Miss World

Nothing like a cake to feed 30 for a party of 15!

I hate when my husband asks questions like “Can I trust you to make a reasonable decision?” I want to respond with a question of my own – Are you new here? Of course you cannot trust me to make a reasonable decision. Reasonable is not exactly in my wheel house. I’m kind of a go big or go home kind of girl. He typically asks these kinds of questions in context to shopping or party planning. I hear questions like this often during the months of November and December when I am Christmas shopping and in the spring when I am planning our daughter’s birthday party. I vividly remember him telling me not to get too crazy about our daughter’s cake for her fifth birthday. I didn’t have to get crazy at all. I am fortunate enough to know a baker extraordinaire who didn’t even blink when I asked for a seven layer rainbow cake with the My Little Pony characters climbing the side of the cake. The inside of the cake was a beautiful rainbow just like the outside and the kids went crazy for it. For some reason my husband was really against us having a kids birthday party the following year.

Because every day is a party in our house – balloon archway and all!

The thing is I grew up with parents who sometimes went a little overboard. They loved being parents and they tried to make my childhood as magical as possible. I am in my 40s and they are still trying to make my life a little magical when they can! This may be one of the reasons I act like a large child in high heels. I am the girl with the most cake.

Last time I went to spend the morning in my daughter’s class, the primary school director said to me “you are pretty popular around here!” as six little girls huddled around my chair. I explained that it’s only because they are not used to seeing kids as big as me in their class. I’m a bit like a performing chimp for the kids when I show up, so they like having me around.

The other factor in my over the top attitude is that I don’t much think about consequences until I am actually suffering them. I never thought much about using all of my vacation days by mid-June when I worked a nine to five job. This was actually a fairly difficult thing to accomplish too considering I did not take any vacation days between the third week of January and April 15. That really spoke volumes about how much I hated my job when I took four weeks of vacation days over a period of ten weeks. We used to joke in my house on a weekly basis that I was sick and would need to stay home from work. Once again, consequences have never played much of a part in my decision making. Refer back, I am much like a large child in high heels.

Yup, a large child in high heels loose in Las Vegas!

Sometimes I wonder how my husband puts up with me and then I remember it’s because I am awesome. It may drive him crazy that he can’t trust me to pick out a simple birthday cake or book a vacation without saying “HELL YES” every time I am asked if I would like to upgrade, but he can also know that no matter what I get my hands on it’s going to turn out better. Sometimes I have to remind him that he is in fact the one who chose to marry a large child in high heels. Just in case he forgets, I periodically send him pictures of me in high heels acting like a child. He is not nearly as amused by this as I am. So, no, he most definitely cannot trust me to make a reasonable decision, but he can trust me to make anything I touch ten times more awesome!

Today’s post was written while listening to:

I’m a Loser, Baby…

My attire is saying “leave me alone” almost as loudly as my expression…

I will never understand people. I would like to say it’s them, but who am I kidding, it’s me. I don’t really play well with others. I’m pretty okay with this too because truth be told, I don’t like people as a whole. I mean, I like some people, but mostly in small doses. I prefer to be alone with a book or in front of a computer tapping away at the keyboard. People have too many expectations of me. They expect me to make conversation and listen when they talk. They expect me to care about what they are saying, but they are just waiting for me to stop talking so they can get back to what is on their mind. They expect me to be empathetic but they are selfish and self-centered. It seems like when I open my mouth I get in trouble but I get in even more trouble when I say nothing. I prefer to remain silent most of the time. At least that way the disapproval is based on assumption.

I used to be a fairly social person. I also used to drink a lot so it was easier to put up with people. It’s much less of a feat to pretend that you want to be present when you are not fully present. Most of my socializing also revolved around music which is still one of the few ways I enjoy being in the same place as other people. There doesn’t have to be communication when there is a common bond. Everything I need to know about the person standing next to me has already been communicated when we walked into the same venue to hear the same band. I am content sharing those few hours with like-minded people and going back to my own space.

One of the other times I have found that I enjoy being with fellow human beings is while doing volunteer work. Last year I joined a women’s organization that does charity work. My Mom has been a member of the group since I was a little girl so I decided it was time I join her. It’s easy to tell your kid that part of being a human being is to help others, but if you want them to actually help others you need to do it yourself. Our offspring never do what we tell them to do, they do what we show them to do. I jumped into volunteer work to mold my daughter. The bonus was that I enjoy the work and strangely enough it’s one of the few atmospheres where I feel like I can breathe and be me. Maybe it’s that I learn all I need to know about my fellow volunteers simply by their action of volunteering or maybe it’s that I can just shut up and work on whatever task is at hand. I don’t care why I feel at ease, I’m just relieved that I have found a place where I feel at home.

