A few years ago, my son, Snugs McNugget (yes, that’s his real name), walked in on me while I was using the bathroom. He was about four at the time and immediately upon seeing me on the toilet, he inquired, “Are you dropping a deuce?”
When I informed him that I was peeing, he began laughing as though I was a complete imbecile.
Snugs: You pee standing up. You poop sitting down!
Me: Honey, Mommy is a girl. Girls pee sitting down.
Snugs: Where is your penis?
Me: Mommy, doesn’t have a penis. I have a vagina.
Snugs, laughing hysterically: A bagina! What’s a bagina?
Thankfully, he lost interest shortly thereafter and I was spared the need to provide any additional detail.
Now my son is six and a Kindergartner and he’s become interested in understanding where babies come from and the anatomical differences between males and females.
Earlier in the school year, he came home from school and informed me that one of his classmates, Jacob, had seen his sisters “wagenda.”
Me: Her what?
Snugs: Her wagenda. You know, her wagenda (points to his crotch).
Me: Oh…her wagenda. I see.
Snugs: Can I see yours?
Me: No. That would be inappropriate. You should never ask a woman if you can see her wagenda. It’s a private part and remember, it’s important to respect a person’s privacy.
Snugs: I just really want to see one. Jacob said it looks like a butt. Does it look like a butt? Do girls have two butts? Wait, do you pee out of your butt?
I haven’t the slightest idea how to have these conversations.
For the most part, nobody talked to me about this stuff when I was a kid. When I asked my great-grandpa where babies came from, he told me he found me in the yard one afternoon, sitting in a buttercup. And I believed it….for years.
Later, I picked up the general basics from movies and from walking in on my mother having sex with a guy named Ron she met in rehab.
The only other bit of education I got was when my mother said, “Do you want your cooter to smell like a fish stick? No? Then keep your pants on.”
I’m fairly certain the fear of smelling like a Gordon’s fisherman was the reason I preserved my virginity far longer than most of my peers.
So, what amount of information is too much information?
What if my son goes to school and shares his knowledge with other kids, who tell their parents, who then call me and are all like, WTF!?
Honestly, it’s moments like these I feel woefully ill-equipped as a parent and a little bitter about the lack of accurate information I was given as a child.
In most situations, when I don’t know the exact right answer, I say, “We’ll find a book on the subject.”
A quick internet search proved that there are apparently a million choices. Does anyone out there have a recommendation?
Something by Dr. Seuss perhaps….There’s a Wagenda on the Agenda!
Actually, that sounds more like something Mike Pence would write and so no. Just no.
I don’t want my son to grow-up misinformed (except for the whole wagenda thing, I’m going to let that one go for a while), or embarrassed to ask questions he might have about sex. I’d prefer he ask his dad, but whatever.
I’ve convinced him that I know everything and so heavy is the head that wears the crown. I need to deliver. But first, I need book suggestions….
“Imagine all the people, living life in peace.” ~Imagine, John Lennon
About a month or so ago, I was volunteering in my son’s Kindergarten classroom when I noticed that two police cars had pulled up outside.
I watched as my son’s two teachers, one who has been a Kindergarten teacher for more than twenty years and the other, a young woman only a few years into her career, made eye contact and then slowly began making their way around the room, pulling closed the blinds, locking the classroom door and taping dark, thick cardboard onto the windows that would block the view into the classroom from the hallway.
They did this, all while continuing to instruct their five and six year old students through their schoolwork as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening. As I stood there, unsure of what was going on or what I should be doing, the veteran teacher approached, put her arm around me and said, “It’s probably just a drill, but we’re prepared.”
I looked around the classroom. At the tiny little humans hunched over their school work, crayons in hand, chatting with one another while they colored and giggled. I was struck by how truly vulnerable they were.
A lump formed in my throat when I looked at my son and in that moment, though I felt fairly certain that this was, in fact, just a drill, it wasn’t hard to imagine what could happen next if it wasn’t.
