Friday, January 08, 2010

I know I know ...

This is a mommy blog after all, and I'm talking about alcohol. Gasp! And authors who have lives and books and blogs that would make some people blush.
Sorry. I have had a few e-mails asking if I'm okay (yes). And thanks for asking.
But, lately I've really felt like saying, you know, sometimes motherhood isn't only about educational toys, changing diapers and impending toilet training.
It's also about the fact that Mommy bloggers are people, and don't only, you know, do mommy things. And, no, I'm not discussing the WAHM/SAHM debate. Because I think that no matter what choice you make about working in the home or outside of it has little to do with whether or not you have a life outside of the home.
And honestly, I've been thinking a lot about that. About all the definitions. About what makes us who we are, as people, as parents, as not-parents, as spouses, etc etc.
And there's a lot on my mind.
We won't even discuss that in addition to the stress I put on myself, there's all the additional stress of an impending Disney trip (next week!) where I am not sure if I'm packing flip flops or ear muffs.
And, that's where all this Julie Powell stuff comes in.
Remember Rebecca Eckler? Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Rebecca still. LOVE her. That won't change. But, do you want to know when I discovered her writing? It was when I was dealing with Post Partum Depression, and a million issues about going back to work and whether that made me a bad mom (resounding no to that one). And then I read her book, and despite any negativity that the critics had she made me realize something - if you are comfortable with your own choices, screw everyone else. Seriously.
And, in a much grander way, that may even make Rebecca blush, JP says the same thing. Be yourself. Accept life. Live it and accept. And it works out in the end, even if it gets really really messy in the middle.

You know that  line that Cyndi Lauper sings in True Colours:

It's hard to be courageous.
oh I realize
it's hard to take courage
in a world full of people
you can lose sight of it all
and the darkness inside you
can make you feel so small

That's what this is all about. And sometimes you just go through life figuring it out day-by-day.
So, take courage. Be brave. Embrace the messy parts and be grateful for the easy parts. Read Julie. Follow my quest to meet her (you know it will be, if nothing else, interesting.) And Live.

That is all.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

As a Julie Powell fan - do I attempt Boeuf Bouginon or the Gimlet?

So I posted yesterday my love for Julie Powell. Brace yourselves because I have a feeling you will hear a lot about her in the next little while. Classic me. I can't let stuff go.
And, I've been reading her Julie/Julia Project blog.
And maybe also obsessively reading her other blog - What Could Happen.
And I've noticed something alarming in the comments. Every. Single. Julie Powell fan seems to be inspired by her to cook Boeuf Bouginon.  It's a pretty big part of the movie (and book).It looks delicious. But still.
I debated that idea for like a minute. Sent a quick e-mail to my husband with the idea to try this recipe. And then remembered one small thing. I'm not really all that interested in cooking. I'm so much more of the Rachael Ray school of cooking (30 minute meals with no measuring) than I am the Julia Child School of Cooking. Honestly.
So I did the next best thing.
I decided to try the drink that Julie always talks about - the gimlet.
So, in the interest of full disclosure here, every time that she mentioned a gimlet I thought it was a little like saying a  mickey, you know - not a specific drink per say but a size of drink or a fancy name. Like I'd say "I'm going for cocktails".So I assumed saying "I had a gimlet" was akin to "I had a drink." Nope. Wrong.
I looked it up.
A gimlet is actually a very specific drink. Much like saying I'm drinking a martini.
And, at this point I have to say that technically, yes, this is still a mommy blog. And, no, I don't really drink around my kids except to have a glass of wine or champagne or something.
As it turns out, I may go for drinks a little too often becuase there is a pub, appropriately named "The Pub" where when I walk in they actually know exactly what I'm going to order for a drink, and bring it over to me fairly quickly. Which is a good thing. (Vodka gingerale since you asked). So last night when I bumped into a friend and we decided to go for a quick drink (which was not actually quick, and was not just one friend ... but whatever), I mentioned that I'm trying something new - the gimlet. Which I was pronouncing "Jimlet" which is incorrect.
So, I asked the bartender, a lovely old man who has seen pretty much everything, and he told me how to say it, and then reluctantly made it for me while explaining it's an old-fashioned drink. And, was that gimlet ever pretty. It was also yummy. Though it could have been improved upon, I think, with real lime juice. Minor detail.
It was pretty good though. A little too good. And I probably should have found out the alcohol content of the beverage before ordering a second (and maybe a third) while having a long-drawn out conversation with friends about life. And Julie. And gimlets. Meanwhile I was texting my husband explaining why I was missing trains due to gimlets. And rather than taking any of the blame I placed sole responsiblity on the author of a book and blog who talks a little too much about a certain drink.
And, this is where I mention that my husband has a good sense of humour because he found the whole thing somewhat hilarious - and may have been thinking that I better drink lots of gimlets now becase I most certainly cannot go on my NY road trip and sit in bars drinking gimlets alone while on my author-finding quest.

