The other day my son told me I looked like a “white girl.”
There I was in my oversized sweatshirt, leggings and Uggs, and my son was stunned.
“Yeah, you look really fresh,” he said. “You look like a white girl.”
The thing is, this is not a new look for me.
The leggings are somewhat permanent.
I typically spend all of my off time in my Momm-iform (Mom Uniform) which consists of leggings of some sort and a big shirt. Or a pair of jeans and a big shirt. Or leggings and a tank top and a big shirt. Or just a big shirt over a bathing suit…in the summer, of course.
I mean, seriously, I spend a lot of time in really big shirts.
But for some reason, now he thought I looked different. Maybe it was the Uggs. Maybe it was the haircut I’d just recently gotten, or the fact that my hair was back to blonde instead of whatever other color laced with grey that it used to be. Maybe it was because I had lost a few pounds.
For some reason, he thought I looked like a girl. Specifically, a white girl.
And here I was worried that my biggest fear growing older was to know when I slipped into the ever-feared aging blonde category…
Now picture this for a minute… we live in the South and the only time ANY girls around here put on Uggs is when the temperature bottoms out at 60. We pull out the sweatshirts when the temperatures hover around 50.
It was in the 40s. We were heading to the grocery store. And it was a Saturday. I was in my comfort element. I really wasn’t going for any style other than Mom-irrific.
Here, on a typical day in the South, the momm-iform is more capris and a camp shirt over a tank top with flip flops or those $5 sneakers you buy at KMart, or even walking shorts and a twin sweater set. Well, March through November anyway… But this was February and the typical Momm-iform then is to throw on leggings, a turtleneck, thigh high boots, one terrific scarf and one of the three heavy sweater you actually own.
Face it, Northern ladies, we may suck at colder weather, but we’re just like you… only prettier… and better dressed.
Still, I don’t think most people look at me and immediately say “Oh, look! There’s someone who spent a year as PTA president! You can tell by her sweater set and perfectly groomed toenails!”
I’ve read other suburban moms saying that yoga pants and a tank top are their momm-iform. I don’t buy it, as many of these women look at if they are at the gym on an hourly basis, and at their hairdresser’s when they’re not, but… if that’s what they want us to believe, so be it.
Honestly though, my look hasn’t changed much since college – whether I was a mom or not.
Of course, what this all means is that when my son said that I looked like a “white girl,” the first thing that popped into my head was not that I looked any different, but .. what the
heck did he think that I looked like before?
White trash professional?
The Goodwill wife?
By day, it’s true, I’m a mild mannered executive who tries diligently to marry comfort and style, but I usually fail miserably – mostly because I am not a fashionista at all. Heck, it’s kind of hard to be fashionable when you’re an overweight mother of two pushing the waning edge of your 40s.
Is there one of those Facebook posts out there that tells you what not to wear when you’re pushing 50 and don’t want to look like a high school trollop?
But by night, I am a grime fighting super mom who regularly wears clothing inappropriate for stepping out of Cinderella’s basement, let alone picking up one’s kids in church parking lots. Which, of course, is what I usually wear when I pick my kids up in church parking lots.
I never actually get OUT of the car, but still… I’m pretty sure I’m the only one there at the mega church on a Wednesday evening in pajamas.
Even as I write this, I am in black and red plaid pajama bottoms, a black three-quarter sleeve shirt and a red hoodie sweatshirt. It’s a nice ensemble to go with my awesome fuzzy grey slippers. I might also add that it’s 7:30 and I probably won’t go to bed for another four hours.
But this is my comfort zone and this is where I get to wear what I want and be who want in whatever I want right?
So maybe I did used to look like something else to him. He sees me at my best and at my worst. He sees me when I’m getting ready for work. Usually, since he has better taste than me, he’s the one I ask whether or not I’ve been able to successfully pull an outfit together. And he’s seen me at my worst, which usually involves sagging gardening shorts and dirt-covered tank tops when I work in the yard.
Now he thinks I look like a girl.
This is a big change from a few years ago when I told him I could help him talk to his latest girlfriend and he responded, “What do you know about girls? You’re a mom!”
I guess, though, what I should take away from this is not what I used to look like, or what I look like now, but what I look to him.
Regardless of how whether it’s good or bad, how many 40++++ women can say their sons think they look like a girl?
Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2015
Do you love your mother????
