Whenever we got behind on our lesson plans in elementary school, the teacher would have catch-up day or "ketchup day". The kids would get silly and declare it mustard day, then relish day. Oddly enough, nobody ever called it sauerkraut day. Go figure. Anyhoo, here's the past few days of my un-challenge. Because I'm stubborn that way.
Day 10 – Share your favorite recipe (or two)
Servings: depends on how much you make, and how big you want the portions
Total time: 5 months
I made this soup up one year, and now I have to bring it every Thanksgiving. I do not use recipes, so it is a bit different each year. The family doesn't seem to notice or care, just as long as there is some version of this soup. When I did the Thanksgiving day retrieval that resulted in my twins, I had to run home to pick up this soup before heading out to see my family.
Anyway, here's the soup method:
In July, cook off some Jersey corn. When corn is cooled, remove from the cob and freeze in a vacuum sealed bag. Keep it there until November. On the 4th Thursday in November, cook some coarsely chopped bacon in a big stockpot. Remove bacon to a plate with a paper towel. Drain the fat but leave the bacon-ey goodness that is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add some olive oil and leeks, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, carrots and celery. While this is all cooking down, roast some butternut squash with salt and pepper. Don't skip this part, because it makes the soup so much richer and more flavorful. Once the squash is roasted, add it to the pot with the leeks. Then add most of the frozen corn and a chipotle in adobo or two. Throw in some chicken stock and let it cook a little while. Puree. Add cream to taste. Remember that it is Thanksgiving and the meal is supposed to be super indulgent, so don't skimp on the cream. It will taste good. Garnish with the bacon and reserved corn.
Day 11 – In what ways does being a lesbian/2-mom family impact your experience of parenting?
Like others have already said, I think we have a more egalitarian parenting style because there are no set roles for us to play. We've both just taken on the tasks that we like best. She drives, I cook. I brush the kids' teeth, she clips their nails. I didn't realize how truly evenly the work of parenting was divided until we spent some time with my stepsister, her husband and their two sons. The guy hardly lifted a finger to help with his kids!
Day 12 – Tell us about the first time you got drunk (as far as you can remember…)
Really drunk, was my first year in college. I had joined the rugby team because that's what you do if you're gay and go to a womens college. The team drank a LOT. I made the mistake of going to the first rugby party right on time, so only the hostess (a senior) and her friends who were helping her set up were there. I was shy, so I drank to have something to do, and because the drinks were being offered. We stood in a circle and drank (pounded) mind erasers. Suddenly the world was spinning, and everything was funny. Somehow I made it across campus to another party. It was so much fun. My first hangover was far less fun.
Day 13 – Tell us about the best job you ever had, and the worst
Don't think I've had my best job yet. My worst was working at one of the big casinos on a reservation. I worked in a windowless kitchen in a fast paced, low price restaurant with a small, boring menu. I hated that everything was so regimented there, and I hated not being able to see the light of day for the entire time I was at work. The pay was pretty low. For the first time in my life, I was working not just with other teenagers, but with people who had families to support. It was hard to know that they were making the same measly check I was. The only good thing about the job was that we shared a space with an authentic Chinese restaurant (jellyfish and chicken feet on the menu). The guys in the Chinese restaurant were really into French Fries, which we had on our menu. They would trade us yummy stuff for a plate of fries.
Day 14 – How do you typically dress? How do you (or would you) like to dress your kid(s)?
Because I've never liked my body, and because I am afraid of making a giant fashion misstep, my style has usually been pretty simple. Jeans and a plain-ish shirt. I'd rather not draw attention than show up on "What Not to Wear". Recently I've been trying to branch out a bit, because I find that I feel better about my appearance if I put a little more effort in. I've found that I actually like wearing dresses and skirts! And I don't really like prints. Which is good, because Elizabeth does like prints, and we don't want to be one of those twinsie couples.
How do I dress my kids? I try not to go too boyish or girly, but their styles are not exactly neutral. They each have their own clothes and don't share anything except onesies. I like polos for the boy, because he has a giant pumpkin head and t-shirts can get too stretched out. I don't like sports or cars for him, but he looks great in robots and monsters (especially since his nickname is monster). Baby girl looks good in bright, bold colors. Especially yellow, and blue because it matches her eyes.
Day 15 – What was your college experience like? Were you involved in any clubs, groups, etc?
I loved college. I specifically chose the place I went to because it was very gay friendly. I had known I was gay since middle school, so I was eager to be out. In high school, I had an insecure, controlling best friend who didn't "allow" me to socialize with others, so college was a chance to actually make friends. I joined all of the gay clubs, and was co-chair of the LBA. (This is before the "T". I went to a womens college, so there was no "G".) I joined the rugby team. I socialized and occasionally paid a little attention to my classes. On the days when I'm bored at work, I kick myself for not taking college more seriously because I think if I had, I might have found a career path I liked more.
