This kid is awesome.
I make delicious pot roast.
Seriously, it’s crazy good. And so easy. Want to know my secret? Use a ridiculously expensive bottle of red wine.
None of the cooking magazines tell you this. I discovered it by accident.
I saw a recipe on SeriousEats.com. I thought “Hey, Pot Roast! That should be easy…and cheap.”
So I crisped up some bacon pieces in my dutch oven (yes…bacon), braised the spice rubbed roast till brown on all sides and went to add wine. I reached into my wine rack and grabbed the first bottle of wine I saw. I don’t remember the name, only that it was a Cabernet Sauvignon. I liberally poured half of it over the browned meat before I realized what I had done. My jaw dropped.
I looked at the label and realized I had used a $300 bottle of wine I had been gotten as a party favor from former-friend’s birthday celebration. I had been saving it. Planning on using it one day for a special occasion.
But alas, while the wine aged beautifully, the friendship did not. And every time there was an occasion worthy of a $300 bottle of wine I passed this bottle over because drinking it only reminded me of her and the friendship that was gone.
But blindly I grabbed the precious wine, pouring it liberally over the tasty stew. And now, all that was left of that friendship was boiling and bubbling around a cheap cut of meat and some peeled carrots.
I could have cried. I almost did. But I didn’t. I laughed. Uncontrollably. And I couldn’t stop as whatever pain and sadness I had ever had about the lost friendship bubbled up and burned off and reduced leaving only a delicious and more palatable experience behind.
I guess it was the best way for the wine to go. Otherwise it could have sat on my wine rack for years to come – reminding me of the lost friendship every time I saw it. Without a doubt, if there was a grown-up version of “when life gives you lemons…” this was it.
This morning, Conde Nast moved into its new offices at 1 World Trade Center.
I don’t think I could do it. Even for a dream job at Vogue.
While it seems completely appropriate that the first tenants in the newly opened monument to 9/11 would be the gatekeepers of all things avant-garde, I have to admit I would be wildly creeped out by the idea of working and going about my daily business on top of (and in the same air space as) such a tragic event.
Of course, I completely understand the Durst Organization’s (the building developers) necessary publicity spin on this major piece of NYC real estate that could potentially bring in billions of dollars in profit if fully leased – it’s an ‘homage.’ They even named it’ The Freedom Tower,’ fully capitalizing on its horrific past in the ultimate PR spin. It’s practically un-American to not want to work there. But is it? Is it really? Think of how much money Germany could make if they used the same PR tactics to develop Dachau?
I just couldn’t do it.
Initially, I felt awful having this gut reaction. Maybe I’m too close. My ex-husband lost half of his old teammates from his lawyer’s league basketball team in the tragic event. I can’t even pass the memorial to 9/11 (a twisted girder from the rubble of the Twin Towers) outside the Beverly Hills Fire Station, without a wrench in my gut.
But it turns out I’m not alone. On “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, Chris Rock, totally nailed it – “They should change the name from the Freedom Tower to the ‘Never Going in There Tower,’ because I’m never going in there. There is no circumstance that will ever get me in that building.”
The obvious conversation that took place about who will work on what floor further validated my instincts. According to Chris O’Shea’s article on FishbowlNY, Conde Nast will be occupying floors 2o – 44 in the tower. Everybody knows that in every building around the world, the higher up your office = the higher up you are in the company. Well, the higher-ups at Conde Nast (ironic pun intended) won the bid for the lower offices this time. Anna Wintour will be the 25th floor. The company’s lawyers, the 44th. Did she also forgo a corner office for one next the stairwell? Sorry. I’m just saying…
I am trying to imagine how I would feel going to work at the site of such an atrocity as 9/11. I would be deferential, humbled, and not a little terrified – especially since employees have been “steeped in security protocols.” I just don’t want to have to be that well-prepared to go to work every day, anywhere – unless I’m choosing to work in a war zone.