The thing about not really being a people person is that life generally demands that you be around people quite a bit. This requires that you either figure out how to adapt or you become a recluse. I adapted (somewhat), mostly to make life easier for my daughter. She is going to do what I do, not what I say. I don’t want her to lock herself in her bedroom and ignore that she is part of the human race – even though I would love to do just that most days. Life is easier when you are outgoing and likeable. She is most definitely both of those things. I have no idea where it comes from because it certainly isn’t from either of her parents!

So this year I am going to try to learn yet another thing from my child. It’s amazing that when you have a kid you have this notion that you will be teaching them all kinds of things, when in fact they teach you something daily. My daughter likes everyone. She is kind and compassionate and incredibly charming. I may not be all of these things, but I can certainly try a little harder to emulate this amazing little six year old. I don’t make New Years resolutions because I think they are a farce, but if I did, I know what mine would be. Instead I will just say that I am really trying to be a better person, even if it usually doesn’t appear that way!

We’re Gonna Make You a Star

The whole country wants to be famous!

Over the last year my daughter has become intrigued by YouTube. She started watching a woman who bakes and does silly challenges like “not my arms” and a bunch of blindfolded food tasting. Some of the videos are funny, some are stupid and some actually teach my kid how to do something! I became intrigued when I read that this particular YouTube star made $6 million last year. After reading this I jumped right down the rabbit hole and read dozens of articles about people who are YouTube famous. Sadly, the top earner is a guy who makes videos of himself playing video games. People are now so lazy that instead of playing their own video games they watch other people play the games on YouTube.

After seeing the ridiculous amounts of cash being handed over for these videos I, of course, had to poke around to see what kind of videos were popular. I found some pretty disturbing things including grown women playing with toys and talking in strange little girl voices, children opening toys for other children to watch and get jealous about (also known as consumerism at it’s finest) and channel after channel of people dumping food on their heads and/or eating disgusting things. If the content wasn’t bad enough, some of the videos were so shaky and the editing so choppy that I thought I might throw up if I continued to watch. My husband and I immediately subscribed our daughter to the handful of channels we found to be acceptable and told her the rest of YouTube was off limits. YouTube, like most parts of the internet, can be used for good or to slowly melt your brain and turn you into a bag of rocks with hands.

This lasted for about a week and then she wanted to start searching for her own content. She claimed she had already seen every video on the half dozen channels she was subscribed to. I had a short talk with her about what it means to exaggerate and sat down with her to find more videos after she conceded that she had not, in fact, watched every video on the channels she was subscribed to. On a side note, I don’t know where she gets speaking in absolutes from, I never exaggerate!

After watching the first ten seconds of about a hundred videos and declining to allow her to continue watching she came across a video of a little girl, not much older than herself, painting her own face like a Disney character. I was even impressed with this kid’s ability to paint her face evenly and with skill. I was not so impressed with the fact that she couldn’t find the word she was looking for when trying to describe the consistency of a product and ended up saying “texture” instead. I am thinking Mom and Dad might want to buy this kid a book every now and then instead of a bag full of makeup. But who am I to judge? My child was reading at age five but still can’t grasp the concept of an organized sport like soccer. We all teach what we know. After watching a few of these videos I realized that the Mom is also skilled at makeup and face painting so I guess she IS teaching what she knows. If only we could find a million people who wanted to watch a Mom and daughter sitting around reading we would also be YouTube famous!

Since my daughter thinks she can do anything that she sees someone else doing, her newest obsession is face painting. She has a pretty healthy ego. She started by painting my face, her Dad’s and then her Grandparents’. She moved on to painting her own face within a day and started using both face paint and makeup. Luckily I don’t really wear makeup but I own a lot of it “just in case” I ever need it. I have pallets of eye shadow with blues and yellows, silvers and gold. I have brushes and bronzers, eyeliner pencils, pens and liquids and lip glosses in every color. Most of my makeup has been relocated to the little one’s vanity table along with her train cases full of face paints. She even asked for more face paint and an 88 color eyeshadow pallet for Christmas. What she got was the paint, the makeup and a mannequin head to work on. I guess my parents were also sick of being her dummies!

She may have a future in Hollywood or Hot Topic, it could go either way…

For the last two days I have observed my daughter sitting in front of anyone who will listen pretending to be filming a video. She has been performing makeup and face painting tutorials along with inserting product placements explaining what makeup she is using and where it can be purchased. She has actually begun to explain pretty much everything she is doing, whether it be building legos or painting, in great detail as if her entire life is a YouTube video. The kid is a natural.

