glamorous…

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Ok, I’m currently going through a hair transition. The plan is to stop straightening my hair and let it grow in its natural form. The dream is that my hair would be as cute as it is on that doll. Or in reality any number of the these lovely ladies:

In the last couple years, I’ve gone through a range of hair changes but all with the plan that, once married, I’d go back to being natural. Natural = No chemical straightening. 

Now, in all honesty, I’ve tried to do this before. I’d begin and as it got more difficult (the point where a decision between cut it all off and have no hair or get a weave to cover up the hot mess happening) is where I typically folded and ran, as quickly as possible, back to the Dominicans with $30 in hand and their packages of NO LYE Relaxers. 

 

However now that I live in a land without my beloved Dominicans and the cost of a relaxer is typically £75 ($119), I’ve been staying strong!

Here’s where the story gets good…

Since my folks are visiting, the family and I decided to take them down to Brixton for the day. And as we walked around a market, Burs and lil Burs went off to look at fabric, while my folks and I decided to take a sitting break before heading off to eat. As a crowd of people went past, I looked up and saw a friend of Burs’ – a lovely tall fellow*, we’ll call Norm – who I then stopped and said hi to.

He stopped and I could see a lack of recognition. To which I say my name and that I’m Burs’ wife. He looks at me and says – and I quote “Oh my god, I didn’t recognise you. You look a lot less glamorous than you usually do.”

BURN!

And of course, in the crowded and noisy market, my parents heard that. Later that day, as my mum fluffed my hair she uttered the statement ‘less glamorous then usual’.

Her point was made.

So now, I’m weakening. To be called unglamorous is painful.  (The more sensible part of me is doing its best to talk me off the ledge. Of course I didn’t look as glamorous; I was at a flea market on a Saturday with my parents after four days of sleeping on a blow-up mattress in the living room. I was exhausted and didn’t tend to myself in the usual fashion.) My ego is simply not listening to a very sensible argument.

Ugh, I’m faltering.

*Initially I used gay to describe Norm here because, well, he is but I thought it also helped to understand why this would be insulting. An insult about your looks from a gay man is just as bad as one from – nope, no there’s nothing else to compare it to. But then I realised it is an obvious summation once the insult is written out because what straight guy would tell a married woman that she looks less glamorous than usual? And what straight woman hold their opinion up as a standard?

pre-birthing plan…

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The idea that you’re going to automatically love and get along with someone you’ve never met because you’ve given birth to them, has always interested me. It’s suppose to be just a given that you’re going to get along. But, in life, not every body does.

I think the same can happen even if the person is a part of your gene pool.

Which is why, when I came across this book above, I knew it was going to become my must send gift to all newly knocked-up women I know. I brought the book above for Caraballo, who thought it was odd since she’s not a typical Astrology person. And both her and her partner think the ‘Astrology thing’ is a bit of make believe whooey.

Until they decided to read it. They read their birth signs first, as most people do and once you see the characterisation similar to how you were when young, you’re a little bit more likely to give a little credit to the book.

I’m not the sort of person that puts a great deal of belief in the forecasts written in newspapers or magazines. Astrology, in my opinion, should be used as a guidance to the structure of peoples makeup and how you might get along with someone of another sign. I figure a relationship with two head-strung people must be difficult because no one is ever willing to give way to the other. Or one person being very practical and realistic while the other is dreamy-like and fanciful. Sounds like trouble to me.

Then there’s also people who love to eat versus fussy eaters, sleepers versus night owls, punctual people versus spontaneous folks, and so on. Seeing as how a new life is a blank slate, taking into consideration what the effects the month and the time of day may have on that little bundle of cells and blood vessels makes sense to me. Which one would you prefer?

