Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bracelets: One of My Favorite Things

I was an English Major at a liberal arts college (Austin College, Sherman, TX:, so the power of words is extremely intriguing to me. I actually have words & saying painted throughout my house...over doors, on walls, in mantel frames. The words add such warmth and meaning to my home. People who visit us, know how a I feel about family, friends, life.

One of my most favorite accessories (next to my wedding ring) is bracelets. If I am well, awake, & not working out, I usually am wearing at least one, but probably a stack of 3-5 on my right arm and a couple on my left. Imagine my delight when I discovered there were bracelet with WORDS on them! Ahhhhh!

When I first learned of Jessica Kagan Cushman bracelets, I just had to have one. Having learned scrimshaw from her father, who took up the craft in the 1960's in Nantucket, Jessica has taken the artform to a new level - creating scrimshawed antique ivory bracelets that lie somewhere between a tattoo and a bumper sticker. Jessica takes quotes and phrases, from movies, literature and in some cases, New York graffiti and transcribes them via scrimshaw onto fossilized wooly mammoth ivory bracelets - combing a venerable traditional craft with wry, modern wit. For those of us opposed to ivory or who simply can't afford it (me), Jessica designed reproductive resin ones that retail for around $130.

There was a little boutique in town that was going out of business. When I went on one of its last days, it had a few bracelets left at half price. I bought one for myself that said: "Vodka Martini: Shaken Not Stirred." I figured I could wear it on date night and just show the bartender what I wanted without speaking. I also purchased a little witty one that states the most important question: "Does This Bracelet Make Me Look Fat?"

Since then, I've purchased three more. One is in celebration of the Southern Girl in me; it says: Kiss My Grits (HAD to have it). The other two pay homage to one of my most favorite movies & books (again, the southern girl in me): Gone with the Wind. I have one that quotes Rhett Butler: "Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn" and another that quotes Miss Scarlet's final line: "After all...tomorrow is another day."

I might wear them together or stack them with other gold, black and ivory colored bracelets...sometimes even a touch of red. I love, love, love them!

Purchase yours at: Right now, until the end of January, they are having a buy two, get one free deal. I hear tell that there are some a TJ Maxx Jewelry Department as well. There are other retailers on line you can find by GOOGLING. Some are having sales right now. Apparentaly Jessica only makes a certain number of bracelets, so once they are gone, they are gone! You can find a quote to fit just about any one and it will be the perfect, stylish gift.

Occupation: Mother

The following is a speech I made at my son Dakota's christening in 1999. It was Labor Day Weekend and the pastor asked several people to talk about their professions. Among the executive, the fireman, the accountant, there I was with leaking breasts and spit up on my shoulder. Though I am terrified to speak in public, I was proud to do it on such a special day for our family. Through streaming tears and shaking hands, this is what I said:

When I filled out my son Dakota’s information sheet at his first pediatrician’s visit, beside the words “Mother’s Occupation” I carefully printed “M-o-t-h-e-r” without a moment’s thought. The Doctor, upon reviewing our records, commented that “at-home-moms” usually write N/A or the word “none” in that space and that I was the first to write “Mother.”

What more of a nobler and prestigious profession is there other than Mother? Without Mothers, none of you would be here. There would be no Abraham Lincoln, no Mother Theresa, no Frank Sinatra, and no Pastor Linda. Every world or religious leader has a mother. Every policeman, actor, teacher, CEO, nurse has a mother.

Each day I look at my son’s hands and think of how much potential they possess. I watch him learning how they work, how he can hold things and manipulate toys. Each day I tell him that he will do great things with those hands—wonderful, beautiful things. He can bring peace with those hands, write the next best novel of his time, hold his baby with those hands—and if my husband has anything to do with it, be the next Tiger Woods.

In Gensis 1:26, God says, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” A perfect job for a little boy don’t you think? Like God in many ways “Dakota, has the whole world in his hands”—the power to create and destroy, the power to love and nurture. And I, his mother, with the hand and grace of God, am there to help guide and direct those little fingers to greatness.

So for me, my boardroom is the nursery, my bargaining table is the changing table. I negotiate nap times, schedule feedings, and stock up on diapers. I’m honored to have the profession of Mother.

