shut down day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

it's friday.
friday for me is 'shut-down-day,'
where I SWEAR my mind slams shut like a lap-top at the end of a long week,
and stays shut until monday.
or kind of like I imagine coming home from a weekend in vegas would feel like.
where my mind hands over a credit card at the front desk to check out,
my head hanging and wincing at all that I did, all that I shouldn't have done,
all that I WISH I'd done.
only my vegas is 3 crazy children, a neurotic self and a bad head cold that doesn't allow me to eat, breathe or sleep properly.
(thanks, kids.)
it's friday.
the day where I seem to always sleep through my alarm and the kids wake up early.
the day where, BECAUSE I didn't get up when I should've,
I don't workout.
BECAUSE it's friday,
instead I pull the kids into bed with me to watch cartoons until the very last possible second,
where I frantically remember it's not the weekend YET, and we need to get ready for school.
DOH!
the day I don't make dinner,
don't pick up toys, 
don't fold anymore laundry, but let it sit atop the dining room table until. . .
well, whenever I get to it.
where I light candles in this dreary, winter weather,
shop online (just look, don't buy, honey,)
but SOMETIMES, weird things happen on friday.
because as my brain begins it's descent to pure laziness for the weekend,
it starts to channel that energy into craziness, as neural pathways are wondering what the hell is going on this morning and are anxiously trying to find a hot signal.
some familiarity in the madness.
someday they'll learn this is friday mode and the end to their path has been fried and is now under repair for the next two days.
but it has kind of become a 'i'm-going-to-do-what-I-want-to-do,' day.
selfishly.
or at the very least, 'what-fun-thing-can-I-do-with-my-kids-today' day.
or spend the day just taking pictures of my little tuna (charlie.)
who's growing by the second.
OR get a wild hair and wake up saying,
'I SHALL BAKE!' and beat my chest with great vigor.
keep in mind, it's not the weekend yet.
it's 7:30am and the kids need to be in the car by 8:45.
and there are still diapers to change, lunches to make, laundry to switch,
but it's friday!  and I WANT TO BAKE MUFFINS, DAMNIT!
so as I dish the kids out their usual,
which probably makes you ask, 'why the hell are you baking muffins then?'
for me.  it's all about me.  and I want muffins.
and I struggle to find a happy medium of the women I'm inspired by, 
(which oddly manifests itself in friday madness,)
between two of my favorite bloggers,
one who shines happiness and positivity and unicorns,
and helps me center my mornings around self-growth, enlightenment and all that is good and pure,
and these moms,
who are BRUTALLY honest, think and talk like twelve-year-old boys,
swear, judge, make fun of, are HILARIOUS. . .
I'm a little of both.
I want to be both.
so here I am.  doing the very thing I despise in some bloggers, 
but am also in awe of.
baking pretty things, taking pictures of it 
and then blogging about it.
on a school day.
kind of in a way, to say,
'hey!  look what I did, bi**ches!'  how ya' like that!'
(nevermind, my kids are screaming at me, no one is dressed yet, 
AND most importantly, no one will eat my muffins, because they're not white and chewy and fluffy and filled with all the loving inflammation and cancer causing ingredients we've come to rely on!
too bad, I'm still making them and I'm making them my way.
we're on a time crunch here people, and it's friday and I want to bake.
and this thought alone brings me back to the days when I FEARED cooking,
like some people fear birds, or flying or confined spaces.
how men fear impotency,
(did I just say that?  yes, I did.)
that's how deep-seated my fear was.
I had watched my mother-in-law cook, bake, host dinners and holidays all with the grace and ease of a race car driver handling a wide turn, making it look so easy and flawless, despite the high speeds and the tension around her.
while brian and I were dating. . .
I was in awe.  I still am.
as the years passed and the path of our dating would inevitably lead to lifelong commitment and disappointment (kidding,)
I felt the weight and pressure (all self-induced, of course,) 
of the footsteps I'd have to follow in (mother-in-laws,) start to sit heavy on my shoulders.
I went into panic mode.
having nightmares about cooking and entertaining for brian's entire family.
people biting into crispy lasagna noodles, raw steak or soupy creme brulees.
my mother-in-law kindly responding between bites. . .
'liz!  this. . .is. . .just. . .delicious (vomit.)  'what's. . .in. . .this? (dirty feet?)  as she spit chunks of whatever into her napkin when I wasn't looking.
