Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Mom has been on a sewing TEAR.  Now that we have delved into the depths of the cloth mountain we have lovingly amassed throughout my childhood, she set on making every piece of cloth useful.  

She found a piece of cloth with tigers on it and asked me if I wanted a skirt. 

"Sure," I said.  I didn't want to get my hopes up, just in case this ended up being a lot like the last time she said she was going to make me a skirt with this cloth.  That was half a lifetime ago for me.  

I went to bed, because it was late and I was tired; I woke up to my mom saying, "Did you try it on?"  

"No I just woke up."  I tried it on and quickly looked up at her.  

"Turn around so I can see the back," she said.  I did the obligatory slow twirl.  I could tell she was beaming, and I would need to say something, because she wasn't going to notice on her own if she hadn't already.

"Mom, it's really you noticed....that the tigers are all upside down?

Mom laughed and then said, "Oh yeah, I thought that at first too, but then I looked closely. Only some of them are."

"Um, no. All of the tigers are upside down."

"Are you sure?" 

"Yes, I'm sure."

Bottom line: I'm still going to wear the skirt. I like tigers, and it makes a great conversation piece.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ice Cream Sandwich

Mom LOVES ice cream sandwiches.  And no, we're not talking about the kind you get from the grocery store, with the chocolate wafers surrounding vanilla ice cream, wrapped in wax paper.

They are literally SANDWICHES.  Two pieces of toasted white bread with whatever ice cream we have in the freezer.

I've tried it. I'm not going to lie: they are delicious.  They're a throwback to my mom's childhood days, when ice cream cones were harder to find.  And the guy selling ice cream in a cart on the side of the road would actually throw a scoop of ice cream into some freshly baked, oh-so-soft pan de sal.
But this is where mom's creative side tends to betray her.  I know that I have this side of me too.  It's the "let's just use whatever we have" side.  Mine tends to manifest itself in smaller ways, like "we ran out of body wash, let's just use a bar of soap" or "I can't find a chip clip, but this clothespin will do." I rarely unleash this side when it comes to food.  Scratch that: I NEVER unleash this side when it comes to food.

Anyways, on this particular day, we had mint and chip ice cream in the freezer.  As I walked into the kitchen, mom was already filling a bowl with the beautiful chocolate-speckled-sea-foam-green deliciousness, when she turned and said, "Do we have bread?"

I looked and made a face. You know, that face. The one that always precedes one of mom's crazy "experiments."

"Mom,  we have bread....but it's sourdough."

"Ok. Toast two pieces for me."


"Did you do it?"

"Yes." I reply.  If she doesn't listen to me most of the time, I do not know what surprises me about her not listening this time.  So I let it go, wanting to see how this all plays out.

I watch her closely, crafting her sandwich quickly and taking a big bite.  Then, she too, is making the face.  "It's sour!"

"I know.  It's sourdough bread."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cherry On Top

At some point in my life, the shopping center down the street announced that a Cherry on Top would soon be opening.  At said point in my life, frozen yogurt was a food group.  Many lunches were often replaced by trips to the closest frozen yogurt place to indulge in an icy treat drowning in strawberries and mangos.
Of course, mom did not understand my fascination with frozen yogurt.  I liken it to her fascination with ice cream sandwiches, but that will have to wait for another day.  She typically eyes every frozen yogurt I devour with disdain.
I anxiously awaited the opening of Cherry on Top, driving by every time I picked up groceries or filled my car with gas.  One day, as I drove home from the gym, I noticed the bright beautiful lights that signaled that the time had come.  I excitedly filled my cup with some tart frozen yogurt and topped it with as many berries as I could fit in the cup.
I got home and put my yogurt down on the counter, saying, "Mom, I got some frozen yogurt from the new place down the street.  You can try it if you want. I'm going to jump in the shower really quick.  If you don't want any, just put it in the freezer."
I quickly hop out of the shower and throw some clothes on to come back to my deliciously cold dinner.... and I find that my cup has only one spoonful of frozen yogurt and a raspberry.

"Mom, what happened to my frozen yogurt?"

Hesitantly, she says, "Oh, it was really good."

"I thought you didn't like frozen yogurt. You said it was a  waste of money."

"Well, I like that kind.  And it was going to melt...."

"Mom, that was my dinner." My eyes are narrower.  "If I had known I would have gotten you one too."

"But it was going to melt..."

"You could have put it in the freezer."

"Oh. I didn't think of that."


