Jane Austen

Yay!

I’m going to see a play.

A real theatrical production called “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.”

Can you tell I’m excited?

It’s the “sequel” to “Pride and Prejudice” and is set in Victorian England.

Guess who I’m going with. . .

No, not Barbara or Michelle.

Or Tejas.

I’m going with my mom.

That’s right!

Because we both are Jane Austen fans and there’s nobody I want to see it more with than her.

Of course, knowing me as well as she does, my mom just had to ask –

“ARE YOU DRESSING UP?”

Ha!

She knows me TOO well.

Of course I would love to (and I scoped out Natasha’s Attic for costume ideas), but walking around downtown San Jose at night in Victorian clothing is not something I’m eager to experience.

So we’ll skip the costume.

But I will wear a nice dress!

Of course, no trip to downtown would be complete without a visit to Café Stritch and their live jazz music.

Woo hoo!

I’m seeing Jane Austen reimagined with my mom!

What could be better?

Dysfunction

My boys complain year round about how weird our family is.

  • A blind grandfather who is cranky pretty much 24-7.
  • A grandmother hooked on caregiving and babies.
  • A single mom struggling to figure out life and balance her social life with her family life.

From my sons’ vantage points, we look like cartoon people, with magnified faults and very little to admire.

I try to explain to my boys that EVERY FAMILY is DYSFUNCTIONAL in it’s own way.

They live our family day in and day out so they get to know all our flaws.

Of course their friends’ families seem stable and functional. Those are families they only VISIT from time to time so they never see the weird inner working of those families.

Eventually, as you grow up and out of teenage angst, I think you come to VALUE your weird family members in all their DYSFUCTIONAL glory because you start to see the good qualities they possess as well.

For instance, my dad may be a cranky blind man but he is the most generous man when it comes to his friends and family. He’s always up to buy you dinner or share a glass of wine with you. Nothing makes him happier than hearing his grandson’s’ laughter.

And my mom, though she may have an unusual obsession with taking care of little ones also is the FIRST ONE who will get in line to help you with a GRUELING TASK – like cleaning up after a party or straightening up your house.

And me? We’ll I might do odd things like go to Burning Man and wear costumes, but I will always go the extra mile for my friends and family, when they need a little help.

The trick is, and I think my sons miss this ENTIRELY, that you have to focus on all the positive things about your family when there are negative things you can focus on as well.

No one is perfect.

But if I had to be born and do it all over again, I’d choose the exact same people to go through life with as I had this go round.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor

photo-5While my sister was visiting, we had the brilliant idea of making margaritas at home.  I decided if we were having margaritas, we also needed to do shots and so I insisted we pick up a bottle of Patron to do shots with.

Now the thing you need to know about my sister and I growing up, is that she was the naughty one but I always got in trouble.  Somehow she always managed to skate free.  I claim that this is because I used to cover for her.  She claims she didn’t get in trouble because she was not naughty.  LIAR!

In any case, Lisa and I were about one deep in margaritas and two deep into shots when my sister asked me for another shot.

Sure thing.  Coming right up.

As I’m pouring it, my mom comes into the kitchen, looks at me and the tequila, and says, “Really Michelle?  Another one?” and walks out.

I’m left standing there feeling reprimanded and indignant.

I follow her.

“Just so you know, it’s for Lisa,” I tell her.

Yes, I was a tattletale.

But I felt a whole lot better and my inner child rejoiced for not being labeled the naughty one.

Just the enabler.

Ha ha!

[What I did after 2 shots of tequila and 2 margaritas is a different post]

Happy Mother’s Day!

familyFor me, Mother’s Day has always represented the importance of women in my life.

For 22 years of my life, I celebrated it with two women – my mom Alice and my grandma.

Then, when I was 22, I met my birthfamily and suddenly, I was celebrating Mother’s Day with my birthmother, Grammy (my great-grandmother), and my stepmom.

There were times when I also celebrated Mother’s Day with my Aunt Xondra and my sister Lisa.

And when my sons were born, suddenly there were Mother’s Day and GRANDMOTHER’S DAY cards and presents to buy.

I used to laugh at the checkout stand, holding a handful of Mother’s Day cards, wondering if the cashier thought I was nuts to be buying upwards of a dozen Mother’s Day cards.

