The Californians

So, I spent an “awesome” week in “Marina Del Rey” with my daughter, Jordan. (Say it like the SNL skit, “The Californians” for full effect.)

We, of course, had our lists of songs, videos, movies, trailers, tweets and memes to share with one another. Pour us a couple of cocktails and the two of us are off babbling like third graders on some sort of wild, extreme show and tell.

That is what I love best about our mother daughter relationship. We get each other. We are movies and music and NFL and superheroes and pirates and comic con wanna-goes. We do not shop, but if forced to, it has to be fast. In a mall or department store, we will lose the ability to verbally communicate in about 30 minutes. We don’t pour over fashion mags or celeb rags. But, we can go into full-blown geek mode with showing each other the latest mind-blowing “Star Wars” or “Avengers” meme. We swoon over food and cocktail recipe porn on Pinterest.

Mostly, we are simply entertained by making each other laugh. That is our relationship. We don’t bicker. We laugh. We do not argue. We laugh. We do not judge each other. We simply laugh. We are in a constant celebration of the 23 years of sheer entertainment we have continued to provide each other. We are pretty damn proud of ourselves. Even when we are the only ones laughing.

There is always the perfect movie or TV line for every situation, that serves as a salve to every hardship we have ever had to encounter. Laughter is our comfort food and our favorite cocktail. Well, more like the perfect garnish to our favorite cocktail.

 

photo-9

There are those that know us and understand. There are those that know us and think we are freaks.  Jordan and I have never fought, yelled or bickered. Ever. And it is all her. She was born with the temperament of a wise, seasoned traveler. The patience she showed me, Helen Keller-ing my way into new mother hood at 23 was mind-boggling. (It would prove to serve me well with my son.)

Jordan brought out my bravery, honed my confidence and taught me that competitiveness was overrated and would bring nothing but stress and possibly Yellow Jack Fever! (I dramatize. We’re from the south and big fans of Bette Davis’ Jezebel. And Mint Juleps.)

Thank you, Jordan. We really dodged a bullet. If I hadn’t let you lead me, let you show me who YOU were, we could still be posing for pics in matching Laura Ashley dresses. (Oh, c’mon. I only it did it once. Okay, twice! But, that was it!)

This I know for sure, my girl: You KNOW who you are. And, what you are not.

Jordan has not developed an affinity for home and hearth, just yet. She’s a busy young woman making her way in the film biz in Hollywood. So I flew to “SoCal” to bring my special decorating mama magic to her newly rented apartment. Admittedly, she felt that “crack den” was not the look she was going for. She had a mattress on the floor and a large flat screen TV. Priorities.

Here are a few before and after pics. It’s not Architectural Digest, but damn. My girl feels cozy again. She said it feels like home…almost. It’s cozy for “The Ca-li-for-nians”.

I hit every vintage store and antique shop in the Santa Monica area. And, by the way, if you watched the skit above, I DID “have to take Lincoln ALL the way to Washington!” OHMYGAWD!

 

Before
Before

 

photo-8
After

 

Next week, I’ll be off to the East Coast to get Joshua set up in his first apartment in Boston. The Boy should be much easier…in theory. But, the talented, creative soul that he is bleeds into all sorts of decorating and style “opinions.” Joshua has taught me a different kind of patience. The kind you use to not be on the local news, behind the yellow tape. Still, I wouldn’t change our relationship for anything, either. We have been through some rough seas but, came out stronger and better humans because of the struggles he has had to face. Again, HIM teaching ME.

We have all read the articles, seen the TV segments that “special” is overused and has paralyzed an entire generation of kids with entitlement issues. But, I feel comfortable with my children being unique to me; they are mine. I wouldn’t trade my road for anything or change one turn, for fear it wouldn’t lead me right to this moment: Jordan starting her adult life in L.A.and Joshua getting back on the college road at Berklee. Nicole, happy and successful with her booming photography business in Austin. Monica, thriving as a new lawyer, at a major firm here in Houston.

It is a parenting, “I can breathe” moment.

We are right where we are supposed to be. They lead me right here. (Exhale.)

Happy “Back to School” to all, from kindergarten to college. This time of year always brings on the same feelings of starting anew, along with letting go. But, as you pack up your kids school supplies or set up their dorm rooms, let them lead you. Let them show your their strengths, their likes, their interests. Let them lead you down the path that feels natural to them. Yes, you are in charge and you are their ultimate guide. But, you will be amazed at what those precious little ones can teach you.

You may just be amazed of who YOU become.

