Monday, April 23, 2007

Mother-Talk, a mom's night out literary salon featuring Rachel Johnson



I promised the 20 moms in attendance a night of good food, good friends, a bit of wine and an interesting discussion with a famous British writer, Rachel Johnson. Rachel has reported for the Financial Times and BBC and written for the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and many other publications. We gathered for a Mother-Talk to learn about her book Notting Hell as well as her life as a mother-writer.

It turns out she writes the same way that many of us less accomplished Yanks do. That is, she squeezes in time to write around carpools, errands, and, as she put it, "admin" work. I guess that's encouraging news. If she can write regular columns and her third novel without a proper office and heaps of childcare help, then I can probably manage to churn out more than this blog. But it's also somewhat discouraging. She's got a successful writing career; I thought she’d have a lovely office or room of her own. Nope. She writes at the kitchen table.

This led to a discussion about the roles of husbands and wives and all the "unwritten" jobs that tend to fall into the category of wifely duties. At one point a single mom expressed some relief over her status. But then the discussion balanced out. Yes, our husbands participate fully in family life and we adore them, yada-yada.

The conversation then moved onto topics like conservation, Vanity Fair's May 2007 Green Issue, and mommy wars. It was around this time that I went to get a drink for late arrival and soon-to-be Mother-Talk forums moderator Meagan Francis She drove six hours from another state to be with us, so I forgive her for being late. However, I don't forgive myself for reaching for a plastic wine cup from the adorable pyramid arrangement I'd created and sending the whole display crashing down right in the middle of Rachel's talk.

Okay, so I'm not the hostess with the mostest, but we had good Chicago food (generously sponsored by Alpha Mom), stimulating conversations and a wonderful evening.

I enjoyed meeting some new faces from the momosphere inlcuding Amy from Windy City Mamma, Danielle from Foodmomiac, Kathy from Barking at Kathy, Jessica and her cool shoes from Sassafrass and Strollerderby, as well as seeing the old, uh, make that familiar face of Rhonda Present of ParentsWork.

Meagan deserves another special mention, not only for surviving her long drive to Chicago with four little boys in tow, but because she’s moving here this summer! She's also the newest member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Bathing Suit.

Next up for me on the Mother-Talk agenda: a blog review of the Dangerous Book for Boys. Look for it in a few weeks.

Hello radio fans!


I had a blast appearing on the Walking on Air with Betsy and Sal. We talked about moms Navigating the On-ramp, that is, transitioning from at-home to at-work for nearly 15 minutes. You can listen or download for free with itunes here: http://www.walkingonair.org/listeningbooth.htm (I appear about 30 minutes into the show.)

Having peeked at my blog prior to my appearance, they complimented me on my casual but not too dressy outfit (as they sat there in their jeans and zippered sweatshirts). Next time I'm fortunate enough to be their guest, I just might show up in pajamas!

Also, Betsy and Sal showered me with swag. Swag! Travel bottles of hand cream and foot cream, and a brand-new Land's End pink paisley tankini!

Alas, the foot cream caused a bad reaction on DH's toes. He was so excited to get a foot rub and the end result was sad and painful. Poor guy; life can be cruel. Do you think he'll stop asking me to rub his feet?

And the tankini? Well, it fit, but, oh, words fail me. I'm going to pass it on to some other lucky gal. It's be like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, only for middle-aged moms. And instead inspiring love and confidence, it will remind us never, ever to get pregnant again.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No, Kim. It's just you.

I'm scheduled to appear on a local women's talk radio show tomorrow to discuss re-entering the workforce after taking time off to care for children.

Would anybody else obsess over what to wear for a radio appearance, or is it just me?

(Note in my self-defense: I should look nice for the hosts and producers, shouldn't I?!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Home movies

To celebrate the opening of birthday season, in which there is a minimum of one family member's birthday per month for the next several months, we've been watching some old videos from when the boys were innocent little babes and tots.

It's funny hear my excited exclamations and praise as baby Smartypants (back then, just Poopypants) knocks over his stacking cups. When their abilities are so limited, little things mean a lot.

I didn't realize that Splinter was talking in almost full sentences and telling knock-knock jokes (albeit really bad ones) well before he was two. Of course, I didn't realize this because I spent most of my time running after little Smartypants. I don't think there's one shot of him just sitting and talking. He was always on the go: running, jumping, spinning, bouncing. No wonder those early years were so exhausting!

For a look at our first cake of the season, a Passover-friendly melt-in-your-mouth confection of sweet meringue, tart strawberries and freshly whipped cream, check out my Scrambled CAKE blog at ChicagoParent.com.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Matzah Mania!

We've eaten the bread, crunched the crackers, and packed away the pasta in preparation for Passover, which starts Monday evening. Guess which of the following foods will be on the menu for the week?

A. Matzah Kugel
B. Matzah Schmattas
C. Matzah Lasagna
D. Matzah Brie
E. Matzah Bris
F. Matzah Balls
G. Matzah Ice Cream Cones
H. Matzah Nachos
I. Ice Cream A La Matzah
J. Matzah Toffee
K. Matzah A La Matzah
L. Matzah Lasagna





Answers: This Passover we will be eating A, C, D, F, J and L.
To our knowledge, products B, E, G, I, and K do not exist.
We may experiment with H.
If you got them all correct: Hooray, this yiddeshe mama is kvelling over you! If your got more than two wrong, stop watching Borat and make some Jewish friends, already!