I have been telling my family for the last year that we should have our own reality television show. Some days it’s hard to believe the conversations my daughter and I are having are actually taking place. Throw in my parents and it would be ratings gold. I guess mini-me feels the same way!

Today’s playlist:

What’s a Kid’s Menu?

Riley’s body weight in sushi!

The kid loves her little box of sushi!

When I was a little girl one of my favorite things to do was go out to dinner at fancy restaurants. My parents and their best friends traveled together often with me and my “cousin” who was a year older than me. We ate lavish dinners while on vacation in places like Cancun Mexico, New York and the Playboy Club Resort somewhere in the midwest. You know, because Playboy was known for their family friendly vacations in the eighties! The children were always allowed to order whatever we wanted whether it be filet mignon or chocolate mousse. I don’t know if I ever saw a kids menu as a child – I certainly didn’t order from one!

We also spent many weekends in town going to restaurants like the London Chop House and Machus Red Fox. I was a precocious child and an adventurous eater. I was a foodie before there was such thing as a foodie. On any given dinner outing I would order three or four appetizers instead of an entree. I almost always ordered a shrimp cocktail along with escargot or mussels. I vividly remember ordering octopus for the first time at Pegasus in Greek Town after hanging out backstage at an event at Cobo Hall and getting hypnotized by one of the performers. My “Uncle” Bob used to love to tell the story about the six of us going to a sushi restaurant in the late 70s and me devouring all of the food because the rest of them were more meat and potatoes kind of people. I probably ate my body’s weight in raw fish on that trip to Chicago.

As an Indian Princess I spent many dinners freaking out the other girls with my choice of food. I ate frog legs and eel and anything else that made the other girls gag in disgust. I cracked king crab legs like an Alaskan fisherman as my fellow eight year old diners scarfed down macaroni and cheese and battered chicken lips and buttholes. I gagged right back at them as they ordered what I viewed as food unfit for consumption.

Apparently the foodie gene runs deep. My daughter has been eating sushi since she was two. She has also been ordering her own food since she could talk. The waitstaff at restaurants is still often surprised when she orders for herself at the age of six. I get more compliments about her ability to articulate what she wants than I do about the fact that she was reading the menu before she was five years old! The other night our waiter commented that we could probably drop her off at the door with a twenty dollar bill and she would do just fine dining by herself and paying the bill. I agreed except for the fact that she would order a soda which is strictly forbidden in our house (we don’t consume what we can’t spell).

The chopstick pro!

Brunch with Belle at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial

We were at a charity event a few years ago that was a giant strolling buffet with forty or fifty restaurants serving their most popular dishes. As we walked by the Kona Grill booth a waitress who recognized us said “there’s the little girl who orders like a thirty year old!” It’s still amusing to me to listen to my kid order sushi – requesting extra ginger and refusing the chop stick helpers. Nobu Matsuhisa would be proud!

When she was four she almost gave a waiter at Seafire Steakhouse in Atlantis a nervous breakdown when she ordered a $63 lobster duo instead of a $6 kids menu plate of noodles and marinara sauce. He looked from her to me for approval and when I nodded my head he actually pointed at the menu to make sure I was able to read the price. He then looked to her Dad for the same approval and eventually walked away looking a little startled. Of course she couldn’t have chosen the $50 single lobster tail, that simply wouldn’t have been enough shellfish! If I recall correctly she also finished my Dad’s wagyu beef and my tuna before ordering herself a dessert. We set the dining bar high for her in Atlantis when we took her to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill when she was a mere thirteen months old. They had to borrow a high chair from a neighboring restaurant because they had an age limit that I ignored while making the reservation. She was the youngest diner they had ever seen and she was better behaved than many of the adults around us. Then again, she was not imbibing in the cocktails that were flowing like the water wall behind us.

Mesa Grill – Atlantis – Bahamas – The youngest diner!

Our favorite restaurant in Atlantis!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a conversation with my chiropractor once about the differences between Atlantis and his favorite vacation destination, Riviera Maya, Mexico. One of the main selling points for him was the cheap food in Mexico. We talked about the meal plans in Atlantis and when I told him that we chose not to partake in the plans because the kids had to eat from the kids menus he almost fell over. He proceeded to tell me how he forced his ten and twelve year old children to order from the kids menu on vacation. I proceeded to send him into apoplexy when I shared the story about the lobster tail duo. To him it was a waste to spend more than $10 on a meal for his kids. To me it was child abuse to force feed a child the garbage available on the kids menus at steak houses and high end restaurants.

