Saturday, August 22, 2020


 Tattoos are for bad ass Harley Davidson biker dudes and long-ago dehydrated Navy sailors. Not for good girls like me. I was raised in the fun 80s, where getting a spiral perm and wearing leg warmers were the riskiest decisions I ever thought about making. 

People who prance around in skimpy outfits, joyfully comfortable in their own skin should get tattoos. That's so not me. You'll find my pale chunkiness, flabby arms and muffin top skillfully hidden behind a flowy tunic or a black grandma bathing suit with an attached skirt.

It seems only absolute true believers in a God or a rose or some Asian symbol should make a lifelong commitment to a tattoo like that before getting injected with who knows what kind of dangerous ink. My faith in anything never ran that deep. During a haircut once on a Friday the 13th, I learned me hairdresser was going out that night to a "Tattoos for $13.00" event. She hadn't even thought yet about what she was going to get. I hate to be so judgey, but that's insane. 

Then there's the pain! And the needles! I can barely get through a lab draw. Childbirth was brutal, too. I begged for an epidural, but Dr. OB-GYN had Friday night dinner reservations and said it would slow things down too much. I kept pushing and at 6:36pm, Shana was born. She was super cute, but the whole only child thing definitely occurred to me that night and I stuck with it.

Fast forward eighteen yeas and I was completely caught off-guard when Shana said, "Mom, let's get mother-daughter tattoos!" The first thing I thought was, "Ohhhh, I can't believe how sweet she is!" I'd do anything for that kid. She's the best. Smart, considerate, so much fun. We're buddies, like Lorelei and Rory Gilmore, but I came to my senses and said no way.

I was able to put her off for a couple of years, until she finally wore me down. We went back and forth over what tattoo to get and where to get them. We remembered an infinity necklace I had given her, and I realized that I had always been drawn to that symbol, representing long life, fairness, healing, balance. 

We arrived at a tattoo parlor with Shawn the dad in tow. Shana got hers on the side of her foot, while mine went on my upper back, off to the left - since I've always been a little off to the left and thought that would give me some extra strength. I'm mostly left brained. I sit to the left politically. Plus, I'm left handed! None of that mattered, though, as the needles loudly started up. My motherly instincts wanted to protect Shana. I don;t know how much fat is on my shoulder, but I know it's more than what's on Shana's foot, so her pain must have been worse. It was all I could do to manage to grin and bear it and send Shawn over to be with her. We did survive and walked out of there feeling pretty biker bad ass. 

Every now and then I feel frisky enough to put on an off-the-shoulder top, but otherwise my tattoo is hidden. Even if I can't see it, tough, I can feel it, knowing thatjust behind me there's a mother-daughter infinity sign, reminding me that I can go-with-the-flow sometimes and that Shana and I are connected together, for good. 



Friday, August 14, 2020

Quarantine cake


It's like I married my father, at least where the cooking's concerned. I don't recall my mom ever spending much time pondering the whole "what's for dinner?" dilemma, and, thanks to my hubby, Shawn, I never do, either. 

This comes in especially handy during these times of quarantine, when "what's for dinner?" is sometimes the only real thing we seem to have any control over.Shawn's a real foodie, just like my dad was, obsessed with recipes and kitchen gadgets, YouTube video chef shows and creating the perfect marinara. He got the cooking gene from his mom and now he's passed it on to our daughter, Shana, who cooks right alongside her husband-to-be, Scott, in what must be some type of share the chores, we're millennials kind of shift.

During early COVID, we signed up for a weekly veggie basket at a local farmer's market, giving us an abundant supply of squash, broccoli and kale in the beginning, then moving to watermelon, tomatoes and corn as shelter-in-place dragged on and on. Shawn has created a personal farm-to-table restaurant in our own kitchen, experimenting every day since we've been stuck at home. 

My sister, Amy, moved in for quarantine, too, giving us a little company. She escaped New York City is March before it was decimated, only to find herself here in Phoenix, the nation's COVID hotspot, once July rolled around. At least Shawn has a live-in meat-eating buddy, since I turned vegetarian a couple of decades ago after watching a hot dog making documentary. So, he's been in heaven, trying to impress a new critic, creating daily gourmet stews and pastas and salads and steaks, popping a little grilled tofu for me here and there. 

Things are different in a pandemic with grocery delivery, curbside pickup, low food and toilet paper supplies and mail delays. I'm the family's sacrificial hunter, gatherer and wiper-downer, making sure everything's ordered, counter tops and lids are disinfected, all boxes are retrieved and opened in a sanitary way. I now have to yell at everybody to wash their hands not only before eating, but afterward, as well, just to stay safe. So, even though I can't cook, I am doing my small part. 

Shana sometimes comes over for a socially distanced hang out and while it's heartbreaking that there is so much suffering right now, from a deadly virus, to police brutality to infuriatingly incompetent politicians, I can at least find a little joy watching them in their masks in a steaming kitchen, conjuring up some delishessness together - chopping, caramelizing, marinating beef or handing off blackened chicken thighs, seasoned for an Indian curry this or a Thai rice that. 

The other day we even signed up for a Zoom class with Wolfgang Puck and Shawn made veggie and chicken pot pies with a pastry puff topping and molten chocolate lave cake. Oh my god, is all I can say.

I'm grateful that we are able to work from home, keeping the paychecks and health insurance rolling in. Donating money to good causes and hoping for the best, even if it's sitting down to something tasty every night that I didn't have to make in the middle of a terrifying world. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Quarantine Books

Book of Lost Friends
Book of Longings
The Color of Water
The Thurber Carnival
Deacon King Kong
Avedon: something personal
Giovanni's Room
Anthony Bourdain: the last interview
Fierce, Free and Full of Fire
The 13 Clocks
Summer of 69
Franny and Zooey
The Grammarians
Everything is Figureoutable
The Power of Moments
Love Warrior
Know My Name
The Automatic Millionaire
When my Time Comes Diana Rehm
The Latte Factor
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Ghachar Ghochar
The Orchid Thief
Life Changing Magic of not Giving a Fuck
Maid
Zucked
The Library Book


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Thursday, July 9, 2020