CALLING ALL WRITERS, ASPIRING WRITERS, OR PEOPLE WITH A STORY OF MOTHERHOOD TO SHARE to read their own words about motherhood at The Alverson Community Theater for the first LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER scheduled for 3:00 pm May 2, 2105
All ages, genders, ethnicities, variety of writers invited to audition—NON-MOTHERS WELCOME. Bring your own original humorous, poignant, and soulful words about the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested that is motherhood (or about your mother/person who raised you)
Auditions are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Saturday March 17, 18 ad 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Rooms B & C, 907 N. Main Street, Anderson, SC.
TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT send an email to Liz Carey at email@example.com with the word “AUDITION” in the subject line. Please include your name and availability. Appointments will be first-come/first-serve until all slots are filled. AUDITION PIECES SHOULD NOT EXCEED 5 MINUTES. Please time yourself reading aloud before auditioning.
Shorter is fine. Shorter is great!
Many LTYM Alumni had no professional writing or stage experience, some had never spoken in public—all will tell you of the amazing experience of sharing their story before their community on Mother’s Day. Join the national series of live readings giving Mother’s Day a Microphone! The 2015 Season includes local productions in Austin, Chicago, Madison, New York City, Northwest Arkansas,
Northwest Indiana, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Spokane, and Washington D.C
I was talking to a friend the other day about Star Wars.
All he knew was the remake.
For him, Greedo shot first and Han was just defending himself.
WRONG!!!! That’s not the way it ORIGINALLY went down.
The conversation reminded me that cultural differences can span just a few years.
The first time I realized this I was in my first summer of college working at a fast food joint. During a heated debate, I piped up “Jane, you ignorant slut.” You would have thought I had actually meant to insult one of the girls in the room, despite the fact I was only talking to boys.
Another time, a friend of mine and I went to our first U2 concert. It was the Rattle and Hum tour and we were in floor seats at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. As was their tradition, U2 played Beatles music during the warm up. My friend and I were having the time of our lives singing the hits, when the girls in front of us asked us who the warm up music was.
“It’s the Beatles… you know? John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison?” we said.
This was about the time that George Harrison had a hit single “I’ve got my mind set on you” on the charts.
Stellar lyrics there, “I’ve got my mind set on you” repeated about seven million times. A little less thrilling than “Norwegian Wood” if you ask me.
“Oh! My! God!” the girls shrieked. “George Harrison was in a band? We have GOT to check them out.”
I’d never felt so old.
And that was 30 years ago.
Later, as the oldest woman (at the ripe old age of 28) working at a local ISP (remember ISPs?), I was talking to one of the teen-ish guys working there who was excited to be seeing Star Wars in the movie theater for the first time during its re-release in the 90s. I didn’t get his excitement. I saw it in the movie theaters when I was 12… I think I sprouted my first grey hairs that day.
There are just some things a child of the 70s, knows that others just can’t begin to understand…
First things first…
My kids will never understand. Half of the people that I talk to everyday will never understand. But those of us who grew up on less than 10 television stations, Saturday Night Live, and a life without DVDs, OnDemand or email will get it.
And seriously, let’s get one thing straight.
Han definitely shot first.
Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2015
Everyone knows that there are secret life hacks that can make their lives easier.
As parents, we know all the little tips and tricks learned over years of housework. There are just some things that make life all the much more livable.
But, spend few minutes living with any teen and you’ll realize, if it comes out of a parent’s mouth, it can’t be true, it has to be on the Internet for that.
So, here it is, the top 8 life hacks every teen must know – on the internet no less!
1 – Clean hair dye from a white bathroom sink using just bleach and an old rag! Pour bleach on stained area, wipe down with old rag and cover stain with bleach a second time. Let stand for 5 minutes, or more depending on the darkness of stain. Wash off bleach with water and rag. BONUS HACK: Use a white rag and allow the bleach to clean stains out of the rag as well.
2 – Writing assignments and their due dates on a calendar, the day they are assigned, prevents forgetting them until the last minute or missing them entirely. Result? Less stress and better days!
3 – Use a relatively new invention – the trash can – to store all of your old candy wrappers and empty soda bottles. When full, carry trash receptacle to the garbage can outside to dispose of all of your garbage in one trip! You’ll be able to tell when the can is full when pieces of garbage start falling out of it. Being ahead of the game and taking the garbage out before being asked can save you from being interrupted during a great run of Call of Duty by Mom yelling to get to your chores.
4 – Folding your laundry and putting it away immediately after it is finished in the dryer helps to prevent the need for ironing clothes as well as keeps your mom from yelling at you that you look like a street urchin or homeless man. As an added bonus, this saves countless hours of looking through your clothes for what to wear that day, or confusing clean clothes with dirty clothes, requiring you to wash all of them over again.
