and redistribute it on top of cake.

• Chill cake in fridge for 2 to 3 hours, or until serving time. When ready to serve, heat up jar of hot fudge as directed on container. Stir, then pour over cake. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Serve.

• Enjoy in moderation. There may be no such thing as too much chocolate, but there is such a thing as too much dairy!

**

When I searched YouTube for a song containing the word "poke," I figured I'd get something I couldn't even stomach to watch. I found this bittersweet tune by Frightened Rabbit instead. No unsavory images necessary.



Poke at my iris
Why can't I cry about this
Maybe there is something that you know that I don't
We adopt brand new language
Communicate through pursed lips
and you try not to put on any sexy clothes or graces
I might never catch a mouse 

and present it in my mouth
To make you feel you're with someone who deserves to be with you
But there's one thing we've got going
and it's the only thing worth knowing
It's got lots to do with magnets and the pull of the moon
Why won't our love keel over as it chokes on a bone
and we can mourn its passing
and then bury it in snow
Or should we kick its cunt in
and watch as it dies from bleeding
If you don't want to be with me just say and I will go

Well we can change our partners
this is a progressive dance but
remember it was me who dragged you up to the sweaty floor
Well this has been a reel
I've got shin-splints and a stitch from we
but like a drunken night it's the best bits that are colored in
You should look through some old photos
I adored you in every one of those
If someone took a picture of us now they'd need to be told
that we had ever clung and tied
a navy knot with arms at night
I'd say she was his sister but she doesn't have his nose
and now we're unrelated and rid of all the shit we hated
but I hate when I feel like this
and I never hated you

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Baby BOOM!

There’s a baby boom echoing throughout my social circle, the magnitude of which I haven’t seen since I—and my then friends and their friends—started having babies over a decade ago.


Pregnancy is such a hopeful, optimistic time. Parents-to-be post on Facebook about how they’re going to have an all-natural birth, use cloth diapers, breastfeed until the kid can ask for it by name, grow and make their own organic baby food, and keep their kids away from the Internet for all eternity.

To that I say: Yeah, right.

And: That’s okay.

Parenting is the worst job you’re ever going to have. And it’s the only job you can never quit. That’s not to say having children isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as far as the unparalleled amount of love you will feel for your little person and the immensity of gratitude you will have for them being in your life. Becoming a parent might be the best decision you ever make (if you even made a decision in the first place) but parenting is not for the faint of heart.

I don’t mean to dash your dreams, or dissuade you from procreating, but you should know what it’s really like so it doesn’t come as a shock-and-awe attack upon your baby’s arrival. (Though even if you actually read the rest of this post, parenthood will be a shock anyway.)

In short: Whatever you think parenthood is going to be like, it won’t be like that. As soon as that baby takes its first breath (and makes its first blood curdling scream) you are no longer in control. Throw all your fantasies of schedules and order and coordinating outfits right out the window of the nursery you aren’t even going to use for the first six months.


Why? Because you’ll be too exhausted to walk across the hall, much less sleep train. You’ll end up co-sleeping. And once you start, it’s very challenging to stop. Which brings us to the bone tiredness unique to new parents. (Actually, it never goes away. Welcome to Zombiehood!) There’s a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture tactic. Not getting your zzz’s will seriously fuck you up. There’s not much you can do about that except nap as often as possible. Everyone will tell you, “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” but you often won’t, because there’s so much you’re neglecting to do in the other areas of your life. Or is it your former life? You can hardly remember what it was like before baby anymore.

But no naps for you, because there are bottles to clean and sanitize; a shit-load (pun intended) of laundry to do (cloth diapers seem silly now, don't they?); and if you’re going to eat (breast feeding makes one ravenous) you better cook something. By which I mean: microwave. That is, if you even have groceries. If not, load sleeping baby and your big ass diaper bag in the car, because it’s up to you to keep those cupboards stocked and you wouldn’t dare attempt grocery shopping with a newborn unless s/he is dozing.

Then there are the hormones. Never underestimate the power of a woman’s biology to make life a living hell. Imagine your worse episode of PMS, times a hundred. That’s what’s happening on a chemical level inside a new mother. You may get depressed or resentful. Sometimes you’ll be so happy you’ll cry. Other times, you’ll weep because your boobs have become giant milk sacks and your nipples are cracked and bleeding and you just wish you could take a day off from being the family cow. (Hint: Get a breast pump and don’t be afraid to use it. It saved me both times from cutting my own breasts off with a machete.)

When your child gets older, the sadness will evaporate (along with your milk) and you will be introduced to a rage you never knew you had in you. This is when locking yourself in the closet to take a few deep breaths while your toddler tantrums and pounds on the other side of the door seems like a good strategy. And it is.


