My husband, who has been on a sock jihad of sorts in our basement laundry room, has stuffed a large, black trash bag full of mismatched socks, ranging from plain white sports socks, to black dress socks and thigh-high soccer socks to novelty holiday anklets with black cats and candy canes. He secured the bag with a twist tie lugged it upstairs into the living room where I was sprawled out on the floor with the newspaper . “I’ve got a great idea for our next dinner party,” he announced as he dropped the bag squarely onto the MetroWest section. “We can invite our friends over to match socks. Every time someone matches a pair, they have to drink a shot.”He looked pleased with himself. “They can even bring their own bags of single socks – it will be like speed dating for knee-hi’s.”
“But it would be a terrible party,” I said. “Everyone would leave completely sober.” Alas, his enthusiasm would not be dampened bya mere shot of reality.
“We could create an art installation!” he continued. “We’ll string a clothesline along the length of the street and all of the neighbors can hang their single socks. It will be a testimony to the isolation of suburbia, a commentary on consumerism and society, a statement underscoring our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint!”
Or we could just stash the bag in the corner of the basement and forget about socks and be glad it’s warm enough to wear flip flops.
In the midst of the turmoil that recently rocked Egypt and culminated with the toppling of a corrupt government, a baby was born. As a tribute to the social media that fueled the protests, the parents of the infant girl named her “Facebook.” It’s a moniker that I believe might be surfing the crest of the newest wave of baby names. After all, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth $12 billion dollars. I would think he might want to send little Facebook a onesie with the company logo or maybe spring for her college tuition (after all, you wouldn’t want to sully the company name by having Facebook unemployed or working as a pole dancer).
Which opens the door to other baby naming possibilities.
I think Alcoa is a rather pretty name for a girl and its stock is up to twenty one cents a share. Also up to forty-seven cents a share, is Pfizer, a name which really could work for either sex. Boeing is a nice boy’s name and their stock is up, too, as is Merck, a easy, forthright name for a boy and it beat its earnings estimates during the last quarter. Move over Aiden and Ella, here come Exxon and Verizon! Take a look at the NASDAQ and you’ll see potentially millions and millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships available to enterprising families and their well-named off spring.
Of course, Gwyenth Paltrow did name her child Apple. Does Steve Jobs know?
Usually, in the woman’s locker room, there is not much conversation. It is a bunch of women mentally comparing their lumps and jiggles with the other naked women’s lumps and jiggles. Occasionally, there is a request to borrow a squirt of conditioner or a comment on the temperature of the water in the pool.
But yesterday, was different. Women were actually talking to eachother. With wet hair, standing naked, their voices echoed off the tiled walls and carried into the showers. They were talking about Amy Chou’s Book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.” More specifically, they were talking about whether the no-nonsense, no sleep-overs, practice, practice, practice tactics touted by the author were inspired parenting or borderline child abuse.
I don’t know.
I do know, now that my kids are mostly beyond the age of parental influence, that I wish that I had cracked the Tiger Mom whip a little more effectively. Sure, I nagged them to do their homework and they spread their notebooks out on the dining room table and did it. At least they said they did it. But their report cards revealed that they were missing assignments, not always prepared for class and certainly not working up to their potential. This doesn’t happen to children of a Tiger Mom. My kids all took piano lessons and violin, too. But they never practiced. Even when I yelled, my tantrums would result in an angry rendition of Bach’s Minuet in G or a slammed bedroom door and no practice at all. So I let them quit music lessons. Some of us are Tigers, some of us are just moms trying to get our kids to remember to flush the toilet and turn out lights.
Indeed, Amy Chua’s daughters straight A’s and prodigious piano playing might be the result of superior parenting, but I suspect that their achievements are due largely to genetics. Amy Chua is a Yale law professor with degrees from Harvard University. She’s no dummy. In fact, she’s a marketing genius.
I feel totally lucky to live in a neighbodhood where I like the people who live next door, across the street and down the block. In fact we like eachother so much, that we often get together for impromptu dinners, like the one at my house the other night.
Everyone was drinking wine and mulling around the kitchen. I was rummaging through the fridge to see what I could use to make salad dressing. As I tossed some oil,vinegar and mustard together, my neighbor said, “Hey! Isn’t that my bowl?”
I don’t actually remember buying the bowl, but it’s been in my kitchen and played a key role in food preparation for at least two or three years. I wanted to say “Prove it!” Because I really like that bowl. It’s perfect size and the color goes great with my countertops.
“Maybe, it is yours,” confessed. “But I left my favorite yellow bowl with the stripes somewhere, so I need this one.” I also need the little ceramic cheese tray that someone left at my Christmas open house, the salad tongs that were orphaned at a block party last summer and a basket that was abandoned after I broke my elbow and the neighborhood responded with an outpouring of food delivered to our house.
“I don’t have your yellow bowl,” she said. “But I do think that I have three of your wine glasses,” she said, “and your fondue forks.”
“You do?” I tried to remember when I lent them to her.
“Let’s call it even,” she said. “The dressing needs more salt.”
Love this neighborhood.
According to New Tang Dynasty Television, a pot of 2,400 year old soup was found buried among ruins in Xi’an, China. Big deal.
If these archaeologists are impressed with a measly pot of soup, I can unearth more exciting moldy leftovers in my fridge. They might be older, too. There’s blue cheese that’s supposed to be yellow, a container of organic yogurt that expired in September, wilted kale and a take-out box with petrified Peking ravoli from the Wok Inn.
If that’s not impressive enough, then I invite the crew from China to excavate my freezer where, just today, I discovered a frozen mass, entombed in a zip lock bag. Carbon-dating is on going to determine the contents which may or may not be the carcass from the Thanksgiving turkey. The 2002 Thanksgiving turkey.
When it comes to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am stuck in my ways. No, scrap that. I am a dictator. For that reason, I have a hard time relinquishing the dinner prep to say…my mother in law or my sister in law or even Rachael Ray.
It’s with trepidation that I travel to my sister in law’s house this year. Or any year.
I love her. She’s a fabulous cook. She makes her family’s stuffing which chock full of celery, savory herbs, butter and bread crumbs. It’s delicious, but it’s not my family’s stuffing.
She is as passionate about her ancestor’s recipe as I am about mine.
So, after feasting in New York, we will drive back to Boston where I will make two pans of corn bread, dry it out and crumble it up with sausage, apples, cider and cranberries. Then I will take the 22-pound turkey that is defrosting in the fridge and I will stuff it.
It’s Friday and I am cleaning the house. Not because I am having a fancy dinner party, but because my daughter is coming home from college for the weekend and my oldest son will be here for dinner. Yes. I am cleaning for my kids. The same kids that just two or three years ago I nagged to pick up their socks and put their dirty dishes in the sink. It’s not like I have to impress them.
I guess I am cleaning to prove to them that the messy house that they grew up in was all