Stranded in the Rain with a Rainbow (To Fable, with love.)

Yesterday, my car door wouldn't close. I had just picked Fable up from a friend's house, and as we were trying to leave to pick up the twins from their school... we couldn't. I tried to close the door but it wouldn't budge. I turned off the power, turned it back on, tried to pull the door manually and finally burst into tears. This week was not easier than last week. Technical difficulties have abounded everywhere... I overbooked. I overestimated. So much so that I was unable to sit down and write much of anything this week.

The door not closing felt very "of course" because, of course. And after cursing and kicking curbs and trying with all my might to get the door to close, I finally just gave up.

I folded myself into a ball on the curb and cried with the broken door and the twins waiting to be picked up and everything felt impossible. It felt impossible the day before, too, when I found myself unable to pick three children up at the same time and ended up being late to get Fable.

"I'm so sorry I'm late," I said to her as I collected her from the steps outside of play practice.

"Mama, it's fiiiiiyyyyne." Fable tilted her head and did the thing she does when she's trying to make me or someone else feel better. She smirks and squints her eyes like whatever, dude. No biggie. Moving on... 
It was the same look attached to the same face that emerged from inside the van as I sat in a heap feeling sorry for myself, yesterday. And then with a cross-eyed grin, Fable started to sing.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright coppered kettles and warm woolen mittens...

(ED: Not only did we see The Sound of Music at The Ahmanson two nights ago but Fable is in the midst of practicing for a neighboring school's production of The Sound of Music so, yeah... The Hills are very much Alive...)

...Brown paper packages tied up with string...

She made a hundred faces as she sang...  Her eyes became big and then she crossed them and then she put her hands in the air and conducted me to join her:


And then, like a bad movie, we busted out on the side of the road.


We never got the door to close, but I did manage to close it halfway. We drove home slowly with the hazards on and the music blasting to overpower the sound of strangers' voices who were hell-bent on telling us YOUR SIDE DOOR IS OPEN!

"IT IS!???"

"You do not say!!!"


And soon enough, we were both in tears laughing.

And singing

And laughing.


Fable and I have a song. I don't remember how it started, but through the years we have had a sort of kismet relationship with Tracy Chapman's Fast Car. It was a favorite of mine back in the day and it became a favorite of Fable's in recent years when in some sort of satellite radio coincidence, it came on EVERY TIME Fable and I were driving just the two of us.

There's a word for that... I want to say its synchronicity but I feel like that's probably wrong. I'm tired and don't really know much of anything at the moment. I'm basically sleep-typing this post, is the thing. And yet, I do know that driving in a slow car was what we were suddenly doing.

Mama's got a slow car....

Sometimes life feels like it's building up to these seemingly insignificant moments that exist for no other reason than to prove to its patrons and that everything is absurd.

And a little bit broken.

And slightly hazardous.

By the time we arrived home, we were both aching from laughing so hard, our voices hoarse from singing.

Maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
Me myself I got nothing to prove

There is so much more I want to write and tell and share... about the broken car door and the broken week and Fable's ability to SING ME and everyone else she knows, back to sanity --  how wonderful these past seven years with her have been...  but I only have this tiny window before bedtime happens and another crazy weekend begins...  So, this. This is what I've got. A short story about an hour-in-the-life with Fable Luella, birthday girl: lover of art and life and books and musical theater and girl- power ball point pen tattoos...
Happy Birthday to my light, my love, my rainbow--with the cape on her back and the song in her lungs and the light in her heart--who has sung me off many a curb and who will sing me off many a curb more.

Maybe together we can get somewhere...

And we did.

We do.

We will.

Happy Birthday, dear Fable.  Thank you for ever being a light in all of our lives.


Boy Talk

A few weeks ago I wrote about periods and puberty as it relates to girls and young women and several parents inquired as to what body books were recommended for pre-pubescent (and pre-pre-pre pubescent) boys.

I will be perfectly honest. I had no experience with books on puberty for boys, but I started to think, "Hmmmm... I should know this. I should know which books to recommend AND I should have some of these books at home probably. Maybe? Is it too late?"

I am not a books-as-resource person, usually, but after looking through Fable's American Girl Body Book I realized how important it is for children to have books and material THEY can study on their own time. Sometimes a kid doesn't want to talk to her mom about all of the things and that's perfectly okay. I'm never going to force a conversation with my kids. Consent works in all directions.

