Sometimes I wonder how different my life would have been if my mom had never had a stroke.
She's surely not the same as I remember her from "before". My mom worked a lot, like I do - just a lot more. she wanted to be there for everything. There would be times that she would race a 10 hour day at work to try to catch one of our soccer or basketball games, and never make it inside. It probably happened to her the same way that it happens to me these days.
The hum of the car engine stops as I turn the key, and something about that sound - that action, makes me relax a little - something that I probably haven't done all day. My body grasps desperately at that relaxed feeling, and tries to turn it into sleep. My head bobs from left to right, until it settles in front, with my chin on my chest. My body wins by knock out. "Mom!" somebody yells. Tension returns, and I out of the car and back to business. For her, the knock on her window from one of us whose game she had missed was the wake up call.
Of course she never meant to have a stroke. She worked a lot, presumably for us, and there are always consequences for stressing your mind and body above and beyond its limits. But she wanted certain things for us - prep schools, international travel things like that. Things like that cost money. To earn money you had to work. But was it all for us? I used to think so, but I see now, that some of that work was done for purely selfish reasons. I see it, because I do it.
I inherited a few things from my mom. My thighs, my second toe, and my ever moving mind. It just doesn't stop. She would sit up nights, knowing she had a ten hour day of work and at least two hours of after school activities coming up, and empty her thoughts into a notebook. As she worked on ideas and plans, she would ignore her body's cries for sleep and attention, and get high off the ideas that flowed from her mind, out of her pencil, and onto the paper. Then the obsession with implementing those ideas would creep in - each and every plan would have to come to fruition. She ended up with the largest pediatric practice in the area. The stroke was the price she paid for that success.
Maybe my life would have been different if she hadn't had the stroke. I wouldn't pause to collect every detail from the far corners of my brain when I start a conversation with her with, "remember when" so that I can be sure to jog her memory. I wouldn't worry every time she mentions flying home to see family. I wouldn't cringe at the idea of her eating certain foods.
In other ways, I know my life today, right now, would have been exactly the same. By now, she would have retired, and would be traveling and spending time with my kids. She'd be going to dance recitals, soccer games, steel pan concerts, and violin performances - a proud grandma. She'd be sneaking them forbidden snacks, and telling them stories of her youth, stories which, despite the stroke, she remembers with stunning clarity.
Although I wish she'd never had the stroke, I am still thankful. Thankful that when I feel my body giving out, I can look back on what stress did to my mom, and how her unwillingness to rest and let some things go led to her stroke, and slow down. Sometimes tragic events happen and we don't see them coming, others we see moving towards us in slow motions, and we either can't or won't stop them. Life changing, earth shattering, mind altering, future rewriting tragedies that seem to come straight out of a nightmare that we haven't even had yet. It's events like those that make us remember the impact that our choices can have on those we love the most.
This post was inspired by the novel Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff. Every family has its secrets and deceptions, but they come to surface a tragic accident changes the family dynamic forever. Join From Left to Write on June 6 as we discuss Those We Love the Most. You can also enter to win a live video chat with Lee Woodruff. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.Add a comment
I was given press passes to Peeples. I was given no other compensation for writing this post. As always, my opinions are my own. My stories are in blue. If you want to skip it and just get the review - read the black. Want a view inside my mind on this film? Check out my (totally different) review on EvaLoves.com.
I never had a boy come to meet my parents at my house growing up. The first time a boy pulled up in my driveway just to say hi, I got grounded for two weeks. My aunt was visiting from Tobago, and she made a huge deal out of the whole thing. I don’t remember him ever getting out of the car.
Movies about meeting the parents of your significant other always seem to be comedies. Makes sense to me – sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. During my teen and young adult years, I would just take dates to meet my best friend’s parents. It was just easier that way – for all of us. I remember being at the movies with my best friend and her daughter when she came to DC for spring break, and cracking up with her at the previews for Peeples.Add a comment Read more...
As part of a promotional program with The Mommy Factor and French’s, I received product samples for review purposes. No other compensation was received. Views expressed are always 100% my own.
Chicken and I have a love/hate relationship. For a Caribbean woman who doesn't want chicken with a "fresh" taste, there is a whole lot of rigmarole that goes into cooking a chicken dish. So for this review, I had a decision to make. Big chicken or little chicken (cornish hen)... big fuss or little fuss.
I chose little fuss.
Seasoning jerk chicken usually takes 24 hours in the fridge. I was interested to see if this could work in just 10 minutes. After all I have to do to clean a chicken, anything to make the process shorter is a plus, right? Right.
I chose this little cornish hen. Isn't it cute!
I wasn't about to use a lime on this little bird AKA "Little Fuss", so I used lemon juice and salt to clean it. Rinsed it under cold water. It only took a few minutes... sweet!
This is the French's 10 Minute Marinade Flavor Infuser™ bottle - Caribbean Jerk flavor. I removed the cap, removed the foil seal, and got started.