I, for instance, am a massive sleeper. I can drop down into a slumber at a moments notice. So what is important to me is a baby, that will also enjoy sleeping (seeing as how babies are babies. We’re all aware that the first six to twelve weeks or the whole first year, are just a random hodge podge of running around and hoping for a moments peace) . According to said book, babies that are Cancer (June 22 – July 23), Pisces (Feb 20 – March 20) or Taurus (April 21 – May 21) are great sleepers. Babies that Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 20), Gemini (May 21 – June 21) or Aries (March 21 – April 20) prefer to keep the parties going all night long.

Caraballo’s son is an Aries and isn’t a fan of sleep; not naps or at night. That is my worse nightmare.

And so, with the announcement of three more friends currently up the duff (fun Britishism) and a few others in trying mode, I’ve become this book writers dream purchaser. And sure, it may be too late for those already with child, butfor others – like me – that’s still in a thinking mode, I think you can use this book to find the optimal birth signs that will work with you. For instance, I’ve never really gotten along with Gemini’s; some how the spilt person in their sign seems to have an effect on who they are as a person. The idea of having a Gemini as a child is frightful to me. Or Scorpios – Burs is one, as is Smith and I like to think since I get along with both of them so well (and can take their crazy plans and thought processes with a smile and a nod) then that is the sort of relationship I want with my child.

So thanks to that book and my experiences with certain signs, I’ve already gone through and decided the best months for me to have a baby and when not to. And yes, I’m aware this is all crazy talk because planning such things is laughable and I’m still on team debating if childrearing is for me. But the preposterous idea that I’ll have some control gives me comfort.

It’s obviously, not an exact science. But I think, with some semblance of a character frame up and doing your best in pre-birth planning, you can avoid fraught relationships with your little ones. Or, at least, learn not to fret too much if the lil bugger just doesn’t want to eat or is slow in having a desire to crawl.

da youts


It would seem that the youth of today are scared of nothing. Twice in the last couple of months, I’ve come across a group of young girls – between fourteen and sixteen – inside of large ladies room, gleefully applauding and cheering a friends luck. The luck of not being pregnant.

I kid you not.

The first time this happened, I had peeled away in dire need of a ladies room while inside Target. I could hear chatter and time keeping coming from the large handicap stall. I wondered how many girls needed to be inside one when there were nine other empty stalls but then realised I was giving far too much thought to it and continued to take care of business.

Then an eruption of cheers was heard. And as I washed my hands, I was bombarded by ten or so girls all gleefully cheering their friends close call. Before they changed topics to ‘who’s house they were going to later on that night and if he was going to show up.’

I tsked and thought ‘Ah, America’, as I went back to Burs and relaid the story to him. Then we had a nervous laugh where we jokingly blamed MTV and the youts of today (youts = youths and during the riots that happened in London last year, it was shouted all over the place.)

Then yesterday, as I ran into Sainsbury to pick up a few items once again the call of nature hit me. I placed my basket in a familiar place, then ran across the street to the movie theatre (it’s my usual go to ladies room when I’m in the area) where again, midstream, a loud level of applause rang out. Once at the sink I looked around for the crowd making the noise. And the girls look young. I mean, if the girls looked about seventeen, I’d understand but fifteenish. This is getting ridiculous. And worrisome.

When it happened in the states, I could shake it away as the fault of my being in a Republican state without decent sex education or the lack of providing contraception. But in the UK – London no less. This is madness!

Funny enough, quite a few times when I’ve talked to my friend, Paler, we’ve remarked on how the fear of such a thing happening to us was just so great. I mean, we were NEVER putting ourselves in that situation. But when we’d play the WHAT IF game with friends and teen pregnancy came up DEATH is what we would have chosen not hang out with friends inside random large toilet and take a test while acting that it is all one big gag. Just a bit of fun with my homies.

What sticks in my craw about it was at neither location was their a sense of nerves. Yes, in both instances, they cheered because the tests were negative. But before that, there were no tears of fear. What they were doing was simply an action. I expect, at their age, to be wailing uncontrollably. Yells of ‘Why me’ or promises of ‘I’ll never do it again.’ Leaving me to wonder, why aren’t the girls peeing on said stick scared to death. 