My own eyes began darting around the classroom wondering where we would go and how we would hide. I’m not a particularly sensitive or dramatic personality, but I was truly terrified by just the implications the drill represented.
Then, my fear gave way to boiling anger.
The teachers words, “we’re prepared” kept running through my mind over and over and I realized that being “prepared” meant a lot of things.
These women, were prepared to follow the lockdown procedures they had been trained to initiate in the event of an emergency.
They were prepared to guide and protect their students through whatever came next.
And really, they were as prepared as they were going to be, to die; either alongside their students or on behalf of them.
Our teachers aren’t soldiers and yet, we are saying to them, “teach my kid to read and write and also….take a bullet for him.”
And they are. School shootings across the country have proven how brave and selfless our educators are and we’ve done nothing for them in return.
We are fucked up, America. I don’t know how else you describe a nation that continues to prioritize the accessibility of guns and ammunition over the safety of it’s most precious and innocent citizens.
Shame on us for the world we’ve created for them.
Still, I’m a born optimist and I like to believe there is hope for change. I just have little faith that change will come from those who have been complicit in championing the problem.
Instead, I think it will be our kids who effect great change. And when they do, it won’t because of us. It will be despite us.
“To Congress, you are directly responsible for every community that has lost people to gun violence. You have the power to change this and if you don’t we will change you. We will vote you out.” ~Florence Yared, Parkland survivor
“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad and that is my religion.”
When I was growing up, organized religion occasionally entered into various scenes of my life, but it was never present long enough to recruit me into a particular belief system….or to create a spiritual foundation upon which my entire life would be built.
When I was very young and my parents were still married….and my mother was still mostly undercover crazy….we lived in a small, mid-western town where it seemed everyone attended the Methodist church on Sunday mornings, followed by lunch at the only restaurant in town and then home to sit on front porches or to call on neighbors….or recover from serious hangovers….my mom, not me.
After my parents divorced, my mother gained primary custody of my brother and me and promptly moved us away to a suburb on the outskirts of a small city in order to be closer to a guy she met in rehab.
We still attended Church….multiple times a week actually….we just spent all our time in their smoke-filled basements at AA meetings.
We all lived and breathed AA. All of my mother’s boyfriends were guys she picked up at a meeting, or at an AA sponsored social event. Her friends and by extension, our friends, all came from people we met through the program.
It was in those days, that my brother developed an affinity for carrying a purse….he insisted on being Penny from Dirty Dancing any time we played house….we both had a little crush on Patrick Swayze….and he frequently walked to school with a dog turd stuck to the end of a stick to ward off the neighborhood bullies.
As for me, I lied….constantly….and about everything. I told kids at school that I had 13 additional brothers and sisters….but they all lived with my dad because my mother only wanted my brother and me.
I occassionally gave a riveting account of how my grandmother survived the sinking of the Titanic….except she was no where near the Titanic in 1912….in fact, she wasn’t even born yet.
I told people I was a Cherokee Indian….never mind my white blond hair, green eyes and fair complexion.
I convinced my brother that he was adopted and that his real name was Figgendad.
And….did I mention I cursed like a sailor? As a third-grader, I had quite the repertoire of curse words and I wasn’t afraid to use them in social settings with my peers.
“Ready or not, here I come mother-fuckers!”
Perhaps, we could have used a little religion in our lives….albeit a very progressive and open-minded religion. Maybe something like a cult….probably wouldn’t have hurt anyway.
Not too long after my parents divorced, my mother remarried a man named Steve who she met at an AA meeting.
Steve brought to our lives a whole new layer of dysfunction.
That’s a longer story for another time….so for the purposes of this post, I’ll just say he met my mother’s criteria for a mate in the aftermath of my parents divorce….a handful of sobriety chips and an instability greater than her own.
