Today I’m getting my hair cut at a new salon. Too far to drive to go to the one where we used to live. Sort of a nail biter event for me. This stylist came highly recommended by a friend, so I’m trusting I won’t return with a Chartreuse mohawk or “Born to Be Bad” shaved on the back of my head. Over my lifetime, I’ve had some really bad hair salon experiences. Once, during the summer between 7th and 8th grade my mother took me to a beauty college to get me a permanent. Why she did this escapes me to this day. If I wash my hair and let it dry naturally, I have lovely curls springing up without any encouragement at all on my part. Thank God permanent proved an adjective limited to the name of the process and did not imply a life changing condition, or you might well be calling me Sister Susie. I looked like a blond Carrot Top on a blustery day without the availability of hair products of any kind. It took me all summer to grow it out, most of it spent hiding in the back of my closet. Hopefully that aspiring stylist went on to find a lucrative job in another field.
At around four years of age, my daughter, Heather, also dabbled in this life pursuit. In an effort to hone her cutting skills, she took it upon herself to redesign not only her bangs but those of her younger brother, Steve. The transformation was accomplished in a ten minute interval while I was preparing lunch. The barber’s tool of choice was a pair of dull children’s plastic scissors used for cutting construction paper or the like, not the number one choice of professionals. On reflection, I’ll award her points for speed, but her cutting skills definitely fell below the bar. On her head, she’d created a line of bangs starting low and ending high on the left side. For the middle, she eliminated all unnecessary hair (really all existing hair), then followed up with a rather jagged picket fence design on the opposite side. Very avant guard. For my son, she went for a more minimalist look, leaving him appearing as though he’d been attacked by a rogue riding lawn mower or a hungry goat. Lovely. Truthfully, when it comes to children, even when asleep one should keep one eye open because the minute you turn your back on them it’s like asking a pick pocket to hold your purse. It’s not going to end well.
As youngsters, my two worked as a team to help me gray before thirty. Only a year apart with polar opposite personalities, when it came to mischief and mayhem they became joined at the hip like Siamese twins. My daughter was the ring leader, with Steve tagging along as hired muscle. Sitting on the floor, blanket in lap and thumb in mouth, his sister would weave the fabric of an intricate scheme. Being a good schemer, Heather was always sure to include a Hail Mary play in the plan in the event of detection. Basically, if caught in the act, look innocent and immediately pin the deed on your accomplice.
Kids keep you on your toes for sure. I’m thankful I had my two when I was young and stupid. I had the energy to keep up with them (for the most part) and had no concept of what I’d gotten myself into until I somehow I lived through their high school years and by then the worst was behind me. I am amazed to look at them now with their own families and find I may have actually taught them something in the middle of the emergency room visits and total chaos revolving around a family with young children under its roof. Looking back you can see the mistakes you made, and if you’ve missed any, someone is sure to come by and be happy to point them out. It is secretly rather fun to see them struggling with the same issues I dealt with with when raising them. Payback is truly, well, is truly entertaining.
Looking back I didn’t really appreciate my mother until I was well into my thirties. Mothers and daughters struggle, I believe, to find balance. Sometimes it is difficult to cut the cord and allow our children to fail and achieve on their own, only offering support when asked. I know if my mother told me to turn right, I would immediately turn the steering wheel towards the left. When I got married at nineteen, she literally fell apart. In retrospect it most probably was not the choice I should have been making. I can see now her dreams for me with regard to school and my future dissolved when I said “I Do” that September morning. At the time, of course, I knew everything and obviously was so sure that my way was the way to go, anything she would have told me at the time would have been thrown out with the dishwater.
As I matured, ripened if you will, I learned to set boundaries with my mother. Once I did this it became easier to form a loving bond with her. Before then if I allowed her foot in the door the rest of her would soon be on the other side. Now, we co-exist in a wonderful place where we respect and admire one another. She is my biggest fan, and I know there will never be another individual with me on my journey who loves me as unconditionally as she does.
I looked at a pregnant woman in the market the other day and felt a pinch of envy. I enjoyed ballooning up like the Hindenburg and craving a three slice grilled cheese sandwich at four a.m. There is nothing quite like the smell of a new baby fresh off the assembly line (most of the smells anyway), and the shared experiences of the first years of childhood with your kids. It is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. It does take you back, however, to hear on the news that these days your financial commitment with one child equals nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Whew. Fortunately when I had mine I had no idea I couldn’t afford them. Smile.
On a lighter note, Miss Boo the Queen of Cats has odd behavior on the best of days. When we moved into the new house, she decided the guest bedroom was to be her hangout. In one corner I put the papa san chair placing three of my favorite teddy bears in the center. Since then, Boo has made this her home, so much so she’s even grooming her new “family”. Who knows, cat lick may be the new mouse, um mousse, because they’re looking pretty spiffy. Don’t try this at home.
These were quite truly the best game hens we’ve ever cooked. I am not as fond of the wee birds as my other half but these I devoured not only one half, but went back after a second.
Juicy Grilled Game Hens with Rosemary Rice
Juicy Grilled Game Hens
2 Cornish game hens, halved (http://www.ehow.com/how_2191636_cut-cornish-game-hen.html)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. dry white wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. hot paprika
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
Clean the game hens and remove anything in the cavities. Pat dry with paper towel. Cut the hens in half (if unfamiliar with the process, refer to the link above). Mix the following ingredients together and place in large resealable plastic bag. Add game hens and squish bag to distribute marinade. Marinade overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Heat grill to medium heat. Spray grill with cooking spray.
Cook hens covered for 1 hour using reserved marinate to baste up until the last 15 mins. of cooking. Discard leftover marinade.
Serves 4 (or 2 good eaters)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 cups Jasmine rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 sprig fresh rosemary
Heat the olive oil and melt the butter in large saucepan over med. heat. Add shallots and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 mins. Add rice. Stir to mix rice with butter and oil. Increase heat to med-high and allow rice to brown, stirring often, for about 5-6 mins.
Add broth slowly. Add bay leaf and 1/2 sprig rosemary. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 18-20 mins. or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 mins. Remove bay leaf and rosemary.