5 – Shave minutes off chore time by simply putting dishes IN THE DISHWASHER instead of in the sink five feet to the side of it. This is an even more effective hack instead of leaving dishes in your room.
6 – Rub a toothpaste tube along the side of the sink and bathroom countertops from the bottom of the tube up, in order to move all of the toothpaste up into the useable part of the tube. Hint: This only works if you remember to put the cap back on.
7 – If you smell the cat litter box when you come in the back door of the house, chances are, it’s time to change it. Doing something simple like this can save up to 20 minutes of nagging per WEEK!
8 – Using Kleenex or toilet paper to blow your nose, instead of picking it and wiping it on your gaming chair or your jeans will not only save time cleaning your chair, but also help to make you look like less of a loser in your friends and families eyes – they do see you do it, you know.
9 – When it’s your turn to clean the bathroom, make sure you take a long hot shower first. Then, after drying off with your towel, use the moist towel to clean loosened dirt on the countertops and sink. Wet towel with a little water from the now clean sink, and use the towel to “mop” the floor. After you get dressed, throw away the garbage and clean out the toilet and you’re done!
With just a little planning and a few extra steps, you’ll be on your way to a calmer, more grown-up way of life. In many ways,
And now, it’s on the internet, so it HAS to be true…
Since Friday, I’ve been thinking about the premiere of Downton Abbey.
When I watch it, I sometimes think of what it would be like to be Elizabeth McGovern’s character and live out my days leisurely with servants to do all of the things I scream at my kids to do. I imagine dressing for a dinner that someone else cooks, on dishes I’ll never have to wash and going to sleep in a bed I’ll never have to make or wash the sheets of.
Of course, that’s all just a dream.
But it doesn’t stop me from wanting to bring a little English culture to our home. As a lifelong slight anglophile, I have admired English culture since I was first introduced to it through Camelot and Robin Hood.
When I was graduated from high school, my mother took me to England, Scotland and Wales. It was a dream come true. We traveled to London, where she took some classes while I walked through the streets of the town, looking at the sites. After going out on a date with one of the servers from the restaurant of our hotel, Mom and I traveled to Scotland, through the Dales and into the British and Welch countryside.
As we traveled, our plan was simple – eat the hotel’s continental breakfast (hard “toast”, one croissant, jam, butter and tea), then have high tea instead of lunch because it was cheaper. Took a while to figure out that biscuits were crackers. When we were in bed and breakfasts, we’d eat their rather sumptuous breakfasts (which shocked the heck out of me because it was the first time anyone had ever served me baked beans and tomato slices along side bacon, eggs and toast), have high tea and then go for a light supper. That was a rasher of bacon was the meaty bit of a bacon slice and the streaky was the fatty bit.
And yes, it really is true that when you’re a stranger in a small town, walking into a pub will result in everyone stopping in the middle of their conversations and looking at you, which doesn’t even stop when you order what ever it is they are serving for supper.
Today, as I was waiting for the return of Downton Abbey’s fifth season, those memories came flooding back to me; Mom and I walking through churches built before America was even discovered, watching the changing of the guard, hitting Edinburgh and touring the castle just as 40,000 David Bowie fans stormed the city, many of whom serenaded us under our hotel window after the concert was over at 1 a.m.
I loved the castles. I loved the history. I loved the smell of the Scottish heather perfume that I bought there.
I hated the food though.
Steak and kidney pie? Bleck. Bubble and Squeak? Basically leftover potatoes and cabbage and Brussels sprouts with beef and gravy. Right. And let’s not even get started on Haggis, black pudding or jellied eel…
Still, the memories of all those afternoons spent with my mom over tea and scones with clotted cream and jam made we want to relive some of my real memories before I embarked on my fantasy memories later tonight.
I decided to make Welsh rarebit, or Welsh rabbit, depending on how you decide you want to pronounce it.
The American version of Welsh rarebit is basically, a cheesy bechamel sauce on toast. But the English version is more of a cheese and beer paste that is spread on buttered toast and broiled for a late Sunday “what do make when the pantry is empty” supper.
Of course, I had to make my own version. Just a little here, and a substitution there, and next thing you know, Bob’s your uncle and all that.
First, I started with three slices of honey wheat bread, spread with butter and toasted lightly in the broiler. At the same time, I fried up about six slices of bacon. Once those were done, I put them both to the side and started on the cheese sauce.
Most British recipes call for dry mustard and stout. I don’t have either. I had Dijon and Thomas Creek’s Red Ale. So that’s what I used. Combining about a tablespoon of ale and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard in a small saucepan, I whisked them together until they were smooth. Then I added another two tablespoons of ale, a tablespoon of butter, about a teaspoon of Worcestershire, some paprika and a dash of red pepper. Then I heated those until the butter melted, stirring frequently.