Day 16 – How many friends do you have in real life that you talk to regularly? How many friends do you have that you feel are ‘true blue’ and how long have you known them?
Only one, and she lives out of state. For all the friends I made in college, we drifted apart after graduation. We made a lot of new friends when we moved to our current location for Elizabeth to go to grad school, but there was a mass exodus when the twins were born. The friend who excitedly told pregnant Gayby Rabies that she'd come by EVERY WEEK to walk our dogs once the kids were born has shown up exactly zero times. The friend who said she'd love to babysit has not seen them since they were 2 months old. I knew things would change since we were the first of our social circle to have kids, but I didn't expect it to be so sudden. I am so, so happy that we had twins, because it gave us the opportunity to join a local mothers of multiples group. We've started meeting new people through the group, and I know they won't abandon us because we have kids. I think we'd be at a loss on how to meet people and very lonely right now if we had a singleton.
Day 17 – (for parents) What is your favorite thing about parenthood? Your least favorite?
I love seeing their personalities develop. They are such interesting little people, with such distinct personalities even from a very early age. My least favorite is that I know there will times when I have to be the bad guy for their own good. Like when they make that pouty face because I won't let them stand in the bathtub, or eat sand.
Day 18 – How do you feel about astrology? What’s your sign, baby, and do you think it matches your personality?
I don't really believe it too much, but it's fun. I think everyone likes a chance to talk about themselves and analyze their friends. The twins and I are all Leos. Elizabeth is a Taurus. Leos have a reputation for being bossy and opinionated. I suppose that's true, because the babies and I totally rule the house. Elizabeth is only in charge of the dogs. :)
Day 19 – How do you (and your partner if applicable) feel about PDA?
I feel like I'm always very conscious of who is around me. I live in a liberal state, so it's not like I need to worry too much. Still, I find myself looking over my shoulder before I give her a kiss or hold her hand. I wish it weren't that way.
Day 20 – What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? Did you repay the kindness?
A lot of people have done kind things for me. The thing that comes to my mind is when I was helped by a stranger. It always amazes me when people help you even when there is nothing in it for themselves, and they know they'll never see you again.
I was a sophomore in college, and I got a call that my grandfather had just had a heart attack. I raced home to be with my mother and brother. By the time I got home, my mother her siblings had started gathering at her father's house, which was a few hours away. They were all sure it was the end. She told my brother and I we didn't need to come. But we decided to go anyway and left late at night. As we started getting closer, we realized that neither one of us knew exactly how to get to the hospital. We asked for directions at a toll booth, and got off at the next exit. The hospital was eerily quiet. We finally found an information desk, and asked for information on our grandfather. The woman at the desk said there was nobody by that name at the hospital. My brother nearly lost it thinking we were too late. Then a doctor getting off his shift noticed us and asked if we were okay. Somehow in the conversation, we realized we were at the wrong hospital. So he met us in the parking lot, and drove ahead of us and led us to the right hospital. From there he worked his doctor connections and found out where our grandfather's room was, and got us permission to go to the ICU to see him. As we walked down the hall to his room, he explained everything to us and told us about our grandfather's condition. He prepared us for seeing him hooked up to lots of wires and machines, and told us that his prognosis was good. And just as quickly as he appeared in the lobby of the first hospital, he said goodbye and left. We had been so preoccupied with my grandfather, that I never got the doctor's full name. He spent about an hour with us, after what was surely a long day at work and really helped put us at ease. Nearly 15 years later, I am still so grateful.
Day 21. What child(ren)’s names do you like that your partner hates and thus you could never use?
If there are any names I liked that Elizabeth hated, she was too polite to tell me. The name she got stuck on for a long time that I could never use was Wendell. Poor kid would get beaten up every day with a name like that!
Day 22 – What is your most beloved childhood memory? What memories are you trying to create (or will you try to create) for your child(ren)?
I loved having lazy summer days with my brother. We were totally unsupervised and would spend all day playing outside or swimming at "the crane" (our name for this place that was really sketchy now that I am remembering it as an adult...there were these cranes and bulldozers at a small sand quarry near the railroad tracks. The pit would fill with water, and the two of us would just jump in there and go for a swim!) We liked to make forts and we'd try to catch rabbits with that box propped on a stick tied to a string thing that you see in cartoons. I hope that my kids will have a good relationship with each other. I hope I can get them to play outside, and I hope I will not be the type of parent to hover too much. Oh, and I want a yard where I can grow raspberries for them. I used to love having raspberries growing in the yard as a kid.
Day 23 – What are your favorite activities to do with your kid(s)?
Eating dinner. The rush of getting everyone out the door to work and daycare in the morning does not leave much time to enjoy each others company. At dinner, we get to sit down and relax. We've just started all sitting down together, letting the kids eat what we eat, although their version is usually modified somewhat. It means we're eating a lot earlier than we'd like, but I really love having the time as a family. I love that they're being introduced to new foods too. I'd really hate it if we had the kind of kids who only ate chicken nuggets.
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