Sunday, November 14, 2010

Heavy Heart

Some good friends of ours are going through hell right now. There is something wrong with their son and they're going through a ton of testing. The diagnosis doesn't look good and, if he does end up with the condition the specialists suspect, there is very little they can do for him and survival is very slim. One of the parents works in the medical field so the process has been less chaotic for them than for someone unfamiliar with the system; however, all that knowledge is little consolation right now.

They know that I'm available should they need anything. For now there's not much we can do other than wait. Gotta go give my kids a hug now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cooking With the Queen of Improv

One thing I dislike about being a busy mom (wait, "busy mom" is a redundant term, right?) is the fact that I don't get a lot of time to try out new recipes, let alone go shopping for special items that I normally don't stock in my bulging pantry. So when I see a recipe I like, I become the Queen of Improv. Sometimes the results are delicious; sometimes they're comically bad. Fortunately, they're often good enough to cancel out the bad.

I was inspired by reading this great article in Sunday's Seattle Times about cooking with local seasonal produce. The article includes a great recipe for Farfalle pasta with pine nuts, currants and kale. It sounded delicious and, as we do not eat kale on a regular basis, I marched down to my local grocers to pick up a large bunch of organic kale. I was surprised by how reasonably priced it was, about $3 for a HUGE bunch.

Of course, I was so busy with other "to-do's" that I didn't manage to pick up the rest of the ingredients. So tonight, during a busy weekday evening, I decided to do the Improv using substitute ingredients I already had. I used chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts, raisins instead of currants and (the biggest difference) spaghetti noodles instead of farfalle (or bowtie) pasta. I also used more garlic than the recipe called for, as our family subscribes to the "if-four-cloves-are-good-then-six-is-better" school of thought.

"What's for dinner?" the kids asked.

"Spaghetti with kale, garlic, walnuts and raisins!" I announced, with just the right amount of enthusiasm - enough to try to get them excited but not enough to make them suspicious.

Silence. "Um, that sounds interesting," said my son cautiously.

The results? It was delicious and the whole family enjoyed it. The toasted walnuts and thin slices of sauteed kale gave a nice crunch to the noodles, and the raisins' sweetness balanced the kale's peppery bitterness quite effectively. I believe some family members went back for seconds and both kids asked me to make it again. Ding, ding, ding -- WINNER!

One of these days I may try to find time to follow the recipe exactly so it'll look as pretty as the Seattle Times photo below. Until then, I am still unashamedly and unabashedly the Queen of Improv.

Photo from The Seattle Times

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Most Amazing Mom

A friend turned me on to this this amazing blog post, in which a mom discusses her preschool-aged son's experiences dressing up as Daphne from "Scooby Doo" for Halloween.

What a ballsy woman she is to allow him to be what he wanted to be and to stand up to the judgemental comments other parents made. I am amazed by how threatened people can be by something that goes outside of THEIR concepts of "normal." People, it's a preschool Halloween party, not the Pride Parade. Wish they had kept their mouths shut. As the saying goes: Opinions are like assholes - Everyone's got one, and they all stink. (Or something like that.)

I remember being very sad when my son learned about "acceptable" gender roles. He loved the color pink until kindergarten, when he informed me that it was a color for girls. He also gave me a listing of which toys were for boys and which ones for girls. Why do we teach boys that it's NOT acceptable for them to play with dolls, yet it's okay for girls to play with toy cars? (And as the parent of both a boy and girl, I'm glad girls have a lot more leeway with "acceptable" toys nowadays, but I don't think it's fair that this doesn't work both ways.)

Just because a little boy wants to dress up as a girl doesn't make him gay. I have never worried about my son turning into a real pumpkin, Teletubbie, skeleton, clown or Darth Vader.

And if the little boy in the blog turns out to be gay, so what? As a mom, I would prefer that my kids be straight, if only for the reason that life is so much harder when your private preferences cause you to be shunned socially and banned from legally marrying. However, if I had to pick between a gay adult child who was emotionally healthy and had happy monogamous relationships versus a straight adult child who slept with everyone and ended up on a "Girls/Boys Gone Wild" DVD, guess which one I'd pick?