My love of food never really crossed over to an ability to actually cook my own food. I often burn toast and destroy pretty basic dishes like soup – as evidenced by my disintegrated noodle soup. I have literally set three stoves on fire on three separate occasions. I am more of a consumer than creator when it comes to fine cuisine. My daughter on the other hand is becoming quite the little chef. She cooks with her Dad every week and she finds great delight in preparing dishes for her family, especially on special occasions. I am grateful for this – not so much because it is good for her, but I will most likely need someone to cook for me if anything ever happens to her Dad. I have just started cooking one meal a week so anything could happen!

 

Punk Rock Music Will Save Your Soul!

Sarcasm. coffee & punk rock in the morning…

I don’t know how old I was when I fell in love with music, but I was young. I don’t remember a time when there was not music in my house. As a child I heard a lot of the Beatles and Beach Boys, Elvis and Neil Diamond. I remember driving on winter days with my Dad, heater cranked up, windows down rocking out to Roy Orbison. In second grade my favorite aunt took me to see the first concert I chose to go to on my own – The Stray Cats. I was certain at the young age of seven that I would grow up to marry Brian Setzer. I blame him for my undeniable attraction to musicians. It is clearly his fault that I grew up to marry a man who sings and plays guitar. I won’t even mention the fact that they both have killer hair and to die for eyes.

How could I resist a man with a guitar?

Almost every memory I have in life has a song or a band attached to it. I remember the Christmas I got my first bike whenever I hear “Surfin’ Safari” and the time I was brought home at 3 am by the police when I hear the Talking Heads. Violent Femmes remind me of dropping in on a half pipe on my hot pink Steve Caballero board, eating the ramp and bleeding all over my favorite Descendents t-shirt. “Jesus Saves” by Slayer reminds me of getting caught skipping school as a sophomore and Ministry brings me back to my senior prom. My life has always had it’s own soundtrack running behind the scenes.

 

Prom circa 1990

My favorite Powell Peralta

My favorite music has always been fast, loud and angry. Even as a kid I couldn’t stomach pop music. I didn’t want to hear vapid lyrics about dancing and falling in love. I wanted substance. By the time I was a teenager I wanted to scream about social injustice and being marginalized. I was drawn to the music that expressed how I was feeling. I knew I was different from my peers by the time I was eight years old. I rode a motorcycle and performed daredevil tricks on my banana yellow Schwin. I wore muscle shirts and jeans instead of polos and cardigans like my classmates. My rejection of all things mainstream became more fierce as my teenage years approached. This is when I began my life long love affair with punk rock.

Punk has been compared to the mafia, in that once you are in, you are in for life. It’s not a genre or style, it’s something that seeps into your bones and becomes part of your very being. To me it is like a religion. Listening to Black Flag gives me the same sense of belonging as reading the Bible or listening to a lecture by the Dalai Lama. My places of worship are St. Andrew’s Hall and the Magic Stick watching Negative Approach or Refused. The difference is that you leave these holy grounds sweaty and possibly with a new t-shirt that smells vaguely like dirt and gasoline.

I spent quite a few years trying to be something that didn’t suit me. I will never do that again. I had forgotten for awhile that I am and will always be a punk rock kid deep down in my soul. I will never really fit in with the people around me and that is okay. I am who I am because somewhere long ago I became aware that being myself was more important than fitting in. Believing in myself has always been all I have ever needed. I don’t need anyone else’s approval.

I am watching my daughter learn these lessons today. She told her Dad yesterday that the kids in school think she is weird and they just look at her when she talks about the things she does at home, mouths agape. He told her that one day she will come to appreciate all of the things we do at home, from jamming to punk rock in the basement to sitting around creating art together. We are a little weird and there is nothing that’s going to change that. That’s okay. One day she is going to look back at our time together in the same way I look back at jumping on a motorcycle at three years old with my Dad and picking up a skateboard at thirteen. One day punk rock is going to seep into her bones too and she will remember the times we took her to the Warped tour and to see the Interrupters. I have no doubt that one day she is going to do great things and that starts with being herself no matter what anyone else thinks.

 

 

 

 

 

Pick Your Battles

My husband and I agree on most parenting decisions. One thing we differ on is where we eat meals. I let my kid sit on the family room couch and watch television with a bowl of cereal on most mornings. It is how she eases into her day. I know it is being lazy but I’m not willing to have the battle with her every morning. I am already geared up for the tooth brushing battle, the Mom packs the worst lunches battle and the epic hair battle to which I show up with an arsenal of clips, ties, brushes and two types of detangler. If she has to eat at the table, she will forgo breakfast and go straight to school with no food in her stomach. I pick my battles. We eat dinner at the kitchen table together every night, breakfast isn’t a meal I’m willing to die by my sword over. My husband on the other hand is willing to stand his ground on the all meals should be eaten at the kitchen table rule. So if Dad is home, we eat at the table. (more…)

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