There's no valve or anything to make it stop dispensing if you aren't squeezing it, so you had better have a plan for where you plan to inject the marinade. There's not a lot in the bottle, so you don't have any to waste. It cannot be reused. Since it has the tube shape, you can't set it down on the counter to reposition your bird, so really - have a plan. You can't replace the cap and set it down that way, because like I said... no valve.
I didn't have too much of an issue because I picked Little Fuss. With a bigger bird, be prepared to be more strategic. I gave it two shots in the breasts, two shots under the wings, one in each thigh, and one in each leg.
Sometimes it would plump up and make a bubble like I was giving the bird botox. That was amusing, but I didn't have time to laugh... I kept on infusing.
After I was all done, I let Little Fuss rest for 10 minutes with some foil over it, while I cut and salted some onions for the cavity.
Here's Little Fuss before...
...and here's Little Fuss after. Looked and smelled really good. Not much like Jerk Chicken, but good nonetheless.
Look at this itty bitty leg.
So here was lunch. Rotini with cheese and Jerk cornish hen! Now the verdict...
Baby Girl - "I wonder if these corny hens know they taste so good."
Mr. Social - "Cornish hens are good mommy... what is this in it? A1?"
Big One - "This is a small chicken."
Mom - "This is really good, Eva."
Everyone liked it, myself included, but no one recognized it as jerk chicken, and we are a family well versed in the smell and taste of some jerk. It didn't have any real spice, and I used the whole bottle on just one cornish hen. Even though it is supposed to season three to four pounds of meat, I would be concerned that it wouldn't add enough flavor for a whole chicken.
It didn't have any "heat" to it either. I was expecting a little kick, but there wasn't one. The kids appreciated the mild flavor, but I was looking for a little something different.
Nice flavor, yes. Family friendly, yes. A good example of "Caribbean Jerk"? No.
Things that French's would like you to know about their 10 Minute Marinade Flavor Infuser™, Caribbean Jerk flavor:
Have you used a method like this to flavor meats before? Could you tell the difference?Add a comment
My dad and I last summer - the beard is there... all is right in the world.
My first memories of having any sort of bedtime ritual begin around the age of two. Bedtime was bad enough around that age since I shared a room with my brother. At that time anything that had to do with my brother was annoying and bedtime was no exception.
My bedtime was 8:00 - always has been - not because my parents said so, but that was just when my day ended, no matter where I was. So around 7:30, I would get bathed, powdered, and lotioned, put on my night gown, listen to a story, and right after "The End" we would kneel beside my brother's bed. Dad would put his crutches to the side, kneel down between my brother and I, and we would say the Lord's prayer together. By the time we got to "forgive us our tresspasses" my brother would start to snicker. At "lead us not into temptation" he and my dad were in blown giggle. He would get super serious just to say, "and deliver us from Eva..."
"He said deliver us from EEEEVA! He said deliver us from EEEEEVA!" I would scream and jump to my feet pointing and accusing. Each night they did it, I'd be so upset like it was the very first time I'd heard it. I'd calm down, we'd say the last line... kisses on cheeks, hugs, and I get lifted into the crib (I wasn't very tall, so I was in there for a LONG time). Lights go off, night light goes on. I didn't really need it - my crib was right at the door, and usually after prayers my dad would disappear into the bathroom across the hall - door open, light shining into our room.
I thrived on routine. I lived for it. People looked the way they looked, sounded the way they sounded, did what they did, and were not allowed to change - ever.
One night, my dad disappeared into the bathroom and closed the door. I remember standing at the end of the crib in the dark with just the night light. He wasn't supposed to close the door. It was too dark, not at all what I was used to - so I stood and I waited. Waited for dad to open up that bathroom door and let the light into our room. When he opened the door, he must have noticed that I was standing up in the crib, and came over to the doorway. The bathroom light behind him cast a shadow over him, then he took a step into the room where the light of the nightlight illuminated his face.
"You cut your face off! You cut your face off!" I screamed. My brother sat up, and looked at his hairless face, unimpressed, and rolled over. I backed up to the back of the crib - horrified. My daddy had a beard. That was just the way that it was. Facial hair wasn't optional, it WAS his face! My dad laughed, turned off the light in the bathroom, and left me there horrified in the dark. I'm probably not over it. (I am so not over it.)
I have rarely seen my dad without a moustache, and my husband has only shaved his face once since we've been together... at my request. I was curious to see if I could get over my fear of a bald face after such a traumatic introduction it. He looked fine, but I was really glad when his full beard was back in just a couple of days.
This is one of my dad's favorite stories about me.
Do you think any of your childhood routines carried over into your adult life?
This post was inspired by Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robison. Parenting is a challenging job, but what challenges does a parent with Asperger's face? Join From Left to Write on March 12 as we discuss Raising Cubby. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.Add a comment
Growing up, my favorite uncle was my Uncle Ozzie. He was an artist who made album covers, and painted food realistic enough to be on menus and look like the real thing! He was funny, and smart - creative, and hardworking - all the things I held, and still hold in the highest regard. To me, he was magic.