That said, there is a reason I wrote a "period piece" and not a testicle tale. I am a woman and I have no experience in a male body. And while some men/dads/male caretakers are really into sitting down and having all the talks with their sons, many are... not. Vulnerability is not something men were typically raised to be praised for back in the day, you know what I mean? P.S. Here is a GREAT guide re: talking to sons about sex/sexuality.

ED: Last night, I told Archer I was working on a post about puberty and boys and I asked him what he thought boys would prefer when it came time for their parents to have "the talk" with them:

1. To be given books to look at themselves and ask questions later.
2. To talk about puberty/sex stuff in a casual way with their parents/caretakers (which is what we do now)
3. To wait until the teacher brought it up during sex-ed.

His answer was 2.

I was surprised and then I wasn't... We have been talking about bodies and puberty and periods and semen and pubes and all of the things since he (and everyone else) was a toddler. When you raise children with open conversation as it pertains to body changes, sexuality et al, shame kind of goes out the window. (For now, anyway.)

And yet, for some parents its very difficult to go there. (I feel like this is one of those times where your upbringing plays a HUGE part in the way you raise your kids. I have several friends who were raised in super religious households where masturbation was a sin and nobody so much as SPOKE of sex as it pertained to anyone who wasn't married and I know how much of a struggle these conversations are for them.)

Which is why books written specifically for pre/pubescent boys can be super helpful when it comes to all this stuff. Because it's inevitable, folks. Your tiny baby will soon be a young man. And it will have been your job to equip him with the knowledge and resources to navigate his adolescence. Because if you don't? His friends at school, the movies he watches, porn he downloads, will. 

You can read my entire post, here... 


I wrote this in my Umbro shorts. Umbro shorts. I wrote this evening's blog post in my Umbro shorts.


This week was hysterically bad. Like, I CAN'T STOP LAUGHING TO KEEP FROM CRYING bad. I mean, we literally have a dead animal in our wall that is stinking up our entire house which is the least of this week's problems. And yet. SUCH A METAPHOR for this week, you guys. THE METAPHORIST of metaphors.

I just hope it decomposes soon, you know what I mean? Without doing any permanent damage to our nostrils.

(This week was a pile of shit for everyone I know so I feel like I'm not being totally presumptuous when I say GOOD RIDDANCE, WEEK! YOU MAY FUCK RIGHT OFF, YOU MAY!)

Luckily, things exist to make us laugh. Which is why as I ice my swollen ankle (caused by an incident with a broken flip flop and a steep hill) and type these words on a computer that has blitzed out on me twice this week, rendering hours of work lost forever,  I present: ACTIVE WEARThe only good thing that came out of the last few days.

Besides all the Pope stuff. GO, POPE STUFF!

And speaking of Activewear, which I don't really even own, where does one BUY "activewear" that isn't hundreds of dollars? I will never be able to justify dropping 50 bucks on a sports bra, let alone 80 or 165. I'd rather wear my old nursing bra tank top with the things on the straps and my old Umbro soccer shorts from 9th grade. (Which is what I've been doing. Every day.)

Hook me up, Activewearers! Because for the first time in my life, I actually NEED Activewear. I also need next week to be a little more pleasant for everyone, because, DUDE.

Let us pray. 


Life's a Trip... let

photo-1 Minna, Joe and Grandma Betty, 1929 photo Minna, Joe and Betty, 2013

Last month I posted some photos on social media that included my grandmother and her triplet sister and brother. Recently this article surfaced which named the oldest living triplets and I would venture to guess the Hocky trips are in the top five AT LEAST. (They're 88.)

Their story is pretty incredible, considering they were born in 1927. Their birth was such an anomaly that Ripley gave them a signed copy of his Believe it or Not book, with signatures from all of the New York personalities of the day.
"To the Hocky triplets..." it read, and as a kid we all used to fawn over the book like it was the greatest treasure in all the land. (We were all obsessed with Ripley's Believe it Or Not.)

Obviously, in those days there was no way to know you were having a multiple birth, so when my great grandmother went to the hospital to deliver her second child and THREE came out... I mean... can you even imagine? VAGINALLY, no less. HOT DAMN, SUPERWOMAN.

I often thought of Great-Grandma Belle whenever I felt overwhelmed with my twins -- grateful to have modern amenities and technological advancements. (When they were infants, my grandmother and her triplet siblings almost died of pneumonia but Grandma Belle stayed up all night, turned up the heat, and put wet cloths on all the radiators -- turning the apartment into a steam bath and clearing out all those little lungs. She also got up at every morning at 4am to prepare the bottles for the day and spent a good part of those first few years hand-washing 7868768787 diapers a day.)