Move Over Cesar

One of my most favorite salads is a Cesar Salad. I prefer mine a bit on the garlicky side with a hint of lemon and no whole anchovy in sight. Those hairy creatures make me want to hide under my table and cry. Of course, this is a luxury salad I order only in certain restaurants during certain celebratory meals.
Tonight, however, I discovered a DELICIOUS alternative: Grilled Romain Salad. YUM! I simply sliced a Romaine Heart in half and rubbed it down with a bit of olive oil. I sprinkled on some salt and pepper. Then I heated my grill pan (one of my favorite kitchen tools!) up to a nice medium heat. I grilled each side until the romaine had nice char marks and a slight wilted feel.
I topped the dish off with a homemade Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette. This is made by combining 6 TBL Olive Oil, the juice of half a lemon, 2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar, 1/4 tsp oregano, 2 TBL water, fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste. I prefer to make my vinaigrette in a lidded container so I can shake it up before serving.
The dish was so satisfying. The grilling took away some of the tartness of the romaine and replaced it with a wonderful, smokey, caramelized flavor. The lemon and garlic were the perfect compliments and made an incredible side dish to our cast-iron grilled steak and roasted parsnips with whole roasted garlic.


Audi-isms are things that only Audrey says and only the people who love and know her understand. For a silly list of real sayings, read on:

“Soccer no fitta’ me!”

“I wanna paint my facing.”

“I forgot my mind.”

“I drinky. I want chaw-kit milk, pweeeze!”

“Skatch me.”

“Where my pack-pack?”

“You bwessed youd, so bwess you, Mom.”

“Dat’s spar-kitty! I wike spar-kitty.”

“I need sun scream for my body.”

“I wuv wosted smushmellows!”

“Wed Sox won de World Serious!”

“He stuck my tongue at me!”

“Dakota goes back horse ridin’.”

“Do I have to go to da hasstibal?”

“I frushsurated!!”

“I can’t go to Kinnergawden. I don’t know how to weed!”

“We had a pepper alley at school today.”

“I eat Frosted Lakes with milk.”

“Change the lightball. I no wike da dawk.”

Big Girl Haircut

Yesterday, I took my son, Dakota, to get a haircut. He is 9 1/2 (don't forget the 1/2) and recently decided that he needed a "real" haircut. Not one of those quickie hack jobs at a kids' place painted with primary colors and loud Kids' Bop tunes. My girlfriend, Meg, suggested I take him to Les Mages in our little downtown area where she takes her little girls and herself for haircuts.

Audrey's (she is 6 1/2) eyes glistened at the 2 well placed, large crystal chandeliers. You know, all girls love anything shiny and "spar-ki-ty" as Audrey says. As Dakota was being transformed from his Zac Ephron-esque mop head to a Chace Crawford chopped top, Audrey insisted that she, too, get a cut. "OK," I said, "Just a trim though," remembering her desire to have short bangs like all the girls in her class. She's always had a shag of random waves and occasional curls. They blow in the wind and become a veritable bird's nest. We brush them out several times a day. I just couldn't do the bang thing. I love the glory of her face and the gleaming smoothness of that young forehead. It makes you want to just kiss it every time you see her!

I watched as she got her hair scrubbed and combed. I tried to eaves drop on her discussion with the stylist whom I had warned about our "no bangs" rule. Of course, mainly I was struggling with trying to force Dakota to keep the sound turned off on his Nintendo DS. After all, he was the one who wanted to frequent a "real haircut place," and I can assure you, the lady getting her roots touched up had no interest in listing to Mario Party 8. Or was it Kirby Superstar?

Before I knew it, Audrey was getting her first blow out--in a salon with a French name and TWO chandeliers no less! The smile on her face was beyond priceless. She had reached the pinnacle of beauty treatments for 6 year old girls. She announced that she was "now a wheel big grr." (She has speech problems and can't say"real" & "girl" very well, but that is for another blog.) I blinked once, twice, three, maybe four times. I caught my breath & hugged her tightly. It was as if Father Time decided to run a marathon. I could see her little body, her grubby chocolate hands, & her mud stained pants, but her face and hair looked so much older, refined, & smooth!

She's been bit by the blow out bug big time! I woke up this morning to the sound of my hairdryer in by bathroom blowing a hurricane. Without looking, I knew what was happening. She had my big round brush and was doing the best she could to smooth out the damages of bed head. It was then I knew: I've lost my little, scraggly head girl forever. It is one of those bittersweet moments. You want them to grow but just not too much!

She told me she wasn't going back to our regular kids place again and she couldn't wait for her friends at school to she her big girl style. "They gowna be so surprised, Mom. My hair is so pwetty! I wheelly a big grr now." Sniff! Sniff!