Am I wrong to be freaked out by this? Am I being anti-American? Or am I just acknowledging the feeling we would all have?
Either way, I’m never going in that building. Unless, of course, Anna Wintour calls.
Would you photoshop your child’s school picture? Would you digitally whiten their teeth, airbrush a zit or hide the braces?
Before you decide, check out my most recent article on Huffington Post: “What We Miss When We Photoshop School Pictures.” (Click here to read the full article at http://huff.to/1vO15tV )
(And here’s the video from HuffPost Live where Nancy Redd and I talk about where all this photoshopping could lead: Waist whittling? Nose jobs? Boobs? HELP!!
In October of 2007, my son got hit in the face with a dog.
You heard me. The dog didn’t bite him, it didn’t growl, there wasn’t any attack of any kind. Ben was just sitting there petting the dog, the dog was loving it, and then the dog (a bull-dog with sharp protruding lower teeth) JUMPED up and his teeth rammed into Ben’s face ripping gaping holes in his upper lip and bottom opposite side lip. The dog didn’t mean any harm -turns out there was a donut involved.
A trip to the ER and 25 stitches later, he was regaling his kindergarten friends with stories of his valor.
Now, this might seem weird to you if you didn’t know Ben. But my son is a disaster magnet.
We go to petting zoos and he gets chased by goats. We took him to Underwood farms and a Turkey pecked him in the forehead. If there’s a toothpick on the floor, he’ll trip on it; a glass to knock over, he’ll nail it; an edge of a chair, he’ll fall off it.
I’m exhausted from trying to save him from himself.
The other day, he got nipped at by my a dog. The dog just didn’t like his vibe at the moment and decided to send a message. Boy was I pissed at that dog – Ben was innocent for sure. Just standing there. Eating challah.
I gathered my boy into my arms against his will. He was like “Mom, I’m fine. I’m okay.” Ben’s eyes were rimmed in tears he was fighting so hard to hold back. My little man. “It’s okay to cry, honey.” I told him.
Ben’s response “It’s okay mommy…I’m used to it.”
My poor boy. Even he knows it.
I’m considering a helmet and body armor. Would it be wrong to stuff his clothes with Cottonelle?
So the twins were busy with Legos this morning while I slept in. They came running into my room yelling over each other “Look what I made,” “Look what I made!” Ben had a Lego car and Livi had some kind of Lego crocodile. They kept shoving them in my sleepy face yelling “Maaaaaa….Look what I made! Maaaaaaaaaaaaaa….Look what I made!”
So I turned over to both of them, grabbed their little faces and said “Look what I MADE!”
This is a “Throwback Thursday” Post. Originally posted October 2009.
Thanks to #TBT (that’s’ Throwback Thursdays’ for those less “hashtag savvy”), I now have a great idea for Thursday posts. Every Thursday I’m going to share one of my favorite stories from when my kids were little(er). I’m so into this! YAY!
I’m so glad I started blogging if only because I have this amazing diary of hysterical moments from my kids’ younger years. I always thought I’d remember these moments – you think, “How could I forget?!” But ‘forget’ you do. The sad truth is that these moments are gone like the fog of a dream once you wake up.
If you’re willing to take a little advice here – start a journal, keep notes, write a blog! NOW! Even if you don’t show it to anybody! Capture the moments that made you laugh (and cry)…because you’ll forget them in a heartbeat – but if you write them down and save them they’ll make you laugh all over again every time you read them for years to come.
So a big shout out to the creator of “Throwback Thursdays” for keeping the good memories alive!
“You Can Lead a Boy To the Playroom…But You Can’t Make Him Have Fun”
(This was originally posted on MommyLITEonline.com on September 29, 2009. The twins were 6.)
My daughter wanted to play with her brother today. Not because she likes him…she doesn’t. (okay, maybe she does, but she just doesn’t know it yet).
The reason she so eagerly pursued her twin was because I had decided to put an end to all electronic activities in the afternoons after school. No TV, no Wii and no Club Penguin. I thought, they should “interact”, “build a bond”,”play.” Boy, were they mad.