 

For Julia

via HookedonHouses.net

When I began this post, I didn’t realize I would be posting it on the 100th Birthday of Julia Child. A recipe post is very apropos. Her legacy lives on in every food blog, every recipe “Pin” and every Instagram picture we share. Creating good food is an art and social media has helped up become part of this Food Appreciation culture.

Julia encouraged us all to simply TRY. She is the Godmother to all of us, the kitchen goddesses and gods everywhere, that play in our kitchens each day cooking, baking, entertaining and sharing our love of food.  Happy Birthday, Julia!

 

Everywhere I go, people are kicked into high gear “Back to School” mode. Especially this past week, as I have been helping my sister and her teacher/friend/colleague decorate their classroom. (Jen, what the ‘h’ do you call Carolyn?) As you can see, I have had to turn on my “teacher speak” since working at a place that molds and shapes young minds. Not easy when a hammer, nails and a power sander are involved. That is how my sister and her teacher friends speak…”What the “H”?!…”Don’t be such a ‘B’!”

That is why I could never be a teacher. I would yell, “What the HELL?” Then, open the TOP drawer of my desk for my flask. Why even bother hiding it in the bottom drawer? I have raised four children. I know exactly where the stash should be hidden: Within reach.

I remember those getting ready days. All the forms to fill out, the summer reading to cram in, the packets to pour over, trying to wind down summer sleep schedules for the brutal early mornings around the corner. I lived it. I loved it.

I do not miss it.

I listened to my sister and her friends going over “first day” itineraries and lesson plans. As I worked quietly on the bulletin boards, all I could feel was relief and gratitude wash over me. Relief, that I do not ever have to receive an email from “EDLINE” again and Gratitude, that the good Lord up above gave me the strength to survive emails from “EDLINE”.

(FunFact: Edline is an online service for students and parents to keep up with grades and assignments under the guise of being helpful, when really all it does is stress you out entirely.)

Being an empty nester, I found myself all caught up in the Back to School hoopla, but, with time on my hands. Since I am not out in the 102 degree heat, schlepping Staples/Target bags filled with school supplies into my car, I decided to come up with a super-power filled muffin that I would feed my kids for the first few days of school, if they were here, of course. I had been wanting to try a variation of a Morning Glory muffin with kale. We already eat carrot cake, why not?

I was so amped, that I even dragged my still-like-new food processor out of the cupboard. I always see this apparatus as cumbersome. I cooked and baked for 23 years without it. Just getting it out and setting it up requires a musical score. But, once it is all set-up, it’s pretty amazing. I shredded the carrots and kale in less than 2 minutes. Although it did take me 20 minutes to wash, dry and put the darn thing away. Yin and yang, I guess.

Before you say to yourself, “There is no way in hell, my kids would even try a veggie/healthy/power whatever muffin,” let me just say two things.  1) It’s “…no way in ‘H'”…remember, the kids…shaping and molding young minds, and, 2) These muffins are sweet and you can even make them sweeter by simply adding a little more sugar.

If your kids start school as early as mine did, then it’s still dark outside when you’re trying to get a balanced, nutritious  breakfast crammed down their throats, before you hit the carpool line or bus stop. They won’t even be able to see all the green goodness and protein power these little muffins pack.

If they ask, just tell them it’s what “The HULK” or superheroes have for breakfast. Or something about making them smarter or stronger or faster. You’ll know what to say. We are mothers. We are great at this “s”.

Morning Glorious Bran Muffins

The beauty of this recipe is that you can mix and match to get your 2 1/2 cups of flour. Use what you have on hand. I just happen to keep a variety of flours and bran (hello, fiber) stocked in my pantry. Also, your fruits, veggies and nuts can be substituted and adjusted for your family’s tastes. Let your inner Julia shine and go get creative!

Serve warm with butter, orange marmalade, apple butter or Larkin’s suggestion, cream cheese frosting….Enjoy!

1 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. quinoa flour

1 c. wheat bran

1 Tbs. milled flax seed

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon or baking spice (I use Penzey’s)

1/2 c. dried cranberries (or raisins)

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained

2 c. shredded carrots

1-2 c. shredded kale (of course, I used 2 cups. Hence, the Green.)

1/2  Greek, Non-Fat, Plain Yogurt (little tub)

1/2 c. all-natural applesauce (little tub)

2 Tbs. canola oil

3 eggs 1/2 c. agave nectar (or brown sugar or molasses or honey)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line muffin tins with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, bran, flax, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cranberries and walnuts. Fold in shredded carrots and kale. In a second bowl, gently whisk eggs, yogurt, applesauce, oil and agave. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture; mix well. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Makes 18 gloriously healthy muffins.

Note: Value does not include cream cheese frosting