mixed berry crisp

Monday, July 25, 2016

Potent Emotional Experiences That Deserve Their Own Definitions

1. That thing where you're at work feeling soft and feminine, and suddenly a virtual stranger comes up behind you and begins brusquely slicking your hair back into a severe french twist that you'd never in a million years choose yourself. You have no say in the matter, no mirror, and you will regard it for the first time along with millions of television viewers. Ah, showbiz.

2. That thing where you remove your son's diaper, and in a mere .0000000007 seconds, he squats and poops on his rug. You're simultaneously horror-struck and also deeply proud of his vocal development as he announces "potty" perfectly while doing the deed.

3. That thing where you race race race across town to (let's just say) kick ass at a Very Big Audition. The producers seem smitten. They say, "See you soon!" with winky voices and knowing smiles, then three days later your agent tells you you're out of the running. (Note to producers: maybe don't say, "See you soon!" to an actor that you plan on not seeing soon.)

4. That thing where the Rite Aid shopping cart receptacle is empty, so you're forced to alternately carry/wrangle your wild-animal toddler in a pharmacy line long enough to rival Space Mountain's. You put him down for two seconds and he knocks 432 things off a nearby shelf. You try as gently as possible to restrain him with one hand while replacing the 432 things. Meanwhile, he begins some blood-curdling screaming. Suddenly, you have a time-warp-matrix moment where you flash to see your present-day self through the eyes of the childless person you once were, judging the exact thing that you now are living. You have instant forgiveness/compassion for both versions of you.

5. That thing where you look forward to an MRI so you can lie down.

6. That thing where you're in an audition waiting room and a fellow actress takes a wig out of her purse and begins combing it with her fingers while whispering lines under her breath. You wonder: What the frack is that lady doing? Is she running her scene with the wig? Is it a prop? Is it her good luck charm? Is it another hair option she may employ in her audition? Is she crazy? Is she genius? Should I get a wig? BRB going to get a wig.

7. That thing where you're at a play date in a park with a new mom friend, and while her toddler is serenely watching a Roly Poly saunter up the bark of a tree for THIRTY SOLID MINUTES, yours is running perimeter drills and occasionally lunging toward the street, inflicting 20 heart attacks upon you.

8. That thing where you find someone else's booger in your pocket and just leave it there.

9. That thing where you tell someone in the park that they look like their dog and they give you a dirty look which makes them look even more like their dog. You consider asking if you can take a picture of them together but chicken out. Yet you still fantasize about posting the (nonexistent) picture on Instagram, complete with caption and emojis. (Twin dancing bunny girls for the win.)

10. That thing where you offer to make a dessert for a neighborhood dinner party on the hottest day of the year. It goes into the oven with no time to spare, so you're forced to carry the heavy, bubbling-hot dish with two potholders while walking 3 long blocks. You sweat like a beast from the underworld. The sweat is everywhere. The sweat activates a shame spiral that includes thoughts like why am I always running so late? and the inside of these goddamned potholders should be much more absorbent, and what am I doing with my life? The dessert turns out to be the hit of the party and you wholeheartedly choose to believe you pulled it off without a hitch.

Mixed Berry Crisp
serves 8
adapted from Sheila Lukins

This gal is a humble showstopper. She's easy-peasy to make, and even thrown together in haste she's pretty stunning. She'll do just fine with gluten-free flour and/or coconut sugar if you choose.

Berry mixture:
6 cups fresh berries (blueberry/blackberry/strawberry is a standup combo but have at it)
2 T sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 t cinnamon
juice of 1/4 lemon

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
fat pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup (one stick) very cold butter, cut into 1/2" cubes.

For serving:
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350F and butter a 9" glass pie dish. In a bowl, gently toss the berries with the sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice. Set aside. In a new bowl, make the topping: whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour the berries into the prepared pie dish and cover with the topping, spreading it out evenly. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 55 minutes, or until the top is golden and the berries are bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.


P.S. These days we need this ------------> A case for optimism


Friday, May 20, 2016

Spending long days with a toddler is magical and mundane, easy-peasy and back-breaking, tender and maddening. It involves deep breaths, deep belly laughs, and a shit-ton of bending over. You don't realize how much you need a break until you have one. I seem to have perpetually ambitious plans for Lou's nap times when instead, I mostly just stare at a wall and try to shove some food near my mouth. When he wakes, I feel the familiar squeeze of never having enough time to myself, but then I can't get in his room fast enough to see his little sleepy elfin face, smiling at me from behind the pacifier.