The marriage was essentially doomed from the start. More often than not, they were embattled in vicious fights and my brother and I regularly inserted ourselves into the drama.
As their fights escalated to physical attacks….typically perpetrated by my mother….my brother and I would hurl heavy items at Steve in her defense….trying to buy her the seconds needed to get in a good, swift, kick to his balls or a solid upper-cut….she was our mother after all….and we were like little assassins….constantly shifting our positions to maximize impact.
When the fighting was over, it wasn’t unusual to find shards of coffee cups lying around, or matchbox cars lodged into the drywall….a police cruiser in the driveway.
Every now and then, when the bail was posted and the dust had settled, Steve and my mother would come to the conclusion that we could really use God in our lives and so we would traipse of to church.
It never really stuck though, until one Easter Sunday when our neighbors invited us to attend services at their church. They were Pentecostal, which meant nothing to me….until we filed into the pews and the service began.
While the church choir jammed out to hymnals….accompanied by a small band….a projector displayed the words on a large screen as the congregation stood to sing along. I watched as the people seated around me clapped their hands, tapped their feet, swayed their arms and raised their hands as if trying to catch something imaginary while shouting “PRAISE JESUS!”
The sermon involved a lot of yelling, pulpit smacking and intermittent shout-out’s to the heavens from the incessantly murmuring congregation. It seemed a bit too theatrical and over the top for me and I wasn’t at all drinking the grape juice.
It didn’t matter though, because the next thing I knew, I was in the Youth Group, we were attending Church three times a week and Steve, tone deaf and without the slightest bit of rhythm, had unfortunately joined the choir.
Our deep dive into this new religion did little to change our lives between services though. Whatever lessons we were supposed to be learning were promptly forgotten by Sunday evening when shouts of, “Jesus Christ, you’re a stupid idiot” could be heard ringing throughout our house.
Putting on a show though, that was something the adults could get behind. My New Kids on the Block and DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince cassette tapes were forcibly replaced with Amy Grant and DC Talk.
Car radios were permanently set to various Christian music stations and Steve would warble along loudly while pretending to play a piano on the dashboard, randomly shouting, “Hallelujah!”
Our car sported a chrome fish emblem with “Jesus” in its center and bumper stickers stating things like: “WARNING! In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned.” Leaving me to wonder how God felt about false advertising.
We were just posers though and it didn’t take long before the cracks in our fragile facade began to show.
During services, I mostly sat in the back of the church, where I would be free to read Helter Skelter, or The Stand unnoticed.
The churches teachings on certain topics didn’t ring true for me and my attendance was not voluntary. My lack of enthusiasm during youth group activities and my knack for pointing out hypocrisy, made me less than popular, but I was just a kid.
The weakest link, was Steve.
Unlike my mother, who was content to simply show-up and play along with the crowd, Steve needed to be in thick of things and the center of attention.
He wanted to become a church leader and to sing solo’s during holiday services. He was baptized in the church, which had a baptismal pool in the sanctuary. Unlike the other parishioners, who were quietly baptized and then exited the pool, Steve did a full on Shamu the Whale performance, erupting out of the water and shouting, “Hallelujah!”
Once, in the midst of morning prayers, Steve threw himself into the aisle and began stammering in what sounded suspiciously like Pig Latin. He wailed and sobbed….sinking to his knees….rolling around on the floor and then finally crawling toward the pulpit.
No one in the congregation seemed to be in any particular rush to lay hands on him, like they did when other members of the church were so overcome with the spirit of Christ that they spoke in tongues. Of course, none of them said things like, “raisepa, esusja!”
It was clear that no one was buying what he was selling, which was at least a little comforting to know that these people thought him a fraud, as I found it hard to reconcile the person leaping and prancing in the name of the Holy Spirit, with the guy I caught spying on me while I was taking a bath.
Our stint as Pentecostals eventually came to an end. I’ve never known the full story, only that we were asked not to return. Yup….we got kicked out of Church.