The one friend that I had that got pregnant while young and unmarried was in tears through the whole process; from picking her up, to the trip to the pharmacy, to peeing on the stick. It was a cocktail of fear, tears, remorse and wonderment of the future. That was what surrounded her. There wasn’t a cheering party. It was more of a small prayers circle. There was me, her and one other friend. Unlike the girls I’ve seen, we were young women in our twenties, not girls in our second year of puberty.

Where has the fear gone? That intense fear that keeps you from even kissing a boy for fear of what may happen. Of course, to have that fear, you had t be raised with it. The sort of upbringing where you say something smartalick and you immediately flinch, bracing yourself for your parents back hand. Or you slam a door, in protest, and then take a deep breath as you wait to see if your parent is going to storm in and school you.

But I’m wondering all this for naught. It is what it is. I’ve nothing overly profound to say that will make it all suddenly be alright or never happen again. All I can do to keep myself coming across such nonsense is to find smaller ladies rooms to use.

design time…

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Ta da!! Here is the results of my first solo project!

This lovely A-line skirt took me four days to put together. And you should know, I cursed up a storm while doing it. Luckily, I was home alone most of the time and that is as it will always need to be for me to get these projects done. There was a point where I had the dining table covered in the pieces of pattern and fabric; zippers, thread and scissors  strewn all over the couch, the ironing board planted in the middle of the room and loud classic french playing in the hopes to calm me down. (Not to worry the lil one wasn’t roaming the street homeless. She had the pleasure of a double sleepover. And the mister was away on business.)

Now I’ve already made another skirt while in class but I needed a project I could do on my own.

And I was told that this pattern was easier than the first one I’d done. This pattern is actually for four different styles of skirts: an A-line, a waisted apron style, an A-line with apron overlay and layered A-line. Which means I’ve got three more to do (and better really love A-lines).

The easiest being the simple A-line. The difficulty in making it was that there was a lining and a zipper.

If you were to look at it closely, you’d notice that the zipper isn’t all that straight. The hem of the lining also went a bit cock-eyed but that isn’t going to stop me from wearing it. And telling anyone who comes in speaking distance to me that I made it.

the days of our lives

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Growing up, did you have a popular girl amongst you? I’m not just talking about the girl who ruled the school but the girl that was the “coolest” in your own set of friends. The ring leader. The one that came up with the ideas that no one would say no to? The girl that everyone wanted to hang out with? The chick, that if she snubbed you, ruined your whole day?

It is inevitable that popular girls and peer pressure is going to become a thing in your mind when you’re a twelve year old girl. Or are the caregivers to a twelve year old girl. It is simply inescapable.

In my young life, I think I was fortunate in the fact that I had gone to school with the same group of kids from kindergarten through junior high. We all knew each other for what seemed like forever. But of course, as we grew older, some kids became out casts and others grew in popularity.

When I was twelve I so wanted to be part of the cool group. And luckily since the school was small, I (like to think I) was. The one to be with was a girl we nicknamed Dottie. She was everything that a cool girl would be back in the 80’s: curly blonde hair, blue eyes, bubbly personality, care-free demeanour. She was the girl that had boys throwing themselves at her in junior high (we were between 11 and 13 years old here people). I wanted to be her because at 12, she was doing something I could only dream of dating. She was the creator of drama in our small little drama-less lives. (For instance, in 8th grade she dated one boy then broke up with him to date his cousin.* It was scandalous!) Dottie was the excitement creator in our boring, decision free existences. (Her house was the adult-free house (due to sad circumstances) her older siblings just let us run amok.*) This and a hundred other reasons (that I can no longer remember) is why, everyone wanted to hang out with her.