Once the mixture came to a boil, I added half a cup of shredded Colby jack cheese, half a cup of shredded cheddar and about a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and whisked them all together until the cheeses melted and the mixture was smooth. You’ll see that this turns into a nice sauce that just coats the fork or whisk that you are using.
To this, I added one egg yolk. I pierced the egg yolk with a fork and added to a warm, but not hot, cheese mixture. So that the egg yolk doesn’t scramble in the heated mix, I whisked it really quickly until it began to thicken. You’ll see that the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and starts to form more of a paste like consistency.
At this point, I started to assemble the sandwich. I sliced a tomato into three slim slices and put them on a paper towel to dry out a bit. On a cookie sheet, I put each piece of toast and topped each piece with a tomato slice. I topped that with two pieces of bacon, cut in half. From there, I spooned the cheese mixture on top of the sandwich until it covered the bacon, tomato and bread. After sprinkling the completed sandwich with parsley, I put the cookie sheet into the broiler and broiled the sandwich until it was bubbling and browning a little.
In all, the sandwich took about 15 minutes to make. It was a great easy lunch to make for a grey and raining afternoon.
But more than that, it helped me reconnect with my Mom. And with my kids. Little Mason thought it was pretty good, but Max wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t tea at a little shop in the middle of Oxford, but it was my way of introducing them to the culture I love. Max is already reading the five-book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (yeah, that’s correct) and I’ve made them watch Raymond Briggs illustrated cartoons and Tin Tin since before it was cool to do that.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to take the to England or Ireland or Scotland, but for now I’m sure they’ll indulge their old Mom on a few of the finer points of English cooking… at least the palatable ones.
Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2015
I’m pretty sure I am all Christmas’d out.
As I sit here on my couch on a rainy 60 degree Sunday, some of my friends are celebrating their fourth and fifth family holiday today. Heck, some of them have had more than eight holiday celebrations in the course of the last month.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person… probably more than some in fact. I love the secrets, the smells, the sights… even the sappy Christmas specials where the evil shopkeeper realizes there is more to the season than commercialism and peace returns to Happyville and little Timmy gets his dog back.
Yeah, I know, I’m a bit sentimental, but life can’t be all sarcasm, moonshine and zombies now, can it?
So, after countless batches of Christmas candy, a seemingly endless stream of holiday engagements and a month-long marathon of shopping or making gifts, I think I’m done for a while.
How can I tell? The signs are all around us… Here’s the top 8 ways to tell you’re done with Christmas.
So, let’s take a few minutes and say goodbye to 2014’s holiday season. It’s been one to put in the record books… well, the keepsake books anyway, if indeed we keep any of those. And remember, there’s just 363 shopping days left to find the perfect gifts for Christmas 2015.
Copyright Liz Carey (c) 2014
I want to tell Bob Geldof, no.
No, no, no, no, no. It was bad when you did it in 1984, it remains bad, bad, bad, bad, bad when you do it now.
Look, it’s not like we’re not all KEENLY aware of the fact that “Do they know it’s Christmas” is the most annoying and condescending song we hear every hour from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. Even “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and “The Christmas Shoes” pale in comparison to the 1984 version of “prove your love and compassion via donations.”
But now, you’ve gone and made ANOTHER one, equally as condescending, sappily sweet and just smacking of that “white messiah complex” stuff you Brits seem to have perfected.
Released November 17, 2014, the NEW and IMPROVED version of “Do they know it’s Christmas” features One Direction, instead of Boy George, and Sam Smith, instead of George Michael, and lots of other British musicians I don’t recognize. Which is kind of like the first one, except that I recognized a lot more of them back then cause back then it was a new concept and I, like it, was cool.
Oh! And Chris Martin is in it – which of course makes everything cooler, and Bono is in it – which used to make everything very cool, but now makes whatever he’s in very serious and political. And Sinead O’Connor is in it, which makes it weird cause she’s the only person there that is my age and still doing the same thing she was then, only with MORE hair.
But, essentially, it’s the same song… trying to raise money for the same cause – Africa.
This time, however, it’s about West Africa and Ebola. I guess Band Aid spent the last 30 years curing famine and drought in Africa and decided it was time to focus on ebola.
According to Bob Geldof, he was asked to help out. And he has, sort of… in the first 24 hours, industry reports say sales of the single raised more than $1.7 million – but… let’s just say, it’s really unclear at this point where all that money is going to…
But none of that is reason enough to hate the song. All you have to do is watch the video.