After that, we bailed on the whole organized religion thing and instead adopted an every person for herself approach to spirituality.
It ended up being the best religious education they could have given me. It forced me to find faith on my own and often in places and circumstances where it would have been easy to believe it couldn’t be found.
It was my belief that there had to be a reason and a purpose to my life, that helped me survive a difficult and abusive childhood.
When I was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with my son, faith gave me strength and hope.
And while I’ve personally never looked for God in a Church, or within the doctrine of a specific religious affiliation, I’ve also found I don’t have to.
“She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25.
“Remember the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.” ~Sarah Condor
Yeah….the last time I remember enjoying a good run, was when I was motivated to kick some elementary school ass during my Presidential Physical Fitness Test in the early 90’s.
Since then, not so much.
I’ve tried to like it. There have been many times I’ve gone out and invested in expensive, top of the line running shoes, devised a training plan and envisioned myself crossing the finish line of the Boston marathon. But then I just end up gardening in my expensive, top of the line running shoes and watching the marathon from a bar on Beacon Street.
I just can’t get into it. I have a friend who get’s all kinds of exhilitrated at just the opportunity to discuss her running routine. She prattles on about her runner’s high and the euphoric sense of calm and peace she experiences while running and I’m all
I can always tell who the real runners are vs. the people like me who go out thinking, I’m going to pound out some miles and then end up walking three minutes in, because that shit sucks.
Real runners seem to glide, their strides steady and light, their facial expressions stoic, their breathing, steady.
When I run, I look like a sack full of rocks being dragged across a bumpy road as I desperately suck wind. My facial expression says, “This sucks, I’m bored, I hate every minute of this and it’s only been half a block.”
The thing is, I am totally open to most forms of exercise, but I draw the line at running.
I will hike for dozens of miles carrying a 30 pound backpack up and down mountains for days with a giant smile on my face. I will bike ride for hours. I will Spin and Bootcamp and Booty Build and Muscle Pump and Namaste every day of the week….but I cannot bring myself to jog a lap, let alone a mile.
I know that for most people, becoming a real runner takes time, patience and commitment….but I have none of those things.
In fact, I’m pretty sure if I were ever in a run for my life with someone else, I would probably just trip that person, so that I would be free to casually walk away.
So, when a friend recently asked if I’d like to go for a run, because, “it would be fun,” I looked at her like she had just lost her fucking mind.
“Nope” I said. “But if you want, I can drive along beside you playing something like, ‘Eye of the Tiger.'”
Because even though she’s a damn liar, I’m a good friend.
“To be honest, I’m just winging it. Life, motherhood, my eyeliner. Everything.” ~Unknown
Along with just about every other suburban mom, I worship regularly at the church of Target. But over the years, I’ve perfected the art of going in for one thing and coming out with less than five, so I like to believe this makes me unique among the tribe. Like, some kind of savant.
Anyway, my Target recently went through a small renovation to make way for Joanna Gaines and the implementation of self-checkout.
Personally, I hate self-checkout. If I have to go into the store, do all the shopping and then do all the work of scanning and bagging my purchases, I feel like I should be rewarded with a discount for having saved the business the cost of an hourly associate.
But today, I needed to make an expedited Target run for three specific things. For me, an expedited run means that I quickly grab the things I need and then swing by Bullseye’s Playground. Because c’mon….I don’t have that much self-control.
The section had been largely picked through and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find anything to add to my basket, so I headed toward the check-out, feeling a little disappointed, but then deciding that my cost savings justified a stop at Starbucks on the way out the door. YES!
My Target has something like 127 check-out lanes, but rarely do they open more than two. Most of the time, I don’t care, because there is ample reading material and a wide snack and beverage selection to keep me occupied while I wait.
But today, I just didn’t have the time. I decided I would have to proceed with self-checkout. I approached the register and began following the instructions on the screen. Then, my eyes shifted upward and I caught sight of something so horrifying, I almost dropped dead.