“But MOOooooooommm…there’s nothing to do!” and they gave me their most pathetic gazes as I stood at the kitchen counter breading chicken cutlets for dinner.
They stared at me.
“…With each other!” I added and motioned between the two of them with an eggy crumby finger in case they needed a visual to understand, which clearly they did.
“Alright. Come on, Ben, let’s go play house.”
“I don’t want to play house.”
“I played Super Smash Mario Cart Brothers the last time you asked!”
“Fiiiiiiiiiine-ah.” he said with an extra “ah” sound to emphasize his annoyance.
Livi smiled. “Okay. I’m the mommy. What are you?”
Well, you can’t say I didn’t lead the horse to water.
I’ve always suspected it, but now I’m sure.
I saw the signs in elementary school. Standing by as two teacher-appointed kickball captains plucked friends from the group like old ladies looking for butter crackers at the deli. Separating the wheat from the chaff, they revealed the social pecking order until it was just me and the tiny kid with orthotics and hay fever. Turns out that kid’s reinforced shoe made him kind of valuable.
But I’m over it. At least I thought I was.
Until Facebook exposed me with its darn #alsicebucketchallenge.
If you don’t know what this is, because you’ve never been online before today, or you live under rock), the “ice bucket challenge” is when you dump a bucket of ice water on your head, post a video of the stunt online, and then chose a select few of your Facebook friends and family to do the same. If the people you nominate don’t douse themselves within 24 hours, they’re expected to donate $100.00 to ALS (a/k/a Lou Gehrig’s syndrome). Of course, if you’ve been following the news you know it could be any charity, but ALS is de rigueur among the chosen.
Sure, lots of people are bemoaning the financial and environmental toll of this stunt. Complaining about the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water wasted and its waning sense of import as it becomes a public wet t-shirt contest. But what really upsets me is this…nobody’s picked me. No one. Nada.
WTH dudes?! I’m cool! Don’t you see all of my Facebook friends? All of my followers? All of my page likes??!!! I’m popular, damn it! People like me! (Quick…somebody tell me they like me…)
Let’s face it. There’s a party on line and I’m not invited.
The #icebucketchallenge is everywhere. Celebrities are doing it (Thank you Justin Timberlake). All of my old high school classmates are doing it. My kids’ orthodontist, my colleagues…my mom. In fact, in the time it’s taken me to write half of this article, my 11 year old son has been nominated. It’s embarrassing. All of them enjoying the knowledge they have been lumped together with other cool people in this shared experience. But alas, Justin Timberlake and I will never be lumped. And that just makes me a little sad.
Each ice bucket challenge post I read on Facebook is another person getting picked in a virtual game of “Duck, Duck, Goose,” while I wait for some authority figure to step in and make everyone who hasn’t been chosen yet raise their hand.
I click on their videos and watch them laugh and enjoy themselves. Ready to dash happily around that circle. And I wait…ready:
“Duck, Duck, Duck…”
My hope is renewed. Maybe this time it’ll be me. After all, I know this person. They like me. I have a real shot here…
Damn. My former nanny.
It’s not fair.
I now find myself scrolling past these videos anxiously reading their tags to see if people I barely know have nominated me. It doesn’t matter we’ve never actually spoken. I’m hopeful. And when I don’t see my name it stings a teeny tiny bit. I don’t like being reminded of my irrelevance.
Of course I know this is all for a good cause. It’s good clean fun. But let’s be realistic. The reason this whole challenge has gone viral is because you have to be invited to play and who doesn’t want to be chosen? Suddenly, with I click a button, everybody’s Horshack with our hand in the air shouting “OOO! OOO! OOOO!! PICK ME! PICK ME!”