The good thing was that she wasn’t a mean girl. I wonder, if I spoke to her now, if she was even aware of the sort of power she held over many of us me.** Nothing I did back then to hang out with her was ever dangerous or completely forbidden by my parents (I just never asked my incredibly strick parents). Nor was it ever suggested by her. I was usually my own master mind in the things that I chose to do.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that I’m not growing up (especially with my parents) now.

Because now, if you’re a parent that is checked-in and following some rules, then you’ve got a lot to contend with. For example Facebook. We’ve been here before with Lil Burs – in primary (elementary) school, she wanted to join and we put the lid on that. She’d have to wait until thirteen – just like it is stated within FB rules. Well, her mother didn’t agree with us and let her join anyway. She did it on the up and up and friended her dad. We explained again why she’d have to end her membership, to which she nodded and verbally agreed. And yet was caught a month later secretly checking it in her room. She was punished and disconnected her membership. We figured with a month of no computer use and the lose of a new computer as a Christmas gift, she’d have learned her lesson. Or at least she said she had, so we believed her.

Now, she’s in secondary (junior high) school. Where ALL of her friends have FB accounts. They also have their own Youtube accounts (where they post videos of themselves singing/dancing – she’s not allowed), twitter accounts (she’s not allowed) and whatever else is cool these days (to be sure, she wouldn’t be allowed). Yes, we’re strict but how else do you teach a kid to follow the rules if you don’t actually make them follow it?!?

And after all, she’ll be thirteen in less than three months now. Surely, if you’ve already suffered a punishment, lost out on a new computer and waited this long…

Well, when she was busted again for having started another Facebook account, as well as, a twitter account – the blame fell to the popular girls. “They tease me for not being on FB and all they wanted to do was tag me in a picture.”

Well, hello peer pressure. So nice to see you again.

As Burs fumed over the fact that she had lied, once again and gone back on FB after countless conversations about why she isn’t allowed. I began to mull over how we should enjoy this simple time. This moment right here, when all the popular girl got her to do was join Facebook and Twitter, is a blessing.

Yup, a blessing.

Because in two/three years time, it’s going to be ‘sneak out of the house’, ‘join me with these two college guys I just met’, ‘steal liquor from your parents cabinet’, ‘don’t make me smoke alone’ and a million other things I can think of. Because I figure that’s what the popular girls are always suggesting and never ‘let’s write this paper three weeks early and get some extra credit.”

Though I hope for the latter.

In this time, before all hell breaks loose, Burs and I are going to prepare for the onslaught of crazy that is surely to come our way; planning lecture after lecture on how she should have her own mind, be strong enough to just say no and be secure in her own skin. Except that I already know all of the fancy words we’ll use will fall on deaf ears. Because nothing outweighs hanging out with the cool chic and being part of the fun. We’ll just have to hope and pray that it all turns out ok.

*I got this information from skimming through my old journal – ok, diary – from back then. From what little I could understand thanks to my handwriting (lots of things dotted with hearts) I didn’t paint her as a mean girl.

so sew…

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I have to thank Lil Burs for igniting this new found love I have for sewing.

After watching Pretty in Pink, I decided I wanted to design clothes. I’d sit around and try to sketch out patterns. Then I’d outfit my Barbie in discarded, then redesigned socks based off my sketches.

At some point, I’m sure, I asked to learn to sew. Which was met by the statement “That’s something you can learn when you’re older.” Which translates to “We’ve already thrown shit-loads of money into you, that’s something you can learn on your own dime.” So, it never happened. Eventually it simply drifted-away, only to reappear whenever I’d write a list of Things to do before I die. 

Early on in my relationship with Lil Burs, she’d go on and on about how she wanted a sewing machine. Similar to my younger self, she’d spend quite a bit of her Saturday making clothes. Rather than using Barbie, she preferred her stuffed bears – who were outfitted in far more adventurous wear than I ever dared create (she made her stuffed bear a three piece suit). Eventually hand sewing grew tiresome for her and she wanted a machine for Christmas.