My Grandma, Betty, and her sister, Minna are identical and they have a fraternal brother named Joe.
Every year on their birthdays, they get together and celebrate and my grandma and her identical twin sister regularly show up to the same event in matching clothes on accident.
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In my grandma's words:

I was the last of the triplets born. My brother Joseph arrived first followed by my sister Minna. We were each 3-4 pounds at birth and put in incubators. My parents had no idea they were having a multiple birth since there were no ultrasounds in those days. What a shock! They had a daughter who was 2 1/2 years old at our birth. From then on my mother always said "I liked the sample so I stocked up".

We moved to Far Rockaway after a few months where we had wonderful summers on the beach. Then we moved to the Bronx and on to mid- Manhattan to attend school . We had fun times growing up in a very normal, loving home. The three of us attended college in New York City. (Joseph is a lawyer, Minna was a travel agent, and I was an elementary school teacher.)

Although we do not live near each other we are in constant contact with our siblings and every year, on our birthday, we spend the week together in matching berets. (Not really.)

My mother, Belle, was an amazing woman. She lived to the ripe old age of 96 with all her faculties. Although she had very little formal education she had a great deal of common sense and an amazing talent at numbers. My father was a businessman and was very creative. Both instilled good values and a love for the arts, and commitment to family and friends. I was blessed to be surrounded by a large loving family. (Now I have six children which includes my two sons and one daughter and their spouses. My claim to fame is that I have identical twin grandsons and twin great granddaughters!)

- Gigi
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I'm on a bit of a family tour right now here on GGC.  I am a big fan of these people, if you haven't noticed, and I find every one of them far too fascinating to keep them to myself...  My brother's up next. YOU'RE UP NEXT, DAVID!

Happy Thursday almost Friday, all!
IMG_0191 GGC

Eat Well: Get a Shroom

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, Mom!

A friend of mine emailed me the other day to ask if I had a good recipe for veggie burgers. I gave her my garbanzo bean ball (or patty) recipe and also Kris Carr’s Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato recipe, but also told her that my go-to veggie “burger” isn’t a burger at all, but rather a marinated Portobello mushroom. I don’t know about you but when we bar-b-q, it’s most likely because it is either too hot to cook (it’s still HOT in Southern California) or I’m not in the mood. So the idea of spending a lot of time making the burger isn’t appealing to me and most veggie burger recipes are time consuming. It’s hard to find a really good packaged veggie burger (although I occasionally like the crunchiness of Qrunch quinoa burgers and the flavor of some of the Dr. Pragers burgers). That being said, nothing beats the flavor and texture of a marinated Portobello mushroom. In fact, when we have a bar-b-q, I have to make enough mushrooms for the meat eaters in our family, too, because everyone wants one!

In my opinion, the key to any good bar-b-q sandwich, meat or veggie, is providing lots of delicious toppers. My favorites are roasted peppers, caramelized onions, sliced avocado (or guacamole), fresh raw sauerkraut, heirloom tomatoes, pesto, and horseradish, but I always serve mayo, mustard, pickles, and ketchup for the traditionalists. Portobello mushrooms are amazing with caramelized onions and/or roasted peppers and a thick slice of ripe tomato and/or avocado. If you like cheese on your “burger,” you can add a slice of your favorite cheese at the end of grilling.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Peppers

4 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed (save for another dish)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 T soy sauce (can use tamari or Braggs for gluten free option)
3 T olive oil
3-4 minced garlic cloves
2 large sweet onions
Roasted peppers (can use prepared jarred peppers)
Condiments of your choosing

Lay mushrooms flat in a shallow dish. Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic and pour over the mushrooms.
Marinate for 2 hours at room temperature, turning several times.

Meanwhile, slice onions and sauté on medium low heat in butter or oil until brown and caramelized.

Brush oil on pre-heated medium-high grill.

Add marinated mushrooms and grill for about 5 minutes on a side. They should be tender and a little shriveled looking. (If adding cheese, top during the last minute or so, or until melted.)

Serve on warmed or lightly toasted bun topped with onions, peppers, and other condiments of your choosing.


And for those looking to "get a shroom" with other kinds of mushrooms, here are three favorite recipes from years past: 
Orecchiette with Two Mushrooms and Rosemary
Big love to all!