So now, my mom likes frozen yogurt.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


On many Saturdays during my childhood, Mom used to wake me up early in the morning so that I could go with her to the swap meet.  It was there that she fostered my love for a great bargain and nurtured my creative side.
We would walk through the swap meet, holding up different bolts of cloth, saying "This would make a great dress" or "We could make curtains with this!"  We had so many great ideas, and we'd return to the car arms filled with cloth.
Unfortunately, we had spent so much time dreaming about all these wonderful creations that we never actually got down to the creating part of it.
At some point during the week, the bags of cloth would get tossed into the garage, and when Saturday arrived, the process would start all over again.
This included the time we went shopping for the cloth for my homecoming dress.
Yes....the cloth that was supposed to be my homecoming dress, 15 years ago, is still in the garage.
There are mountains of cloth in our garage. And now that I am 32, I think it's time to make use of it or get rid of it.
So, this past summer I have been creating lots of things with my lovely little sewing machine.  I usually pull it out when mom's not here, because she usually hovers and points out everything I'm doing "wrong."  She has a whole lot more experience with sewing, so she assumes she's right every time, and sometimes she is.  The other times, I chalk it up to style differences; she does not like these times.

Lately, we've been getting along, but our relationship's a lot like maneuvering a field of land mines.  It really doesn't take much, because even me getting frustrated will set her off.  Anyone who knows my mom knows that she can be extremely frustrating.

Surprisingly, she's helped me complete a couple of different sewing projects that I had on my list that required some of her expertise.  We made a dress and some rice filled therapy packs.  We made it through 2 whole projects without killing each other!

Then I did something stupid.  I told her I was working on another project and asked her to help me.  We must have very different definitions of what the word "help" means, because I came home this afternoon to find her completing my project by herself.  She was almost finished with it by the time I stopped her to say one of the parts was incorrect.  I explained it to her, and she said, "Oh, well I didn't know that. You didn't tell me."

And right into the trap I fell.  These are the words she's been saying pretty much all of my life.  They are the way she believes that she retains no culpability for any mistakes and never has to say words like "my fault" or "I'm sorry."  Trust me, those words would go a long way with me, but any time she has actually ever said them, she says them with the sincerity of a kindergartener.

Anyways, I got mad, and said, "I did tell you." You should know that this does not make me proud.  I don't like pointing out to my mother that her memory might not be as strong as it once was.  I also don't think it's right for me to not defend myself, at least every once in a while.  Also, I think it's fair for people to have what I call "feelings."  This is not the case with her.

The usual scenario proceeds like this:
1. I tell her my plans.
2. She does whatever she wants.
3. I get mad.
4. She gets even madder because I am mad at her.
5. Everyone stops talking to each other.

"Mom, I thought you were going to help me, not do it all yourself."

"I'm just trying to help you.  I didn't know what you wanted.  I didn't understand.  I'm so sleepy, but I'm doing this for you."

Then I said, "Mom, if you're tired, go to sleep.  I don't need this done right this second."

So she tried to storm off to my younger brother to tell him how she was so hurt and I was so disrespectful, but instead of walking away, I walked towards them.  She said, "I'm done." and angrily walked off to her room.

So...honeymoon's over.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Catherine is a beautiful grey 2003 Honda Accord that my parents gave me as an early graduation present.  She was the first new car that was mine.  All mine. Or so I thought, until January of this year.

 "You know your cousin needs a car," she says.

"I heard."  I know this game.  She hints at something, and then expects me to just fill in the blanks, so that she never has to say things that are difficult.  I don't like this game, so I'm going to make her actually say it.

"She's looking at new cars.  Her insurance is going to be really expensive."


"You should sell your car to her. Then you could get a new car." she says, as if she's referring to a watch or a cell phone. NOT a car.

I try to explain to her that I hadn't really budgeted for a car, and with my contract ending in June, I only had 6 more guaranteed paychecks left.

"Just offer. She might not want it."

A week later she gave the car to my cousin.

Friday, July 25, 2014


My mom and I have very different taste in clothes. I go for a more subtle, matchy look.  Mom likes to wear whatever she wants.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I am leaving for Chicago tonight.  Although this trip was planned few months ago, I only told my mom about it about 2 weeks ago.  Mom has a tendency to "hijack" my trips, and lessen my love for traveling.  I love totally exploring a city, getting lost in its streets, tasting the local cuisine, enriching myself in its culture.
My mom likes to conquer a city like it's a to-do list that she must get to the end of as quickly as possible.  Specifically, I remember her dragging me throughout New York exactly 10 years ago, quickly pausing to take pictures and then jettisoning off to the next tourist spot.

Five years ago, we took a road trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon.  We drove for hours to reach these gorgeous national parks, jumped out of the car to take pictures, and then were told to get back in the car so that we could stay on schedule.  "We don't even have time to hike?"  Her response: "No, we only have time to take pictures and go." She wasn't kidding.

She later says to me, "Oh I wish I had known earlier that you were going to Chicago.  I would have gone with you."

Face palm.

She could have completely ruined Chicago for me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Mom and I went to Cabo about 2 years ago.  Let's just say it wasn't exactly how I imagined my first trip to Cabo.
When you stay at an all-inclusive resort that means 4 kinds of alcohol at the ready in your room, you don't really expect to be there with your mom. However, we made the best of it; we tried to spend time with family of a similar age and also carving out some time together.
It's common knowledge that mom and I don't share the same sleep patterns. Waking up early on my part typically means I'm incurring a crazy amount of sleep debt.