Photo: Artwork by Ozwald Greene, Sr. One of my uncle's album covers from 1983. Discogs.com
Heading up to NY to visit, I would have the song playing over and over in my head, "Weeeeee're OFF to see the WIZARD! The Wonderful Wizard of OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZ! When the hubby and I went to see the screening of Oz the Great and Powerful, I couldn't help smiling, thinking about my uncle, and how amazing he was (and still is) to me. We sat down, 3-D glasses in hand, and I thought about what my uncle's prequel would have been like. I only know the story from the AFTER he got to America, like we know the story of the wizard AFTER he got to Oz. What was he like? What made him want to pursue a career as an artist? What magical sights had he seen or people had he met in Tobago that inspired him to dedicate his professional life to making beautiful things?
Oz the Great and powerful is a prequel to the Wizard of Oz book by L Frank Baum, and presumably the many films, books, and even Broadway musicals based on the original story . Here is the synopsis:
Disney's fantastical adventure "Oz The Great and Powerful," directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum's beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking-that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful wizard but into a better man as well.
I was never a HUGE fan of the 1939 movie - that's the one that we see on TV 99% of the time. I know some people are fanatics over it, but me - not really. I saw the Wiz growing up, and I remember liking it for the music, but being terrified as well. Truth is, it really is no easy story to tell without scaring somebody. Monkeys with wings are just scary. Witches... pretty frightening. Having no heart, no brain, and no courage? Terrifying.
This story starts at what is presumed to be just before the reign of the wizard of Oz that we all know about from books and movies, and what happened to make him the Wizard. The previews sold me on the special effects, and from the time I put on those 3-D glasses, I was pretty impressed. There were some slow parts, and again, I don't love stories of witches and the like. If you are looking for action? Check. Drama? Check. Child friendly fun film? Wait.
These days, if there's a lesson in a film, that's a bonus - and probably not the intention of the film makers. There is a lesson in here somewhere (I think), but one of my takeaways was that a womanizing man can make an otherwise awesome woman into a real... well... witch. I won't spoil it for you, so here's my rundown:
Did it earn the PG rating? Yep. Sure did. Even I jumped a little at some of the action scenes, and no matter how you slice it - witches are scary. You also have some pretty provocative costumes on the witches - heaving bosoms and pleather hot pants aside, it wasn't so bad.
Bottom line, should you go see it? If you are a fan of the Wizard of Oz movie from the 1930's and the book, you may find some really interesting additions that were made in Oz the Great and Powerful (from the book) that were omitted from the well known screen adaptation. The special effects, graphics, and color are all amazing, and the action scenes can get your blood pumping a little.
Should I take the kids to see it? As usual, depends on your kid. I wouldn't simply because I don't like some of the things that are implied. I am pretty tired of the fair eyed, fair haired, "princessy" female character being portrayed as good, while the dark haired, dark eyed, more olive toned female character is portrayed as bad. It gets old, and I think that it shows a lack of creativity to use just white clothes, blonde hair, and a light weak voice to show that someone is good, and dark clothes, dark hair, and a stronger voice to show that someone is bad. I don't know about anyone else's kids, but my kids are smarter than that.
I also don't like the idea of a man just using simple tricks to woo women - like it doesn't take much and that women are stupid. Sure as an adult, I can sift through the mess to get to the entertainment, but kids are highly susceptible to suggestion. With all the amazing special effects and that suggestion is pretty powerful in a movie like this. My little one's won't be seeing this one. The witches and special effects aren't too much for them, but I don't see where it will really add anything to their minds in that two hours that would be better than us reading together, playing outside, riding bikes, or visiting a museum. I'd take the oldest if he asked, and I had time - but I know that he'll miss half the dialogue when Mila Kunis appears in those skin tight shiny pants - that can be distracting for a teenage boy.
More about the movie:
Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff
Director: Sam Raimi
Producer: Joe Roth
Executive Producers: Grant Curtis, Palak Patel, Philip Steuer, Josh Donen
Screenplay by: Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire
Running Time: 130 minutes
When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great and powerful wizard-and just maybe into a better man as well. "Oz The Great and Powerful" is produced by Joe Roth, with a screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Grant Curtis, Palak Patel, Philip Steuer and Josh Donen are serving as executive producers. "Oz The Great and Powerful" opens in U.S. theaters on March 8, 2013.
Disclosure: My husband and I were given passes to see this movie for the purpose of writing a review. As always, my opinions are my own. For more information click on "About".Add a comment
June is Caribbean American Heritage Month!
|Fri Jun 21 @ 6:30PM - 11:59PM|
2013 Caribbean Heritage Salute to Hollywood & the Arts Gala
|Fri Jun 28 @ 9:00AM - |
4th Annual Caribbean Style & Culture Awards & Fashion Showcase
|Sat Jun 29 @ 3:00PM - 11:59PM|
Annual Dimanche Gras - DC Caribbean Carnival Association
|Sun Jun 30 @ 3:00PM - |
Annual Dimanche Gras - DC Caribbean Carnival Association
|Sun Jul 07 @10:00AM - 09:00PM|
Baltimore International Reggae Jerk Festival
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