But that’s years down the line. Back to baby.

After babies eat, they excrete. And they excrete a lot of bodily substances, in a rainbow of hues and of varying stenches. Pro tip: it’s all potentially projectile. Spit-up, vomit, pee, poop. It will all end up on your face, furniture, walls, and other places you never imagined a baby could aim at some point. If you’re grossed out now, don’t worry: Soon you’re baby’s bodily fluids are all you and your spouse will talk about.

Speaking of your spouse, he’ll likely get the baby blues, too. Guys aren’t very good at expressing emotions, and your baby daddy’s not sure how to tell you that he’s actually jealous of an infant. Add six weeks of no sex, and that man is going to get very mopey and possibly agitated. But don’t leave him alone in a sexual desert. You need him to be on your side. There are plenty of other activities you can do together that don’t involve that very sore orifice between your thighs that you probably never want to have touched again. (You will, eventually. And then you’ll get knocked up again. Oh, joy.)

Meanwhile, everyone will be giving you advice. Parents who have done this before are especially apt to put in their two cents (see: this post) about how to raise your child. Listen to everyone, but do not commit to anyone’s philosophy. You know more than you think you do. Also less. But those parenting books and magazines with shiny, happy people on the covers cannot possibly apply to every woman, child, and family situation, so I suggest you forgo reading them all together. You will make mistakes, of course, but you will also be surprised by how right your intuition is most of the time, if you’ll only listen deeply to it.


Eventually, you will find your rhythm. Your baby will teach you, and you will cobble together your own parenting method. Then your child will enter a new stage, and everything will go back to chaos for a while. There will be more lessons to learn, and you may never feel like you really know what the hell you’re doing. You will feel like the worst parent in the world sometimes. You’re not. You are imperfect. So is your child. Humans are flawed. To expect anything other than that is to set yourself up for disappointment.

The good news is: a lot of people turn out mostly okay, despite their upbringing. Everyone’s parents mess up at some point, and we’ve all survived. There are a lot of decent human beings in the world. In fact, I’d say the ones with the crazy childhoods are the most interesting adults. Parents are some of my favorite people—when they’re honest about how frustrating/humiliating/life-force-sucking raising children can be.

And, please, don’t let your self (not a typo) be erased by this beautiful human being you brought into the world. Instagram something other than your baby’s face. Get together with friends and forbid baby talk. Get a babysitter and go on a date with your man. Remember what it was like before you became boring, predictable Mom and Dad. It’s true: you will never be the same again. But that’s okay, too. Maybe you’ll be better…and if not, you only have to wait 18 years to reclaim the self you left behind.

**

I’m starting to think about Mother’s Day (though I hate holidays, and this one is no exception) and of course that makes me veer towards all foods pastel hued. This cookie cake is so quick, easy, and simple, even a new mom can do it while her baby naps. Not that she should have to. But since she won’t let herself rest, you might as well get a dessert out of it. (And, psst...if you’re prepping for a baby shower, you can also do this cake with blue Funfetti frosting.)

FUNFETTI COOKIE CAKE


Ingredients

1 Funfetti cake mix
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
1 tub Funfetti frosting (pink or blue, depending on baby’s gender if you like)

Method

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

• Combine cake mix, butter, and egg in large bowl. Stir until batter is uniform. Use hands to incorporate completely if necessary.

• Press half of dough in one prepared pan and the other half in the second pan.

• Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cookie is set in center. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Remove cookie cakes from pans. Frost top of one cake; top with second cookie cake; frost top (and sides, if desired). Sprinkle with sprinkles.

• Share with your favorite mom—even if that’s not your mom—in gratitude of all she does.

**

Having a baby is like a Justin Bieber song. (Yes, I just went there.) It can make you want to pull your hair out, but it’s undeniably addictive.



You know you love me, I know you care
Just shout whenever, and I'll be there
You are my love, you are my heart
And we will never ever ever be apart

Are we an item? Girl, quit playing
We're just friends, what are you saying?
Say there's another and look right in my eyes
My first love broke my heart for the first time
And I was like...

Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like baby, baby, baby nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine

Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like baby, baby, baby nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine

Oh, for you I would have done whatever
And I just can't believe we ain't together
And I wanna play it cool, but I'm losin' you
I'll buy you anything, I'll buy you any ring
And I'm in pieces, baby fix me
And just shake me 'til you wake me from this bad dream
I'm going down, down, down, down
And I just can't believe my first love won't be around

And I'm like
Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like baby, baby, baby nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine

Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like baby, baby, baby nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...