Halloween Party: THAT Mom

 

I forgot to take a picture before we ate all the pigs in a blanket.

I forgot to take a picture before we ate all the pigs in a blanket.

Oh my God, I am finally That Mom. You know the one. She’s a Pinterest queen, pinning origami bats and coffee filter spider webs, making masks out of egg cartons. Her kid wears a hand-crocheted full-tailed peacock hat on her head. Not only does she print out family photos, she mounts them in a scrapbook, with colorful adornments enhancing her memories for eternity.

I was never That Mom. I am not the least bit crafty. If my daughter gets me to color with her, we put my picture up on the refrigerator. But after almost seven years as a mom, I’ve found my muse.

This week we had a Halloween party. I love Halloween and I love throwing parties. This was my chance to shine.

Writing is my first love. Cooking is my second. So when it came time to plan the party menu, it was on. I did some brainstorming. I chose the kids’ food out of the Big Four – Chicken nuggets, pizza, hot dogs and mac and cheese. I went with the first three. Then came the hard part: how to make these foods Halloweenie. read more

Mom, Me and the Market

I’ve been thinking about my mom. I lost her in October 2009. Technically I lost her eight years before, when she slipped completely into her Alzheimer’s world, but anyway, she’s on my mind. I haven’t written that much about her in this space, so I thought I would let you get to know her. 

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To my mother, grocery shopping was serious business. Sometimes I would lie on her bed as she fell asleep she would roll over and say, “Ground beef. Lettuce. Mustard.”

Every week we’d go to Waldbaum’s, Grand Union and the A& P because each one possessed a unique quality that was unequaled at the other. Once my mother discovered coupons, the need for specificity grew. Now I know that coupons didn’t come out in my lifetime but they were new to my mom, and Waldbaum’s would have double coupons on Wednesdays — we’d always go there for the best coupon deals. We once had a coupon for $1.25 for free coffee, and they doubled it so they actually paid us to take it. I think we saved 13 dollars that day. Our excitement over the deal inseminated the bargain shopper in me.

Since she was somewhat of an expert, Mom taught me the golden rules of shopping. Buy only name brands. Del Monte tomatoes and canned vegetables, Bird’s Eye frozen vegetables, Ore Ida frozen potatoes, Dairylea milk, Dannon flavored yogurt and Colombo plain yogurt. Never buy pre-chopped meat. Instead, pick out a nice sirloin and have the butcher chop it up. Grated cheese: Pick out a nice Pecorino Romano or Parmesan from the deli and have them grate it for you. I don’t know about then but I bought some grated Pecorino Romano from the deli recently and it was $11 for a quarter pound. Good thing my family had money. read more

Something About Mary

heart of gold

I apologize for the late post. I went to New York for a funeral. Pleas read on. 

The first time I met Mary, she was moving into the house next door to mine. She was tall, Italian and had short black hair, curled and coiffed so it never moved.  Her seven-year-old daughter, Beth, asked me if I wanted to have a picnic on the front lawn. I was nine and wary of hanging out with younger kids, but she was so nice and she was right next door, so I said yes. Beth and I laid a blanket out on the tall grass that grew above the septic tank. We could hear her mom and dad, but mostly her mom, directing the movers as they emptied their truck. Mary was  multitasking, taking care of Beth’s baby sister while she got the house in order.

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A Tale of Two Mothers

imagebot (10)This is the story of two mothers.

Forty-five years ago, a teenager in Queens went “all the way” with her high school sweetheart. She got pregnant. She told her boyfriend and he told his parents. Happy to welcome a new member of the family, they made plans. They said they’d get a bigger house so the couple could live with them, and they could help raise the baby.

The girl went home and told her family. Alarmed and ashamed, the immediately sent her to a home for unwed mothers s uptown. When her boyfriend came looking for her they told him she was gone. He was devastated.

The girl spent nine months in the home, making plans to give up her baby. Her parents and the  adoption agency said it was the right thing to do. She thought so too. read more

The End of the Innocence

the-muppets-2012That’s it, I’ve failed as a mother. First my six-year-old has to go to therapy and now this. Just a few words and I robbed my daughter of her childhood.

It all started innocently enough. We were snuggling at bedtime and she asked me the question that will ring in my mind forever. “Are the Muppets real?”

I hesitated. So many things went through my head. If she’s asking, does she suspect? Is she old enough to know? What if I tell her they are and she already knows? Finally, and much to my shame in hindsight, I went with the truth.

Tears built up in her eyes. “Then how do they move?” I told her. “Are the people real?”

“Yes, they are.”

“What about the princesses? Are they real?” read more