Monday, August 27, 2012

Mom Tales - 30 essays that show motherhood isn't for the weak

Coming soon to virtual bookstores ... my newest book:  Mom Tales: Stories of Parenting, Potties and Post-Partum Panic.

It's a collection of 30 essays that show motherhood isn't just about the coos and smiles. In fact, in my humble opinion, being a mommy is not for the weak - of stomach, heart or resolve.

Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite essays ...

I ushered my supervisor into the little office and eased myself into a chair. I could barely keep the grin off my face. I took a deep breath.

“I’m pregnant!” I announced.

She looked at me without saying anything. The silence stretched out between us. Finally, a tiny smile forced her lips apart.

“What?” I said, somewhat startled at her lack of enthusiasm. Yes, she was my supervisor, but she also was my friend. I’d worked for her as a reporter at this newspaper for several years. We knew each other fairly well; I thought she’d at least be a little excited for me. “What?”

She recovered her composure quickly. “Oh, it’s nothing,” she said, waving an arm gracefully. “It’s just …” she hesitated again.

My mouth fell open. “WHAT?!” I almost shouted.

She shrugged. “Diane,” she said finally. “It’s just that you don’t seem very … ‘family-friendly.’”

I stared at her, dumbstruck. Of course, I would have been more insulted if I hadn’t been getting similar messages – from friends – ever since I announced that I was with child.

Let me explain. This was my first child, yes. And I was perhaps a little older, in my mid-thirties, to be exact, so I could be a little set in my ways, but I didn’t think I was that bad. I wasn’t an alcoholic, a workaholic or a raging drug addict. In fact, I had a good job, a nice house and a great husband.

Sure, I had a few too many cats, but we could deal with that later, I figured.

But the way my friends were talking, I was falling far short in the mom department.

In fact, when I’d assembled a few of my good friends together a few days earlier, my fantastic news had been met with desultory congratulations – and more than a few words of caution.

Now, no one knows more about the troubles and travails of babies, of course, than a group of stylish, childless career women. Especially the women in my circle.

“Babies smell,” one friend warned me. “And remember when I made that Reuben sandwich and you said the smell of sauerkraut almost made you throw up? Baby poop smells worse than sauerkraut.”

I frowned. “I doubt that very much.”

My other friend shook her head. “And you like to sleep,” she said. “Babies don’t sleep.”

I stared at her, open-mouthed. “Are you saying I’m lazy?” I asked
She raised her perfectly groomed eyebrows. “No,” she said. “I’m just telling you; my sister had a baby and after three months with hardly any sleep she started acting completely crazy.”

I shrugged. “Your sister was kind of crazy anyway,” I informed her crisply. “Remember when she gave us a ride home from the mall in her POS car, and she wanted everyone to think it had air conditioning so she made us keep the windows rolled up?” I frowned. “We almost all died from heat prostration.”

She had the grace to look away, but she didn’t look terribly chagrined.

But then my best friend from work put a hand on my arm. “Diane, what do you keep in your crisper?” she asked gently.

I was confused. “Chardonnay, of course,” I answered. What the hell else would you keep in a crisper?

What was wrong with these people? And what did refrigerated items have to do with being a good mom?

My friend just sighed. “Honey, crispers are actually for vegetables,” she said. “I was going to tell you when we were alone, but you might as well know now."

I sat back in my chair “Seriously?” I said. “That’s so gross.” ...

From: 'Excuse me ...Are you 'family friendly?' (From 'Mom Tales,' coming soon to Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Oh, dear! Miss Charlotte's Pie is missing!

I'm a sucker for church cookbooks.

You know the ones; they're brimming with down-home recipes organized by congregation members and put together into books that are sold as fund-raisers for the church.

I just love them. They have the most interesting recipes and the most fun little stories inside.

Now, I need more books like we need more hot weather, but sometimes, I just can't resist. And so when I was at the library used bookstore the other day (just looking - really!) and I saw a cute little church cookbook, I had to check it out.

It was called "Collard Greens, Watermelons and Miss Charlotte's Pie," and it had been put together by the ladies of the Swansboro United Methodist Church in Swansboro, North Carolina, which, incidentally, is nowhere near where I live.

I couldn't help myself. I was intrigued. The recipes sounded yummy and besides, I really wanted to know about Miss Charlotte and her pie. So I bought it.

It was great. I loved reading all the delicious recipes in it, from Ruth's Chili to Susan's Mushroom Chicken to Southern Peanut Butter Pie. I enjoyed reading about Miss Charlotte, the  lovely and talented town matriarch.

But when I went to find the recipe for Miss Charlotte's Pie, I got a rude surprise. It's not there. Nope, it's gone. Page 52 has been neatly removed.

No pie for me.

Apparently I'm not the only one who was intrigued by the wonderful Miss Charlotte.