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TAD 5.5

02.05.2011

 

Today’s TAD was brunch + valentine making with my old pal Reine. Reine came over with her daughter Leda and I made brunch for my the whole crew. On the menu was eggs with tomatoes and chives and challah french toast with berries in an orange syrup. The berries in orange syrup was TAD worthy as I had never made anything like that before. I wished the syrup was a bit thicker but the recipe is below.
After we all had full tummies, the girls ran off to play and Reine and I had our own playtime. We made Valentines. A redacted version of mine is included in this post in case the recipient takes a look-see. Berries in Orange Syrup

1/4 cup fresh squeezed o.j.
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 cups scant mixed fresh berries

Combine juice and sugar in a medium pan and bring to a boil over low heat until sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in berries. Turn off heat. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This is recipe is from, “Brunch: The Perfect Weekend Treat,” by Jennifer Donovan.

Tad 5.4

02.04.2011

TAD 5.3

02.03.2011

Today’s TAD is in honor of the Chinese New Year.  This morning I decided I would like to make a simple bunny stuffed animal out of felt with embroidered features.  I was terrifically productive this morning and in between getting my daughter and husband out the door and leaving for the gym, I sketched a pattern for my bunny, cut the pattern and the pieces and then thought about the steps and the order in which they needed to be executed for me to be successful in my endeavor – I have never made up my own pattern before and I am pretty new to sewing in general.  Later, as I waited for an appointment, I embroidered the ears.  I should finish up our bunny friend tomorrow. 

TAD 5.2 – A Belated Housewarming/Early Birthday Gift

02.02.2011

Many moons ago, my friend Sabrina asked me if I would make her a poster for her new apartment featuring a tweet that she is particularly fond of.  I said, “of course,” and never followed though.  Here was the problem, Sabrina gave me little direction and I wasn’t inspired by the tweet.  Time passed and I bought supplies for an idea that seemed meh but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  As the days and weeks and months progressed I got angry at the tweet for lacking punctuation.  You read that right, I got angry at a tweet.  I got angry at a tweet, tweeted by @preschoolgems.  As you may have guessed, those are tweets that share adorable things preschoolers say.  I got mad at this tweet: “I would like for you to say wow when I say that you can never love me again.”

Last night I got over myself and got an idea.  It is not a poster – sorry Sabrina – and it is not large in size – sorry again.  But it does have the quote and it does hang on the wall. I used acrylic paint and water soluble crayons on a canvas to get a black board effect.  In general, my style is a little more messy, eclectic, and romantic.  Sabrina’s style is clean and graphic.  I found a middle ground.  Hey Sabrina, I hope you like it!

So Excited

01.13.2011
This is motivation I’ve needed to reawaken my creativity.

Tarnished Autumn Splendor

10.11.2010

It is autumn which makes my heart sing, my mouth water, and my imagination wander as I plan for Halloween and Thanksgiving, take long walks with my husband on crisp Sunday mornings, and move my culinary focus from summer squash to pumpkin.

I love the autumn, and I always have.  It always seemed so full of promise.  For example, on New Year’s, people, other than me, make resolutions; however, upon receipt of new school supplies, I would always resolve to be a better student.  Also, when the leaves changed, holidays were just around the bend, which brought the possibility of a sentimental holiday season and a possible kiss under the mistletoe.  My husband and I started dating in the fall, and each fall, as hokey as it sounds, we fall in love again.

So needless to say, I usually do a lot of humming in the kitchen this time of year.  Usually.  However, on days like today, as I prepared roasted carrots and garlic, as well as sauteed cod with asparagus velouté, I was preoccupied by general anxiety about bullying.  Bullying has been gaining press again, as it did many moons ago, following the shootings at Columbine High School.  This winter, I learned about the bullying and suicide of South Hadley, MA high school student, Phoebe Prince.  In March, nine students were charged in connection with her death.  More recently the nation is talking about the bullying and suicide of Rutgers student, Tyler Clementi.  Then yesterday, as I watched football, and skimmed the New York Times, I stumbled upon an article, in the Style Section, that brought me to tears: “The Playground Gets Even Tougher,” by Pamela Paul.  Paul’s article addresses the fact that “mean-girl behavior” or girls bullying each other, starts as early as kindergarten.  Paul examines the factors that have contributed to this alarming trend.  What I took away from this article was, that if I raise my daughter with proper values and set limits that are age appropriate, she will be a victim of mean-girlism.  I fully intend to raise my daughter with proper values and set age appropriate limits; I hope I also raise her to be strong in the face of mean-girlism, to stand-up to bullying, and to speak out against it.

