Monday, January 28, 2008

Skating Away

The winter can be brutal and unpredictable. It comes with freezing cold winds or snow that is only welcome when you are home safe and warm and not trying to get somewhere. But sometimes, amongst the bitter cold, you get a treat. It happened this week. The temperature was consistently around 20 degrees every day. I knew it would happen and it did. The lake froze to a perfectly smooth surface and it was ice skating time. I didn't have to go, I knew it was frozen. I recalled those times and wondered if the kids remember any of those days as fondly as I do now. The freezing of the lake for ice skating is like a lunar eclipse - a feat of nature. It doesn't happen every year but when it does, it is the best time winter can offer. Skating on perfect, clear ice without the restriction of going round and round as in a rink, well, there is nothing like it. I think it was my son Anthony who got us interested in skating. The year he was 8 years old, we all got ice skates for Christmas - including me. Me, who was and still is athletically challenged, can't ride a bike or swim, and hates to be cold. So in my 40s, I decide to ice skate. I think something hit me while watching the winter Olympics one year and Oksana Baiul. It just looked so graceful to be sliding on ice. Anthony went on to play ice hockey for the high school team for 4 years. Last year, I took a group of kids to the ice rink in Bear Mountain. Thomas skated rings around the other kids. I also got on skates - very wobbly at first but then I got the beat and skated away. It was good, but not as great as the lake. My skating is intimidated by my fear of falling. I am older and feel if I fall, my recovery will be too long to stand. I now watch with envy and remember. This Saturday, Anthony went out around 4 pm. A few minutes later, he called. "Hey mom", he said, "Guess what, the lake is frozen over and there are people out there skating. I'm thinking I'm going skating tomorrow". He had such enthusiasm in his voice. It was great. I think it would be safer if I lived a little through his enjoyment.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The 30 Minute Meal

It's Friday night. I call my kids and ask if they will be home for dinner. Anthony and Thomas say "yeah, sure". Christine says, "don't worry about me" (only to later come walking in the door hungry). I plan dinner for 4. Shop for about $60 worth of some special meat or fish, expecting to make something like broiled stuffed trout with broccoli rabe or fillet mignon with sauted spinach and roasted potatoes. I pick a wine for Tony and I and go home only to find out that I have 30 minutes to get the food on the table. The kids made plans to go out with friends, to a game, or whatever and are leaving at 6. It is now 5 and I know, if they do not eat at home tonight, like Cinderella, this beautiful, wine-worthy dinner turns into the leftovers which will shrivel up and die an old, slow, unappealing death in the refrigerator. So with determination and a focused look on my face that is translated to "get out of my way, I'm on a mission", I am now rushing around to serve a gourmet meal in half the time. Rachael Ray has become famous for her meals in 30 minutes. Well, I could turn chopped meat around in half an hour too, but I reach higher. It's my fault for two reasons:
  1. I haven't learned to stop making things from scratch. I've never bought bottled salad dressing and sauce in the jar just tastes all the same to me - overly tomatoey.
  2. I still cook as if all 5 of us are together at dinner, even though most nights, we are not. I still shop at Costco at least twice a month. I always think I should have more food just in case one of the kids invites a friend over for dinner. Truthfully, that hasn't happened since high school.
Old habits die hard. This Friday, I will plan a dinner with my husband, buy a nice bottle of wine and forget about the kids. Yeah right. I will probably do the same thing I always do and hope they will be there to eat.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Her name was Azat. It means freedom in Armenian. She escaped from Turkey with her family during the Armenian genocide. She spoke 5 languages and was a very hard working woman. Her profession was being a dressmaker (an amazingly talented one) and of course, a mother - my mother. She was my role model. This is not the first time I have written openly about her. In fashion school, I used her as a model for a term paper about a fashion designer. Today is her birthday or would have been. I think of her every day. After she died, I found that paper I wrote among her belongings. Last month, my daughter did something that made me realize how much her grandmother meant to her. Not that I am fond of tattoos, but what can I say. I love my daughter too.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm Back

I have often been asked "How do you do it all? Three kids, a full time job, cooking, etc., etc." My stock answer is, "I don't". So these last 2 weeks, I didn't do it all. I'm sorry, but I couldn't get to the blog. Hopefully, you are all still out there - those who comment and the silent majority that comment verbally or through emails. I am here, officially back. Everyone complains that they have too much to do so I'm not going to go on and on about how the holidays put my schedule into fifth gear. I actually have no reason to complain. I didn't have much in the way of gift shopping. The only people I buy gifts for these days are my kids and a couple of others - not much in comparison to earlier years. My husband and I didn't exchange and used the weekend in NY to be our gift (I secretly had hoped I would get an IPhone but...). I didn't even decorate, Tony did it. Then I was off work for the week between Christmas and New Year's. A great thing when you don't have travel plans which, in my case, involves cramming whatever personal work I have to do in half the time and then there is the packing. I guess I will never learn how to be frugal in that area. How can I leave with less than 6 pair of shoes (it's true, ask Tony). I know that sounds excessive, but I like to have options. All this time, you would think I would have had time to write a small paragraph, a spot or posted a "Gone Shopping" notice on the blog. I didn't even tell you what a nice time Tony and I had New Year's Eve at a local restaurant. I danced with my son who had to work the restaurant that night (for the third year in a row). At his age, I would have died if I had to tell my friends I spent New Year's Eve with my parents. Considering the situation, he seemed to enjoy it too. So life is good. I started the new year dancing, and I'm falling back into the routine. Hmm, maybe I was better off dancing.