Will Oremus, senior technology writer for Slate.com made the point that these videos are more about the ‘social’ than the giving, “…the ice bucket videos feel like an exercise in raising awareness of one’s own zaniness, altruism, and/or attractiveness in a wet T-shirt.” And attractive they are; Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downy Jr.; call me crazy, but even Mark Zuckerberg looks kind of buff in his video – like he’s strutting some newfound coolness. I get it, Mark. I’d want to look good in my video too – especially for all of those old high school classmates.
Here’s the point. I’m a grown woman. I shouldn’t need other people to tell me I’m cool. It only matters that I think I’m cool. Right? RIGHT??!!!! Yeah. I know.
I just kind of wish somebody would dump a bucket of ice water over my head to prove it.
The other day I got an urgent call from my neighbor.
I found a bunch of kittens in my garage! What do I do?! Get over here!”
I ran across the street like the house was on fire. Not because I actually had any clue what to do with newborn kittens – I just thought “KITTENS!!!!!” and ran. It was a reflex – like a shoe sale at Neiman’s.
Where I grew up in the suburbs of Philly, there were always baby squirrels, baby rabbits, kittens and puppies popping up all over the place. Unfortunately, when I was about 6, my neighbor’s cat had kittens and while I was holding one, I dropped it. I wasn’t allowed to hold a baby animal for, like, 10 years after that – so that’s probably why every time I see kittens I have to hold them. Proof that I’ve overcome my clumsiness. That probably also explains the solid representation of Nature’s food chain that’s lived under my roof.
Frankly, I wasn’t even a cat person until about a year ago. I grew up with dogs. I never questioned that dogs were the way to go. Dogs ruled. Anyone who loved a cat was crazy and divorced (of which I’m both…so there you go, I guess).
Then we found Atti (short for “Atticus Emerson Maizes Burn Grand Duke of Hamsterchestershire”). Livi and I were in a nearby pet food store that occassionally has cats up for adoption from a local rescue (Pet Rescue Foundation in Los Angeles). Atti got one look at Livi – strolled over to the side of the cage and meowed. The next thing I know the pet guy put Atti in her arms. I normally wouldn’t have caved on a spontaneous adoption, but as I contemplated whether I was ready or not to be perceived as ‘crazy’ as well as ‘divorced,’ Atti put his paw on Livi’s cheek – “I choose you” he seemed to say, stroking her face. Well, who am I to question love.
So why do I tell you all of this? Well apparently, owning a cat (and having it survive) for almost a year makes me the ‘cat expert’ on my street.
When I got to her house she had three of the tiniest, cutest kittens I had EVER seen in a box. Oh my God. I picked one up (And I didn’t drop it (see mom?!)
Turns out the mom had given birth to them in an old car seat (thank you, Britax) on the shelf. My neighbor went into the garage for the first time in a month and as she turned on the light she saw this tiny fluffy thing dangling from the wooden shelf. She grabbed a plastic bin and caught it JUST before it dropped! And then she heard more ‘meowing’ and found the kittens in the seat. They were SO tiny and one had a bad eye :(. They looked hungry.
All the kids in the neighborhood gathered at her house. We had a full-on ‘village’ taking care of them. Scott got them a bowl of Atti’s kibble and plunked it on the ground as I stared at him, hands on hips, stating authoritatively “kittens do not eat kibble! Suddenly, I was the expert. Look at me. Sarah Maizes. Cat expert. Maybe I shouldn’t be so proud of that. Anyway, my neighbor and I piled into the car and drove to a nearby pet rescue that was open and they had some extra kitten formula and eye medicine for the baby with a funky eye. The whole transaction felt like a drug deal – we were in a dark driveway, there was white powder in a baggie… cash changed hands.
We brought our stash home and put drops in their eyes, cleaned their little faces with wet cotton balls, and nursed them late into the evening (did you know kitten ears quake when they eat? I didn’t. Omg. It’s ridiculous.). We cleared the garage for long stints of time hoping the mom would come back. The kids on the street had a neighborhood watch going for the mom – all of the kids taking turns peeking out their windows at night to see if any stray cats went by – or into our friend’s garage that night. We all hoped the mama would show up and take them away in the middle of the night. Nobody wanted to be responsible for what we’d have to do if she didn’t. At least if she came for them they’d be together. We could be happy about that. But nothing. No sign. And in the morning, the kittens were starving again.