I love breakfast, but as a former insomniac, sleep takes precedence over food almost any day.  Unfortunately, my mom doesn't like eating alone.  So every morning she would wake me up between 6:30 and 7:00 AM for breakfast. Since the average bedtime for my generation during this trip was between 2:00 and 4:00 AM, I respectfully declined breakfast.  Mom took this to mean that I just needed 10 more minutes.
So, ten minutes later. She tried again.
And after a while, she just decided to dump the entire contents of her luggage on the bed.

On top of me.

So...  I woke up. "Oh good! You're awake. Wanna go for a walk on the beach?"

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Trash Day

It's trash day.  It all seems so simple. Unless... you're my mother's daughter.
Yes. My mom micromanages how I take out the trash.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm not the most coordinated person.
Imagine me trying to carry too many things, and dropping absolutely everything in my grasp while desperately trying to hold onto all of it.

Now, imagine all of those things being trash.

Consequently, I like to throw trash away in smaller batches, to give it a better shot at actually ending up in the trash.  I think that this is reasonable, but my dear mother is not quite in agreement.

Every time I take a trashbag out the door, I can hear my mom shouting, "You forgot one! Come back!"

So, I shout back, "No I didn't.  I'll make 2 trips!"

Unfortunately, my mom meets me halfway with the rest of the trash, fully expecting me to carry everything.  "Be careful. It's really heavy."
What she doesn't know is that past trips to the trashcan holding all I can carry are akin to the slapstick humor of a cartoon.  The scene would end with me muttering obscenities as I retrieved the trash strewn all over the yard.

And there are various reasons why this could possibly happen:  The trash in the bag is too heavy and the bag breaks halfway to the trashcan.  Multiple trash bags obscure my vision of the ground beneath me and I trip, sending garbage everywhere.  The trash bag has a hole in the bottom and there's a mysterious fluid.  You get the point.

Eventually, I just tell her how making 2 trips ends up being much shorter in the long run, because cleaning up the possible disaster that could ensue will surely take longer than that second trip to the trashbins.  I explain to her that, as long as the trash gets taken out, why does it have to all go out exactly at the same time as long as it gets in the bin before the trash collector comes?

"Oh," she says.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Why She's a Really Bad Passenger:

10. She'll distract you by feeding you apples she pares in the front seat. (Thoughtful, but really, can't we just eat the apples whole and not have someone wielding a sharp knife in a moving vehicle?)
9. She'll leave leftovers in the crevices of your car, deny that she has done so, and then complain that your car smells 3 days later.
8. She will try to give you directions. With hand signals. She will not understand why you do not understand "I told you to turn that way."
7. She will randomly exclaim, "We're lost! You have no idea where we're going!" whenever it takes longer than 15 minutes to arrive at any destination.
6. Heaven forbid that you actually make a wrong turn anywhere, because she will complain for the duration of the trip about your navigation and driving skills, even though she doesn't prefer driving on her own, and it was her idea to go to a new place that is very far away.
5. She won't directly tell you she doesn't like your route, she'll just complain passive-aggressively that "the other way is faster" or "the other way has less lights."
4. You are always driving too fast...unless she has somewhere to be. Then, you are always driving too slow.
3. She will give you directions exactly at the second they need to be happening. "don't turn yet, don't turn yet...ok, right there!"
2.If you have a map with directions printed out, she will want to read it to you. No matter how many times you try to tell her to read direction 25, she will start at the top of the page.
1. On long roadtrips, when she is bored, she will read every sign out loud for you. EVERY one. Call box. Exit. Street names. Speed limits.  She will only do this when everyone else is asleep, so no one else can witness this madness, nor will anyone believe you when they do finally wake.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Old Enough

Today old friend found me on Facebook. Someone I haven't seen in 20 years. She's technically my adopted cousin. My aunt isn't the greatest at forgiveness, and at some point shunned her from the family for eloping.  I had always wondered what became of her, still hoping for the best, because of our fond memories during my childhood.
Today over lunch, I told my mom that she had found me after all these years.
And my mom, started a story with the words, "You were too young to know back then, but I'll tell you now..."

And then she answered the phone and talked for about 20 minutes about how I had the stomach flu last week.

When she got off the phone, she started talking about homeopathic medicine.

"MOM, FINISH THE STORY. The suspense is killing me."

She proceeds to tell me that this friend uses everyone she knows. She abuses relationships to her advantage.

All I can remember is that this girl treated me like I was a princess every time I came to visit.  Despite the person she may have become, this is how I have chosen to remember her.  We all have our flaws, and we all make mistakes too.  At some point in our lives, we all lend money to people who will never repay us.

She says I trust too easily. That's probably true. It's not something I hate about myself enough to want to change though.