Tuesday, January 12, 2010

mixing them up!

shabby chic...that's me. i love style and comfortable surroundings...where family and friends can hunker in snd feel welcome.  i like to be in a house where i can feel the character of the people living there.

designer homes are lovely with color coordinated choices and fabrics, they feel too contrived.  i want to feel the warmth of the home and know the people better than generic art will allow.

i treasure the old and love the clean, crispness of the new.  i just love the history and wonder the life lived before it came to me.  i enjoy mixing up the new and the old....all in one place....and some of my most fun projects are taking the old and finding a new life for it...maybe finding a new purpose or color or addition...like new crystals....paint....and "candle cups" in place of electric connections.

i'm always moving furniture and mirrors and pillows and throws, as the seasons change or i have created something new.  there's always something that catches my eye.  i like functional....only if it's got that feeling of comfort and common sense.

i ramble on....always rambling.  whenever things get complicated and life has too much intensity...i love to find somewhere to use my creative energy....writing, doodling, decorating, painting, beading, drawing, restoring old dollhouses, modpodge and mosaaic(sp?)........and when in doubt, i paint it white! 

just love taking the little things in life...and mixing them up!

Getting creative with chicken

just cuz i'm littlemarymixup in the kichen, i like to buy rotisserie chickens......... here are some easy chicken recipes!

what can i make for dinner?

i know there are women out there who start there day with the question, "what can i make for dinner?"  i'm not one of them.  i wish i was that kind of woman.  i guess it's because of my a.d.d. kind of living. every evening, at about five or five thirty, i find myself thinking, "oh my God, it's dinner time!"  in some ways, it's kind of fun.....it's like a surprise party every day.

after college, living with roommates, we all worked to make some delicious dinners.  we had four friends from college all living in the same building, 2 of us on the 3rd floor and 2 of us on the 5th floor.  it was a walkup.....that's alot of stairs.  we were all starting out....we weren't making alot of money....we shared alot of meals...we all had recipes from home.  it was new and exciting.  we entertained alot.  i user the word entertain lightly.  i mean, we had wicker and beach chairs for the first few months.  we had an oven that set off the fire alarm everytime we broiled a hamburger.  we laughed everytime.  sometimes, one of us had money and the others didn't....we worked it out well...we had good friends and fun.  that made the meal.

one of our greatest mishap meals happened on night after work at marybeth's new, movin' on up, apartment on east 85th street...she had moved up 20 blocks and got all fancy pants with a doorman.  in our 65th street apartment, we walked through the courtyard to our door that opened to a small foyer with our mailboxes.  when our arms were full, with groceries or shopping bags, we could give a little hip check and open the inner door and start the trek to kilamanjaro. we stopped for oxygen at the third floor apartment and continued the trek onward and upward.  the fifth floor apartment was a great stop en route to tar beach, our sunny beach spot on the roof.  we were the yuppie version of "the honeymooners" television show.

marybeth and i cooked our dinners together throughout the whole summer after college.  we lived in the hamptons. we were living large....in location, not in dollars.  we made some very creative dinners.  marybeth was a major force in the shopping list department.  st that time in our lives, i was more into the cheetos, chips and miller light on the menu.  marybeth stayed on task.  so, we did eat more thatn cheetos....most of the time.

one day that summer, we got a call from our college dean of students and assistant dean of students.  they were out in the hamptons and hoping to spend the afternoon eith us at the beach in southampton. no big deal...well, kinda.  did i forget to mention that they were nuns!  yes nuns.  we went to a catholic all women's college.  granted, the nuns were cool, from wealthy, well heeled families....the "fun nuns", our parents nicknamed them, while sharing cocktails at pour parents  weekends.  they drank, they smoked and they told pope jokes.  they were like the fun aunts in the family, like auntie mame....wearing a cross....no habit, they "kicked the habit", years before.  they dressed in high style.

we were looking forward to the visit.  somehow, we had lost perspective on "casual entertaining"....although we scheduled our date with the "fun nuns", once they arrived at our cottage, we immediately became aware of our lack of fine foods for entertaining...even picnic style!  we  spent the afternoon at the beach, sharing oreos and light beer.  they have since died.....not from bad oreos and beer.....although we almost died of embarrassment!  and if they were still alive, i don't think i could have even written about our faux pa.

so, back at marybeth's new 85th street apartment, we were well beyond oreos and beer.  so we thought. by that time, we may have thought ourselves more ladylike, by drinking glasses of white wine....not to say we behaved like ladies when we drank! we worked hard to create a delicious chicken dinner.  we were getting a bit confused about how to prepare our chicken.  we debated a bit confused and a little bit desperate, we both tried to remember how our mother's made their chicken.  marybeth remembered her mother using eggs.  i remembered my mom dipping the chicken in egg and flour and baking it at 350 degrees.  did my mom bake everything at 350 degrees?