Thing is, bringing a machine into the house when none of its inhabitants knew anything about sewing, seemed like a really bad idea to me. I foresaw endless unanswerable questions being flown the adults way. And seeing as how I’m one of those adults, I stepped in and offered a slightly different approach.

Sewing classes.

Of course, in my search for sewing classes for kids, what I found was that there wasn’t very many of them. But there were loads for adults. And then from the recesses of my mind, the desire to learn to sew was reignited.

I’ve been at it several months now and am getting pretty good. My school of choice is Ray-Stitch in Islington. It’s a cute fabric shop that has a lovely space downstairs where they offer classes. And it is where, I’ve had my hand at making a tote, pillow, a skirt and some undies, while eating some tasty snacks and drinking lovely wine.

Not only is it just good fun to get to learn to sew, you get to sit around with some gals and shoot the shit. Or, you know, chat, for an afternoon.

In my last class, which was about learning essentials – like piping and putting in darts – I learned that quite a few of my classmates, who are just as inexperienced as I am, were already making their own dresses or creating outfits for their lil darlings. Which has made me see that I’ve been far too reserved with this new hobby.

I’m bounding forward and will show you how I fair in my next attempt to make a skirt on my own. I’ll keep on taking classes. Next one is to make a man’s shirt. I’m thinking it may look a bit like this in the end:

 

And I’m sure Burs will love it just the same.

on the road…


In more ways than one.

I cannot explain how much I loved jumping onto one of those this summer and whipping down the road (or up the hill) feeling the wind in my face. It has been so long since I’ve riden a bike, I’d forgotten how much I loved it!

Why it took me nearly a year, since the Boris bikes were put on the road to get a key,  I simply can’t explain. I’m sure at first I was hesitant; bicyclist share the same space as buses. Initially the idea of having a bus barrelling up behind me, didn’t have me thrilled.  Second, after nearly three years here, I still have no idea of what the majority of these street names are, nor do I know back routes or hidden passageways. And when I’m not  in a rush, I’d rather travel on quieter, less congested roads.

But Burs had gotten a bike key, really early on. Making me a wee bit envious. Every now and again, I’d borrow his key and slowly became more confident in my cycling around London. And then thought we could have great date nights, cycling along the canal together.

So I signed up and got a key.

Luckily it eventually got warm here. A rarity in this beautiful city. Which let me enjoy my decision to get a key all the more. The hubs and I spent a great deal of August, jumping on bikes throughout the city and cycling home.

I cannot recommend joining such a scheme enough! If you’re lucky enough to have one in your city (New Yorker, jump on it when Bloomberg gets it all together,) you won’t regret it.

Once you get a taste of the open road, your system just cries out for more. Ok, yes, that’s a bit melodramatic but still true. We recently decided to join Zipcar – which is something I’ve been trying to get him to do for sometime.

Because I keep complaining bring up the fact that I have’t seen enough of the UK, we’ve become members. If you’re asking ‘Why not see it all by train?’ That’s because getting anywhere by train (not tube, actual trains) is insanely expensive. But now, thanks to Zipcar (which it needs to be said, followed me here. I like to pretend that they were so torn up when I ended my New York membership because of my move to the UK, that they then and only then, devised the plan to buy out their UK equivalent. Yup, I’m full of myself sometimes.) Burs can finally show me a bit more of this land I now call home.

Our first trip was just last weekend to Dover Castle. And we’ve already decided what our next five trips will be: Ikea (because who doesn’t love a road trip there?), Windsor castle, Stonehenge, Bath, and Warwick castle.

With all this future planning of road travel, I’ve also decided to get a British driving license. Whenever I hit stateside, I’m always eager to find a way to get behind the wheel. I simple love driving. But am only, ever planning on getting behind the wheel to exit London, not head on over to Sainsbury’s down the lane.