And here's the recipe

Impress you friends with this Martini alternative
2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Lime Juice

Combine in a shaker with ice.
Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Serve with a lime squeeze.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Pilgrimage of Sorts

Like many people I saw the movie Julie and Julia.
For anyone who blogs, the story is pretty amazing. A woman, Julie Powell, decides to embark on a plan to cook her way through on of Julia Childs' cookbooks in a year, and blogs her experience. Her blog documents both her cooking and her life, and the blog eventually takes on a life of its own, and Julie ends up not only with a book deal, but also with a movie about her life (and Julia Child's life).
Inspiring, no?
To me, it was. Let's be honest, this blog isn't one of the big blogs, nor have I ever aspired to make it that way. It's just my space to write and talk about what's on my mind. And I'm fine with that. But what inspires me about Julie's story is the life changing aspect, and the belief that if you are motivated and want to change your life you can - if you figure out what you want to do and do it.
But to me, it was more than that. As weird as this sounds, I could totally relate to Julie Powell (the author, more than the movie character)

A couple of months ago I was getting my nails done and I picked up a magazine at the nail salon. I happened upon a a story written by her. It was actually an excerpt from her new book Cleaving.
I could not put the magazine down, and pretty much ran to the bookstore to pick up the book.
Admittedly she's come under a LOT of criticism for her book. Where Julie and Julia was a story, particularly in the movie, that was lighthearted and fun and inspiring, Cleaving is far far different.
The book claims to be about meat, marriage and obsession. And it really is. The book documents her life becoming a butcher, and somehow manages to tie in the affair she had and her obsessive nature about pretty much everything. And, the book is GRAPHIC, people. Graphic. It's not a book I'm going to pass on to my mom or many of my friends who I usually share books with.
But ... Cleaving, more than Julie and Julia, and more than pretty much any book I've read in ages, made me understand a lot about life. I don't mean to sound like a downer here, but the truth of life is that there isn't always a perfect ending to stuff. We all have dreams and goals and hopes and have an idea about how life is supposed to work out. And, sometimes, even when we get what we want, life isn't perfect.
Maybe it's just me, but sometimes I feel that even when I get what I want, when I work for something and don't attain it, I still want more. I need more direction, I have higher hopes. When Julie talks about marriage (we can skip the affair part for sake of my argument) she makes some pretty good points. Marriage isn't always the perfect little bubble you expect it to be when you recite your vows. It's work, and it's hard and somedays you cling to the fact that you love each other, even when the liking part isn't exactly happening. Hey, she calls her husband a saint, and I can say the same about Mike. He puts up with a lot from me because he loves me. And, we work things out and know that when things are tough (like you know, having a 5 1/2 year old with ADHD who needs new medication and a toddler who won't sleep and has decided to potty train herself) sometimes you just love each other and agree to brush the stupid stuff under the carpet and, you know, go to Disney World.
The point is, I have fully and completely embraced Julie's message. I kind of love her. Critics be damned.
So, I could just simply say that, move on, and whatever.
But, hello. This is me. And I don't do that. I don't just say wow, good book, moving on. Nope. I always feel the need to take some action.
And here's my plan.
Feel free to weigh-in on the craziness of it.
I have decided I'm going to go meet her. For real. The problem is this. She lives in New York, and her book signings are in places that are nowhere near where I am (Toronto). Also, book signings are one thing. But, I feel that traveling to New York to stand in line for hours (I would assume - she has fans, you know) to say hi for 30 seconds ... Really?
So, I have planned a road trip - Laural style.
I'm going to go to New York. And, I'm going to take my own little Julie and Julia/Cleaving pilgrimage. Seriously. I figure I'll take the bus down, and rent a car or something, maybe get a transit pass (though I have driven in NY) and go to all the places she mentions in her book. Well, not everything. But the important things like the butcher shop and you know, other key locations. Just because.
And while I'm at it I'm pretty determined to meet her. Not in a stalker way though. Just in a super-fan kind of way. I'm not quite sure to hook that one up, but where's there's a will there is a way. Right?
Maybe a little. But, I also figure that she was a huge Julia Child fan, and probably wouldn't think it's that weird. Also, she totally was driven to do what she did - embark on butchery, write books, go on trips, etc etc. I think she'd get it. I really do.
Also. This is just classic me. When am I at my best? When I have something to look forward to. A goal, even if it seems impossible, that I can put my mind to and accomplish. Part of me is scared that this is dumb, or ultimately that if I do meet her she won't like me. But, hey. Why would that happen? What's not to like? Hah! Do I think she'll somehow give me purpose in life. Well, not really. But, I do think she's cool. And what's to lose? Not much.
So, that. That is my true resolution.
What do you think? Anyone have any great ideas on how I can accomplish this?