i didn't really learn how to cook from my mom.  she worked at saks fifth avenue ...thankfully, i picked up the style way better than the cooking.  she just made the dinners, my mom didn't really have the time to teach me...she was all about getting the job done.

marybeth and i waited for our fine dining experience.  we opened the oven and shrieked.....it was chicken in a bun.  we had created the perfect meal to be served at mc donalds.  i think we mixed the egg and flour!

although i have come a long way, i have a long way to go.  i have 2 ovens in our kitchen right now....neither one is working.  we have been living on lots of pasta.  we have had lots of pizzas and salads picked up.  we now have a  refrigerator full of food and i aim to get back on the cooking bandwagon.  i really enjoy the creativity of cooking.

i have lots of cookbooks.  my mom gave me the joy of cooking at my wedding shower.  inscribed inside, she wrote, "read this!  it's not just for your cookbook collection!"  i am stating today.  and just as i finish writing, "what time is it?", you ask.  it's five thirty.  what will i make for dinner?  maybe tomorrow, i'll plan.

i didn't really learn how to cook from my mom.  she worked at saks fifth avenue ...thankfully, i picked up the style way better than the cooking.  she just made the dinners, my mom didn't really have the time to teach me...she was all about getting the job done.

i have to breathe.

here i sit, first thing tuesday morning. both kids have gone on the bus to school.  it was a race to get out the door and to the bus.  we never know what the new day brings. i try to remain calm and peaceful in the organized chaos of our morning routine.  these days, i breathe a sigh of relief when the bus chugs up the hill to the next stop.

this morning, t.j. was up and ready. ready for school and the plans made for after school.  grace woke up with resistance.......resistance to the wake up....the school day....and the after school plans.  the plans for something new...something our kids have never done.  something resisted.  a great opportunity.  from the moment grace opened her eyes, she resisted and resisted and was determined to wear me down.  she exhausted herself.  i had to stay strong.  it took everything i had.

today both busses were doing their dance....as if choreographed with precision.  one bus to middle school approached....the high school bus waited and waited and waited........ while grace tore through the house, wimpering, embarrassed for holding up the bus.......pleading with me to drive her to school.
all while the bus driver sat and waited.  she begged with tears.  at that moment in time, i knew she had to get out the door.  i knew i had to sit tight and ignore her plea.  it was painful for me. it was painful for grace.  i would have done her a disservice if i hadn't stuck to plan.  this was one time where she needed to know there was no negotiation.  it was not about the bus. it was about doing what she's supposed to do.....about follow through....and about knowing she can do what she has to do.  sometimes we all have to do things we don't want to do.  it wasn't about the bus. i couldn't back down.

she stomped out the door, angry.  angry with me.....when in doubt, blame the mom.  she stomped and plodded through the snow.....in her flip flops.  i think back to earlier days.....when the flip flops would have been the issue.  we've moved on to more than flipflops in the snow.

as the lights on the bus faded away in the distance, i took a breath.  a big breath......and i cried.  it is so hard for me to be the tough one.  it would be much easier to give in.  when we, the parents, give in to some of the little things, it backfires......they try to wear us down for the bigger things.  who ever would have thought i'd have to think this way. me.  flexible me.  here i am again....tip toeing on that fine line while my sweet, angry daughter leaves flipflop prints in the snow.

the school days, when our kids had time to sit down for breakfast and were happy to start each day, are over.  i'm grateful for the fun busstop mornings....our kids were excited to run down the hill, get there early to play and laugh with friends.  saying goodbye, with a kiss, then a wave from the window with smiling faces as the big yellow bus rolled away.

today, there  is more drama....less words...more like morning mumbles.  enthusiasm is the last word  i think of to describe the attitude towards school.  enthusiasm has it's ups and downs even with friendships that have more drama at this stage.  everyone is learning as they go...learning what's acceptable in friendship, making new friends, keeping old friends or letting them go.  just like our friendships, some take more work than others.  some, we learn, are worth the effort, some are not.

this is not something we can teach. we can be there.  we can listen. we can offer advice.  mostly, our advice isn't what our kids are looking for.  it's a fine line we walk everday, as parents.  they are trying to be independent....they don't want to share as much...they think we don't understand...they think these problems of adolescence are new.  we know they're just the same, with new complications.

if only.  if only they knew how much we want to be there for them.......as they go down this road of bumps and hurdles.  in one breath, they want us.  one more, they don't want us.  we walk a fine line...it is my biggest challenge.  some days, i can be there for our kids and they welcome my presence.  other days, my presence can make them cringe.

this is my challenge lately....every day....sometimes, before anyone walks out the door.  i have to breathe.

Grocery Store Musical