Of course, I have to contend with the nuisances that appear within the British DMV (which is actually Drivers Standards Agency or DSA here). I’m currently studying for my Theory test (written) which then will lead to the Practical (driving). Here are a few funny things that I – an already experienced driver – has to decode into understandable speak:

-What are the differences between: a zebra, pelican, puffin and toucan crossing.** Or statements like “Use the handbrake so as not to dazzle the other drivers.” (I had a really good laugh with the whole dazzle statement. I couldn’t shake the image of me doing jazz hands at a stoplight.)

Then there’s talk of contraflow lanes and driving on the motorway versus the dual carriageway. Never you mind the fact that I’m still wrapping my head around the idea of driving on the left side of the road with a stick shift that is also on the left, while I’m right handed. It feels like I’m sixteen again and entering this adult world of driving.

Oh, here’s a fun fact: there are two different licenses here. There’s the automatic license and then there’s the manual license. If you get the manual then you can also drive an automatic. But if you get the automatic, you are not allowed to drive a manual. Unless you decide to get retested for said skill.

Madness!

And yet, I can’t wait to get into the drivers seat of a car and head off onto a dual carriage motorway. If it exists, that is. I’m sure I’ll have loads more to say on the subject but for now know that rather then bussing it every where, I’ve now got the freedom of my own wheels.

Beware.Be aware!

**Yup, those are the names of the crossings. Just in case you’re wondering. This is a zebra:

Pelican ( Pedestrian Light Indicator Crossing):

Puffin (which looks just like a Pelican):

And a Toucan (which is that bikes and walking people cross together – at the same time):

I

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little lesson.

bargaining versus bribery


When my nephews were tiny lil boys, my sister-in-law (SIL) was pondering a portion of a child-rearing book that discussed bargaining vs bribery. I’m not sure of all the intricate details but she filled me on how according to the book – bargaining with a child was better than bribing said child.

As my nephews got bigger, my SIL was constantly in a state of bother trying to discern the real difference between the two sides; it seemed to depend on the wording, more than anything else. Saying “If you put away all of your toys then you’ll get to watch TV before bed” was better than saying “I’ll let you watch TV if you clean this room.” Too me it all was just semantics, which seemed, far out of the comprehension of toddlers.

I remember every now and again, poking fun at my SIL when “You’ll get a cookie if…” was said. But by the time they were three, the goal was achieving the desired action – any way necessary. Which I think is something we could all relate to.

Which brings me to the other day.

First it needs to be said, that Lil Burs is quite the chatty Cathy. I have yet to find a moment where she isn’t at the ready with any number of conversational topics. Thing is, these topics, are some of the furthest things from either my mind or potential to interject any viewpoint on. Just the other day, she rattled on for forty-five minutes about jam. Yes, the stuff that you layer onto toast with butter (or, if British, also layer between cake). It started off with making jam, then her favorite jam flavours, onto what flavours she hasn’t tasted and culminated to what new ones she desired to make. She would have continued if I hadn’t finally asked begged her to stop.

That lasted for all of seven minutes before she was recounting to me something about that thing she’d seen somewhere else. I tuned out at that point.

Typically on such occasions, we’re either walking or on a bus as a family. Which allows me the benefit to separate myself from the conversation ever so slightly, leaving Burs to contribute to the debate or analysation of the topic at hand.  If we’re walking, I slow down just a bit and recede into my own mind with thoughts of fictional characters, TV shows I’d like to emulate, the beauty of the city or shoes I may have seen and what outfits they’d look good with. On a bus, I fall into my Kindle and am drifted away to far off lands.

I consider these times – father/daughter moments. Because the two of them can go on at length about a vast number of topics.

Back to the here and now. Burs, Lil Burs and I decided to head off on the open road and see Dover Castle. I must say, intially I was wondering how a two hour drive would be handled; either in a chorus of ‘I’m bored’ or with random conversation about the space time continuum. However, it was wonderful drive there, as Burs and I focused on following the SatNav (GPS for you Americans) and doing our best not to get lost. While the lil one was perched in the back seat, where she busied herself with finishing up a homework assignment.