and she WOULD do that, because she's an amazing, saintly woman who I've put on a pedestal and who would make you feel like you were God's gift to food even if she didn't really feel that way.  I adore her.
but she has left me and with huge shoes to fill, to give to her son all that she did.
BUT, over the years I've heard her say a million times,
'If you can read, you can cook!'
just like the chubby chef from my favorite kids' movie, ratatouille.
'ANYONE CAN COOK!'
(watch it with your kids. . .adorable.)
so I did.  I took to reading and started baking.
and much like my fellow bloggers, who ALSO seem to cook and bake and float around the kitchen with ease and take pretty pictures of it,
I will too. . .but only because it's friday.
pretty, huh?
3 words.
cranberry.  orange.  martha.
I love me some martha.
there's a reason her husband left and she went to jail.
you can't make mindblowing wreaths out of cloves, fresh basil and pomegranates and prepare perfectly puffed cinnamon-stuffed pop-overs everyday
and not experience some sort of consequence.
but for friday at my house, I feel her.
and I love her.
because she doesn't know what 'brownie mix' is 
or anything that comes from a box.
oh yeah, I do it like martha, when I do it.
now that I have the experience and confidence to skate around my cozy kitchen like johnny weir,
(I don't wear aprons.  I wear black lycra with bedazzled bodices and silver eye make-up when I cook.)
after years of watching my mother-in-law,
watch out.
by the way, I'm not trying to impress you.
are you impressed?:)
I'm trying to impress myself, really.
Since those early days of fear-driven-but-wanting-to-measure-up-cooking,
I never THOUGHT to use a box.
not because it was beneath me,
but because I didn't know any better.
I was so naieve.
I didn't KNOW most things come in a box or are 'pre-made!'
That cooking, as it is with sandra lee, CAN be semi-homemade.
I had no idea.
(and is that really what you wear when you sip coffee?)
there's a goofball for ya'.  her kitchen decor always matches what she's making or wearing in that episode.
is this a woman, one step away from a nervous breakdown?
from mowing down a kentucky-fried chicken during lunch hour?
i think so!
but i love her.
and then there's my girl, Ina.
who's more my speed.
cooking with real butter, kosher salt, fresh fish. . .
who jack, when he was four, 
used to snuggle on the couch with me, 
on quiet afternoons after long naps,
and watch lovingly on the food network,
mesmerized and rubbing his lovey on his face like he was seeing porn for the first time.
listening to her speak in her inviting and soothing baritone as she spreads homemade whip cream over made-from-scratch pumpkin banana mousse tarts and key lime pies.
'mom, she looks cozy,' he said once.
and I laughed to my hearts content, because she DOES!
all wrapped up in her neatly pressed, thick, denim button-downs
sweating near cozy fireplaces because she likes to eat her cooking too, hot toddies, deck shoes and nantucket.
and oh my gosh, now that i'm saying this out loud, 
she reminds me of one of our dear friends,
a male version of ina, minus the denim.
who you just want to squeeze and nuzzle like your favorite stuffed bear 
until chocolate comes out of him.
or red wine.
or whatever other goodness he's filled with.:)
but I did (and do,) everything from scratch.
I bought my first box of ghirardelli brownie mix two weeks ago,
and oh, they were heavenly.
but not my style.
if you don't know me, you don't know I do things the hard way.
most of the time.
partly because I'm stubborn, partly because I'm a jackass and don't know any different.
so just do things the way I've always done them, 
even if they don't make sense, are RIDICULOUSLY inefficient and stupid.:)
welcome to my head.
but I'll make no bones about it.
I can take some pretty pictures and make it sound lovely.
but i don't REALLY do it pretty like martha.
I haven't mastered the art of 'cleaning WHILE you cook.'
this is nothing.
the kitchen is usually a tornado of flour and sugar and egg whites when I'm done with it.
but I think that's why I enjoy it.
It's like therapy.  baking.
where I can make a mess of myself, not worry about who's in my path and just let it all go,
all to rejuvenate myself through perfection.
or through some pretty fu**in' good muffins.
(so they're not that pretty.)
but taste like unicorns and rainbows.
only, this guy won't eat 'em.
  
a guy who's been known to eat legos and box elder bugs.
nice.  what does that tell you about my muffins?
pay no mind.  trust me.  they're mind blowing.
and it's all about me anyway, because it's friday.
happy friday!

{p.s.  this recipe calls for SIXTY small muffins.  I make SIX big fatties from it.  delish.}









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