It's so personal and yet so universal, this motherhood. Here you are, experiencing it for the first time, watching it continue to grow your heart and smash your former life into a zillion pieces (for better or for worse). It feels so novel and remarkable, yet everyone else who has been there already is like yep. We know. A mom-friend recently said it's probably the hardest job in the world, but just about everyone does it so it's not recognized as being that remarkable or difficult. At the time, that felt super deep, sorta sad and wicked true. (We were well into a bottle of Rosé, and both being actresses, things perhaps got dramatic.) My takeaway (once the Rosé wore off) was this: No one but you as a parent really cares about the darling, special things your precious snowflake is doing moment-to-moment, and the corresponding joy you experience. And by the same token, no one but you really knows how hard your version of it is, what your unique struggle is. So it gets to be deeply meaningful and personal to you, which is wonderful if you honor it as such. (And quite rare in this day/age of social media oversharing.)

The paradox? Even if you don't know the exact unique joys and sorrows of another, this parenthood life manages to elicit a tremendous amount of compassion for other moms and dads. If you let it, your heart can be soft and melty. And wouldn't the world be nicer if we were all a little softer and meltier?

If I was really on top of things, I'd now introduce a fondue recipe. Alas, I am not on top of things to that degree. Instead, I offer you a media overshare:

I wrote this and The Huffington Post published it: Haiku For Moms of Small Children

Happy Weekend with love,

who wouldn't want to read a story about a rabbit on a leash?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Recently, David, Louis and I were lunching on a crowded outdoor patio and a man sauntered in with a rabbit on a leash. Before you start thinking that might sound darling, let me just say: this was no bunny. It was one of those behemoth, toddler-sized rabbits meant for wild, deep woods. Its keeper was smug (not unlike those ballsy people who walk around in public with birds perched on their heads), and talking way too loudly for the benefit of every living soul on the patio. It worked: every single one of us stared. A mousy woman trailed behind, his reluctant cohort. She looked somewhere between mortified and clueless. I tried to picture reasons why she might be accompanying him--sympathetic sister, perhaps? Blind date? Parole officer?

The Keeper and his Lady sat down under an umbrella. Then he unleashed his cottontail, hoisting the immense rodent onto his lap while it rigorously pumped its hind legs as if to say I belong on the ground, fool! The man then tried to act natural, combing his fingers repeatedly down its back, enjoying the attention while he talked to his friend(?).

As we wrapped our heads around this spectacle, I glanced around the patio. In the most perfect turn of events EVER, the young woman at the table next to us was doing some sort of portable craft that involved stab stab stabbing a needle into a little felted figurine shaped like (wait for it) a rabbit.

A small beagle represented us all by having a frantic barking fit, adding to the kerfuffle and The man turned to it (but really all of us) and half-yelled, "Bet you've never seen that before, huh?! A rabbit in a cafe!?"

Just then, Louis Rocket, a toddler-sized toddler and lover of all doggies, started wildly pointing his chubby fingers and yelling, "Dah! Dah! Dah!" ("Dog! Dog! Dog!") The entire patio, even the needle stabber and the Rabbit guy's Lady, swiveled their heads to enjoy him.

I glanced at the Keeper. His eyes were downcast, his shoulders slumped. The rabbit, however, looked oddly satisfied.

And now, something delicious both a toddler and a rabbit would love*:

*Did you think rabbits only ate carrots?

Toddler Banana Pancake
serves one toddler (or one rabbit, probably)

1/2 mashed banana
1 egg, beaten
couple shakes cinnamon
tiny splash vanilla
minuscule pinch sea salt
1 T gluten-free flour (or flour of your choice)
1 t coconut oil, for cooking

Mix together all ingredients except coconut oil. Heat nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat, adding oil when hot. Pour in batter, cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip. Break into 1000 pieces before serving. For either toddler or rabbit.

I've missed you!
Sorry I've been gone so long!
This mom/life juggle has got me so busy, y'all.
Working it out, working it out.

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