Once at the castle, the conversations were built around where we were and the amazingness of our surroundings, hearing of the stories and learning more of the intricate role Dover Castle has played in history. And then, I’m not sure when, the lil one ran with leading the conversation. It started off simple with a ponder about sleeping habits, then lead to eating habits and before I knew it she was owning a castle, which she had us living in while friends were allowed to rent parts at half the price. But then changed that to openning up a restaurant and wanted to know how we felt about the whole castle spinning around on a daily basis and “wouldn’titbecoolifahotelturnedaroundlikethatbuteachfloorshouldgoinadifferentdirection.Oneclockwisethentheothercounterclockwisebutthenhowwouldpeoplegetinside.Imean…”

And then I tuned out. I realised that her gabbing mechanism was at full throttle and there was simply no way to stop her now. Not without it turning into a big thing. But then out of no where, I heard her ask her dad about ten pounds. It went something like “I’d do that for ten pounds.” To which I then offered her ten pounds if she stopped talking until we got home.

I don’t know what came over me.

Actually, that’s a lie. I know the fear of a two hour car ride with her going on at length about random topics was too much for my mind to deal with. Before I knew it there was a light in her eyes and she agreed to it. I had bribed her into not talking. I obviously learned nothing from what my SIL told me all those years ago. And am officially a horrible non-biological mom because of it. I’ve now taught her, I’m sure, that she should never just stop talking if she can make some money out of it.

And mind you, she did it. She struggled and nearly caved in a few times on the way back but didn’t utter a word for two hours and thirty-five minutes. Of course, once she stepped inside the apartment and gave a yelp of victory – as well as reconfirming that I now owed her £10 – she picked right up where she’d left off and filled the house with chatter again.

Which makes me wonder how bad is it all in the end? Sure, I’m no clearer on the bargaining versus bribery front but I do agree with my SIL – sometimes you’ve got to do what is necessary for sanity to prevale. In the end, there was a silent car ride home and the lil one is happily richer. No harm – no foul. That is, until the asking price for silence hits £20. Then I’m in trouble.

humour…

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We are born into this world, with the misguided idea that we are the world. And that those around us (especially those whose genes have been handed to us) gives a God’s honest, large amount of crap about everything we say, feel and think. And why wouldn’t you? From birth, there are two people (maybe more) who jump up at your every cry and whimper. Truth be told, whomever is having their ass wiped (wipee) has all the control – not the wiper.

But then you get older; as your ability to form sentences and comprehend the language around you strengths. So does people wanting you to conform to their will. Your every cry no longer brings people running to your aid. The people who once applauded everything you wrote, said, thought – aren’t as amused anymore. It’s all a part of growing up.

This is why turning into a teenager is tough.

But then you – the teenager – begins to think you can stand on your own. After all, you are being told to act more adult. (If you’re being raised correctly -) you have chores, an allowance and the limited freedom to make plans on your own. You have your own thoughts, your secrets, a life away from the people who take care of you. And though you still need them for the house that you sleep in, the clothes on your back and the food in your stomach – you’re able, as a teenager, to believe that you’re grown. What you desire most in all of that is the respect of the adults around you. Because, after all, you believe yourself to not be that far from one.

I understand all of that and yet, the other day when during a conversation Lil Burs uttered “But it’s my life! I should get to decide.” I, unlike her father, slapped my knee and bursted out laughing; without a care for the fragile misgivings the lil one has about where she stands on this hierarchy of decision makers.

Because in reality, as you and I and other (logical thinking) adults know, it is: her biological mum, her biological dad, step-dad and me, her grandparents (on either side), then her.

And as she threw an icy look my way, her far more with it and concerned father (who I’m sure never uttered such a statement to his folks) explained that though she has a say, in the end, it is not entirely her decision. I tried to lower my snickering to a low chortle, rather than a laugh gaff. But it was hard. Oh, so very hard.