I know not all kids get bullied.  Most kids are not bullies.  I know most kids get teased and tease.  But I was bullied.  I was picked on since second grade.  I was a little dorky.  I had a learning disability.  I was chubby.  I did not have “the right” clothes, erasers, hairdos, whatever; and when I did have “the right” whatever, I was trying too hard.  I was picked on.  I wasn’t bullied, until I was in eighth grade.

In eighth grade it started with a phone call, that I later found out was preceded by a public personal attack on me, filled with lies, made in front of a teacher, in a classroom I was not in.  A friend and known mean girl, L, called me up after school and began accusing me of saying terrible things about her, and my call waiting beeped, I asked her to hold on.  It was friend and known mean girl, C, being my friend and taking my side.  When I clicked back to L, she was nice.  Beep.  A hang up.  I clicked over.  L, was being mean.  A beep, followed by C, being mean.  I return to L.  I could L talking to  C about how next time C called she should say x, y, and z.  L kept planning.  They were both at L’s, using her two phone lines, scripting out how they were going to bat my feelings around like a cat with a mouse.  I never let L in on what I heard.  I just said, “Hello,” and proceeded to stand up for myself.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with prank phone calls.  I knew school was going to be bad the next day.  For days, into weeks, into months I was chased into classrooms, called names comparing me to farm animals, names that implied I was easy, and the occasional anti-Semitic names.  People broke into my locker and threw in bags of dog shit.  I told teachers.  They did not seem to care, believe me, or do anything.  Occasionally I was physically threatened.  Threats of violence from one girl.  Threats of lewd gropes from mean boys.

Other non-bullies would stop speaking to me because they heard I said rotten things about them.  Of course they heard this from the mean girls.  I was in no position to say a negative thing about anyone who would exchange a few words with me without hostility.  I would swear I did no such thing but usually I lost their friendship.

At home the phone would ring non-stop.  Prank phone calls.  Mean boys calling to ask me out while mean girls in the background laughed.  I knew better than to fall for that prank.  When I would stop answering the phone, they would hang out by my house, hoping I would come outside.  From the morning bus ride, until curfew, I was tormented.  I learned to fly under the radar.  I avoided the lunch room by bringing lunch into the art room and helping out with the fifth grade art class.

My mother took me out of school as much as possible.  She lived in New York City, about 20 miles away from the town I was being tortured in.  Fortunately, I had been accepted into a New York City private school for the next year.  I was in therapy.  I hated myself and my life. I dreaded everyday that was spent in my town.  I believe what kept me from becoming suicidal was the promise that it would get better when I switched schools and the fact that I had a few friends.  All you need is one good friend.  In more recent years, I have learned that my parents tried to get the school involved, but to no avail.  To this day I am a tad socially twitchy.   I call it my “middle school complex.”  I think a lot of people can identify to some degree or another.

But now, as my daughter approaches school-age, I think, what if there had been more technology than call waiting?  What if there had been cell phones, and Skype, and Facebook, and Twitter.  What technology will be used as weapons of social warfare by the current pre-k set as they reach middle school age?  I am hoping that the recent dialogue about bullying, public programs such as Stop Bullying Now, and various anti-bullying bills will curb bullying in the next few years.  In the meantime, I am searching for ways to help, starting by sharing my story and saying it does get better.  I have a full and happy life.  When my mind wanders back to worse times, I come back to the present by hoping that L and C, have grown into good people who are not raising mean-girls and mean-boys, but are raising good and honest kids.  The leader of my mean-girls went on to be a police officer. I don’t know what to make of that, but I try to keep my thoughts positive.

Yes, all of these memories and worries pass through my mind as I spend time in the kitchen. But when I bring out a pretty and tasty dinner, and sit down with my loving husband and daughter, all of that ugliness dissipates and I see how magnificent my life is.

A Morning With Penny

09.17.2010

Meet Penny.
Penny
She is made by me with wool, cotton, patience, and love.  I have never made a doll before. When Gloria met her, she announced, “She’s beautiful! I love her!” I don’t know if I have ever felt so proud. Penny is beautiful. I love her too.

Penny went on a Saturday morning adventure as part of her first day as a member of our family. She rode the bus to Bryant Park.
Penny on the Bus

The ride was long, but Gloria held her hand the whole way. Then we got to Bryant Park and ran to Le Carousel!
Horse
Gloria and Penny waited patiently on the line, and then they went for a ride.
Penny on the Carousel
Carousel adventures were followed by a picnic lunch. Gloria and Penny were both getting hungry and tired.
Lunch Time at Bryant Park
So we headed back home on the subway.
Subway Ride Home
Once we got home, Gloria and Penny settled in for storytime and a nap.
Storytime
What a nice way to spend a Saturday.