So we fed them and put out word to everyone we know to PLEASE take a kitten!!!! I wanted to take one SO BADLY but my landlady was firm “No way.” (I hate renting).
Then a friend answered the call! We took the kitty to the vet for her, had her de-fleaed, checked for worms, and given a full work-up. She was deemed healthy and ready for a home.
Nobody would take the others. We called foster homes, pet rescues and shelters. EVERY pet rescue in the city was over-flowing! It’s kitten season apparently. (Did you know there’s a kitten season? I didn’t.) So, no room at the inn for these two little boys. Anywhere. We finally found a shelter that would give them a chance at life (Los Angeles Animal Shelter). They said the vet would look them over and if they were healthy (which we knew they were – Mr. Funky Eye had already improved with the drops) they’d be put up for adoption the next day.
Good news, I suppose. But listen, I know the potential truth. I am just avoiding it. How do I do anything else? What do you do when you find these amazing little creatures and you can’t take them home (landlords), and you can’t leave them out (coyotes), and you just want them to be safe? My stomach is churning as I sit here.
But I have to say “thank God” to my friend who adopted. Even better, she lives down the street and I get to watch them turn into crazy cat people too.
As much as I loved finding the kittens, I’m also so sorry I did. I tried to save them all. I wanted to save them all. All I can even think to say is PLEASE people, spay and neuter your pets unless you’re in a position to take care of the babies and find them good homes. The shelters are overflowing. Foster Families are tapped out. And even more importantly, there are so many animals in need of good homes. So many animals waiting to be adopted!
Next time you think about bringing a pet home, please consider adoption and save an animal’s life! This difference you’re making is “life-altering” – seriously! Now let’s hope this little girl’s brothers find loving homes too.
So without any further ado, I give you Mittens. Seems pretty happy to have a home, right??!
P.S. And here’s Atticus helping me write my new book. He’s not impressed.
GUESS WHAT!! My new picture book, “On My Way to School,“is out NOW!!!
Just in time for Back-To-School! AND I am SO CRAZY EXCITED (and a little teary eyed with joy) to announce that Kirkus Reviews has given my book a STARRED REVIEW (for those of you NOT in kids books, just know that basically means publishing peeps gives it 2 thumbs up!)!!!
What can you expect from Livi this time around? Well, let me tell you…
“Kids everywhere dread the nightly call to go to bed. But not Livi! Her imagination takes her on a journey full of daring obstacles and exciting adventures on her way to bed. She pilots a spaceship, walks a tightrope, and climbs a mountain, all while her Mom waits with her covers turned down and bed ready. With stalling techniques as creative as this, it’s a wonder she ever makes it to bed! Author Sarah Maizes and illustrative veteran, Michael Paraskevas, once again create a funny, fresh book that will be a must for every parent who wants to foster creativity while fulfilling the every day necessities.”- See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/on-my-way-to-bed-9780802735874/#sthash.PqJ18AKo.dpuf” (insert Family Guy/Peter Griffin-esque “Yaaaaaaaaaayyyyy” here).
You can GET YOUR COPY of On My Way to School RIGHT NOW! JUST CLICK HERE! AND…if you buy a your copy TODAY (or at least before Friday!) send me an email (at email@example.com) and I’ll send you a personalized signed bookplate (and MAYBE even an “On My Way to the Bath” rubber duck, while supplies last)
And DON’T FORGET Livi’s other adventures: “On My Way to the Bath“ (a Bank Street Books/Children’s Book Council “Best Picture Book of 2013″ – NOW available in BOARD BOOK!) and “and “ON MY WAY TO BED” (A New York Times Bookshelf “Pick”)” (A New York Times Bookshelf “Pick”)