Because I remember uttering the same silly statement, at what I’m sure turned out to be my two laughing parents, as well. Which now I finally understand, why, the statement was/is so funny*. And though Burs never got the stomach exercise I did, I shared this with others who thanked me for the good, whole hearted laugh. Making me thankful that it wasn’t only me who saw the humour in it.

And seeing as how it was the first time she’d said it (though I doubt it will be the last), I’ll do my best to not find it less humorous as I found it this time. But, really, I make no guarantees.

*Just in case you don’t know why this statement is funny – let me explain. It’s because you actually have a very short window when your life is your own. It isn’t when you’re dependent on anyone else for everything that keeps you alive. Which knocks out all those years from birth to college graduate (unless you pay for college/university from your own pocket). Now you’re an adult. If you have a partner then you’re in the constant battle called compromise. (Want to buy that new sports car – gotta get the ole lady to say yes. And how many women don’t sneak in new clothes to the house, hoping their hubbies don’t find out?) Add kids to that – yep, your life is even further from  belonging to you. Now you’re tending to this other being. And that being is demanding! You try to make plans the way you might have done before but those don’t work out the way they use to because they are either A. babies – need I say more; B. adolescents where they need to be watched closely; or C. teenagers who are bored and annoyed all. the. time. Nope. The only time you have complete control of your life is that time between these two stages. When you’re single, working, and living on your own. But then for some, your career may own your ass. (I’m looking at you lawyers and doctors.) Or any other number of responsibilities. This is just how life is. But go ahead, think that it is all yours and you can do with it what you’d like. Hear that noise? It’s me still laughing.

not that bad…


This dish is called Toad in the Hole. And it is one of those dishes you here people reminisce about when talking about their childhood. They stem from this lovely pastry dish:

Those are Yorkshire puddings. Which I made on Tuesday. I know – you hear pudding and you think dessert. That’s like, the first thing Brits teach you – if you’re a non-British person – that desserts are referred to as pudding. And yet, what you see before you is more of a biscuit-like dinner roll. And it is yummy! Thing is, it is traditionally served with Sunday roasts. Why? I presume because most people only have Sundays to lavish long hours for dinner.

But I can do it any time of the week! (And that meat was a pork roast which took two hours to cook btw.) Which is what lead me to my first bash at making yorkies (that’s what those of us experts call it). Once they were devoured (they were so good Lil Burs took two to school for lunch) I began to think about when I could make it again.

Which lead me to the Toad in the Hole for Friday night dinner. I followed Jamie Oliver‘s recipe and it was great! Burs and I nearly gobbled it all up (with a sad looking Lil Burs watching with teary eyes. We’re not denying her food – she has a sour stomach and wouldn’t have been able to keep it down).

I was so proud of cooking (baking really) that I decided to throw my hat in to making Macarons. But then I picked up the recipe book that Burs got me from Laduree and was instantly deflated. No way, my kitchen attempt will ever be as good as the yummy lil morsels they turn out there. But not to be defleated, I decided to bake some Whoppie Pies. That surely I could do!

I was wrong. That’s suppose to be poised on top of the cream not sliding off of it. But it wasn’t entirely my misdoing. I made the call of following a US recipe because, after all, the treat stems from there. However, a few of the ingredients aren’t that easy to come by in London (corn syrup and vegetable shortening) which lead me to substituting items according to what Wikipedia suggested. So though the cakie-cookie came out lovely, the filling never got stiff; it’s more of a sauce then a marshmallow consistency.

Oh well. I’ll be more than happy to try again! Because in the end, I was right all those years ago when I told my mom that I’d learn how to cook like she did – once married. And I’m finding that I don’t hate the stovetop nearly as much I once thought.

Though, to tell you the truth, I think having A. great cook wear and B. a dishwasher (and no, I don’t mean Lil Burs – she’s the dish unloader ;-)) makes it far more enjoyable.