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.