Sure, some of the lyrics have been changed; sure, the players are all new and hipper and grungier… but it’s the actual message of the song that just bites me in the wrong places.
So, here goes the first part of the song from 1984…
George Michael “But say a prayer, pray for the other ones, at Christmas-time”
Simon le Bon “It’s hard, but when you’re having fun, there’s a world outside your window and it’s a world of dread and fear”
Sting “Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears”
Sting, Bono, Simon “And the Christmas bells that ring, there are the clanging chimes of doom”
Bono (and this is the line that gets me) “Tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you.”
After a Phil Collins drum spot, we get “And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime, The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life. Where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow. Do they know it’s Christmas-time at all?”
See? I just want to smack people when I hear that.
First, uhm, yeah… THERE IS SNOW IN AFRICA! Ever heard of Mt. Kilimanjaro – or the ski slope open in winter in Morocco? And by the way, many of the countries located in Africa – especially the ones hit by Ebola – are predominantly CHRISTIAN. And more than that, characterizing the ENTIRE CONTINENT by the famine in ONE COUNTRY is a pretty demeaning generalization of a continent that has rich and culturally diverse climates, cultures and citizens. Ditto for a killer disease.
Even Geldof admits it’s one of the two worst songs of all-time – both of which were written by him. The other one is “We are the World.”
And despite the fact that many in Africa don’t want his help because of its demeaning nature and the stigma the song has given the entire continent as being full of people who are more looking for a hand-out from foreign countries than help to achieve more in their live, Bob Geldof went ahead and re-released it anyway.
And the demeaning images in the video are enough to prove Africa’s point. It’s a little startling to see people in hazmat suits tending to impoverished patients clinging to survival, then be swept away to images of rock stars exiting their limos in designer suits and jewels? There’s just an overwhelming picture painted of men in white coming to save the day for the poor dying African man.
And even more than that – of the rock stars lined up in the new video, only 4 of them are black, as opposed to the original’s ONE. Not that I’m saying there’s not some good in making a few progressive changes, but seriously?
I guess he was doing enough of a good thing by changing the lyrics up a bit.
Now instead of “Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” Bono sings “Tonight, we’re reaching out and touching you?”
Did Bob NOT know when he wrote that, that that is the number one fear of white people EVERYWHERE (thanks to Fox News and CNN) that they will actually be TOUCHED by one of those ebola patients and then it’s only a hop, skip and shamble to the full-on zombie apocalypse?
I mean, COME ON! As if guilting us into handing over cash wasn’t bad enough, now you’re trying to scare the bejesus out of us into giving you money?
And why, again, does it have to be OUR money? Why can’t it be his? or theirs, even?
After all, Bob is worth more than $150 million. Would it really be too much skin off of his nose to fork over a paltry $1 million to help out?
If Bob really wanted to help, why didn’t he ask his friends, the millionaires who are singing, to donate a little cashola to be a part of the song, instead of letting them donate their “time.”
I mean, seriously, what else have these people got to do? Go around “consciously
coupling” with models, starlets and celebutantes?
If you look at it from an analytical position, it makes more sense for them to contribute a few buckaroonies, than for us to.
Let’s face it, if Bono, who is estimated to be worth $600 million, and the rest of U2 can move to the Netherlands to avoid paying Irish taxes, surely they can toss a few million to ebola to avoid paying taxes by making a charitable donation, right? Surely, they could have hired Two Guys and a Truck instead of paying Atlas Moving Company thousands and saved enough money to throw at a worthy cause.
Chris Martin is the frontman of Coldplay, which is estimated to be worth $64 million… One Direction? worth an estimated $42 million. If JUST those two groups donated a measly 3% of their combine net worth, it would double the single’s first day sales and still leave them with …$62 and $40.7 million and change, respectively. Really? Is Coldplay really so bad off they can’t survive on ONLY $62 million? Maybe One Direction’s hair products for men cost a bit more than they did when I was a kid and into that whole pop boy band thingy…
Maybe the members of Cold Play and One Direction should talk about their woes to their fans and tell them why they can’t afford to give up $3 million of the combined $106 MILLION they are worth, because they won’t be able to shop on GOOP anymore or buy goop for their hair.
Maybe, just maybe, they should tell that to the people in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Liberia waiting for treatment for Ebola and watching their family members die for want of hydration and sanitation… Maybe, I think just maybe, they should do that in person… maybe it’s time for them to reach out and touch someone else tonight…
(c) copyright Liz Carey 2014