Of course, Grammy has since passed away. And my 90 year old grandmother is now living in an assisted care home. I don’t see my birthmother as much as I should. And I probably take my own mother for granted most of the time.

The other day, my friend Barbara posted on Facebook how she got misty talking about Mother’s Day to the three year old she nannies.

You see Barbara’s own mother passed away a few years ago.

And then I realized HOW INCREDIBLE LUCKY I AM TO HAVE SO MANY WONDERFUL WOMEN FIGURES IN MY LIFE.

  • My mom
  • My grandma
  • My birthmom
  • My sister
  • Barbara
  • Michelle
  • My cousin
  • My aunt
  • My sister-in-law

I may have gone a little overboard buying flowers and gifts for people.

I bought the rights to the family photos I took 2 weeks ago with my boys so best of all, I have my own family photos to share.

There’s a word for what I am. . .

BLESSED!

Kangaroo, and alligator and elk, oh my!

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 9.33.34 AMMy mom’s birthday is a week after Christmas so I typically get her one big present to celebrate both days.

This year I bought a Groupon to La Fondue restaurant for Le Freak menu tasting and a bottle of champagne.

Yesterday we had dinner there.

Le Freak is aptly named, because there is SO MUCH FOOD, only a freak could eat it all.

I have to admit, I was excited about all the exotic meats that I could try – everything from Australian kangaroo to Louisiana alligator.

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The kangaroo was just awful. Really chewy and not very tasty at all. I ate two pieces just to be sure I hated it.

And I hated it.

The alligator was much better, although still nothing to write home about. It was nicely marinated which I think helped add to the flavor of it.

We also had Texas boar, Texas venison, Wyoming buffalo (awful), and Canadian Elk.

Out of all of them, the Texas venison was the best. It was delicate and fell apart in my mouth.

The best part of the meal was getting my mom to relax and enjoy a 2 hour dinner with several glasses of champagne. The woman works really hard taking care of her 4 grandsons so it’s nice to see her take time for herself.

The worst part of the meal was the table of 8 shrieking women sitting next to us who made it hard to hear anything we were saying.  Although I must admit, I found it challenging to cook raw meat on a grill in dim light, unable to se good enough to tell when the meat is cooked.  I think I ate raw lobster tail.

All in all, a lovely time though I must say,

NOTHING TASTED LIKE CHICKEN!

And… I didn’t chug the chocolate fondue on a dare this time.

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It’s a Jolly Holiday!

The “other” BIG NEWS for the holiday break is that I got to spend a lot of time with my boys.

Now that they are teenagers, they prefer the company of their friends to the company of their mother. So it was nice to catch up with them while driving them to and from their activities.

I felt like a taxi cab. No sooner had I dropped one son off then the other needed to be picked up and dropped off somewhere else.

But they were (mostly) sweet to me. They gave me hugs and kisses and were generally good teenagers.

I still recall them arriving at my house on Christmas Day after spending Christmas Eve with their father. They were wearing matching jackets that he had bought them and they were obviously so pleased with their gifts.

IMG_8569We had a blast opening presents with the family, especially since my sister from Reno was visiting. That made it extra special.

You could say that I had a very blessed holiday, but that would be an understatement.

I can’t shake this warm and fuzzy feeling and my only regret is that I can’t live the holiday over again and savor every moment a second time.

Happy Michelle!

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Tequila, tequila, tequila

photo-5While my sister was visiting, we had the brilliant idea of making margaritas at home.  I decided if we were having margaritas, we also needed to do shots and so I insisted we pick up a bottle of Patron to do shots with.

Now the thing you need to know about my sister and I growing up, is that she was the naughty one but I always got in trouble.  Somehow she always managed to skate free.  I claim that this is because I used to cover for her.  She claims she didn’t get in trouble because she was not naughty.  LIAR!

In any case, Lisa and I were about one deep in margaritas and two deep into shots when my sister asked me for another shot.

Sure thing.  Coming right up.

As I’m pouring it, my mom comes into the kitchen, looks at me and the tequila, and says, “Really Michelle?  Another one?” and walks out.

I’m left standing there feeling reprimanded and indignant.

I follow her.

“Just so you know, it’s for Lisa,” I tell her.

Yes, I was a tattletale.

But I felt a whole lot better and my inner child rejoiced for not being labeled the naughty one.

Just the enabler.

Ha ha!

[What I did after 2 shots of tequila and 2 margaritas is a different post]