It took me a second to realize that what I was seeing, was MYSELF; reflected back at me through the over-sized security monitor Target found necessary to perch above each register in self-checkout.
I get it Target, it’s a crime prevention thing. I know that when I pull into the parking lot at this particular Target and spot a KIA parked among the Volvo’s, luxury SUV’s and mini-vans, I hold my purse a little tighter and sometimes jog into the store.
And I read the police blotter for this area. I know what kind of community we live in. All those damned by-law violators and that kid who keeps having pizza’s delivered to his neighbor as a prank….total degenerates.
So, I get it. I really do.
However, why is it necessary for me to have to see myself, on a screen the size of a small TV, and without some kind of selfie filter to soften the blow?
Do you not know your target audience, Target? What mom wants to see the enormous bags under her eyes, in HD?
And I swear, my hair looked far less greasy when I left the house this morning, than it looked on your shiny screen, so do you think you could tone down the brightness a tad?
Also, according to my mirror at home, I look a lot slimmer in the “I Love Twinkies” t-shirt I’m wearing today. Which, by the way, I purchased at your store back in 2005 if that gives you any indication as to how deeply my loyalties lie….so, please, consider adjusting the camera to a more flattering angle.
Thanks to your cruelty, I felt like I had to return the Cadbury Cream Egg I planned to eat for lunch. Now I’ll just go hungry and you lost a sale. And good-luck finding that egg, because I most definitely didn’t put it back where I found it.
Lastly, do you know what always makes a person look better? A black and white image. I don’t think you need to be able to see the exact shade of my freckles (fine….age spots) in so much vibrant color.
Honestly, Target, I’m not happy. But, we both know I can’t quit you.
I’ll be back….probably later today, because I saw you were switching out the seasonal items in Bullseye’s Playground, but this is officially your first strike.
5,999,999,999 more and I’ll start shopping Walmart.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~Charles M. Shulz
So, my son started Kindergarten this year and I’m quickly learning that a lot has changed since I made my way through the public school system.
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when people didn’t care all that much about your feelings, so this whole, everybody get’s a Valentine thing is new to me.
When I was in elementary school, I loved Valentine’s Day. I spent days preparing my tacky Valentine’s box with construction paper hearts, feathers, stickers and paper doilies.
On Valentine’s Day, we placed our boxes on our desks and walked around our classroom depositing Valentines and treats into the boxes of our friends. Our enemies could go right on ahead and choke on a box of those chalky conversation hearts for all we cared.
I lived in a really small town and most of the kids in my class were kids I had a history with from prior grades.
I never gave a Valentine to a kid named Olin who had a harelip. Not because of the harelip, but because he cut a chunk out of my hair in Kindergarten and I never let go of a grudge.
I also refused to deposit a Valentine into the box of a kid named Bobby, who used to pick his nose and wipe it on all the girls. To this day, anyone with the name Bobby makes me want to vomit.
And I spent years campaigning to blacklist a girl named Roberta, who beat me up, EVERY DAY, on the playground in second grade. That is, until I told my gramma, who arrived at the school one afternoon during dismissal and confronted Roberta using a variety of clever obscenities none of us really understood, but delighted in repeating whenever possible.
Not only could we exclude our classmates, but because nobody actually looked at the Valentine’s we were passing out, we were free to send hate mail too.
I got a few and I gave a few.
In middle school, we gave up the Valentine boxes and instead we got to purchase candy heart lollipops for fifty-cents in the cafeteria, to be delivered, with a note, to anyone we chose.
Throughout the week of Valentine’s Day, our classes would be disrupted by a knock at the door and the candy courier would walk in and announce who the lucky recipient was. Which of course made the rest of us feel like ugly, unlovable ducklings.
My friends and I sent candy hearts to one another, but mostly I sent them to myself and claimed they were from a secret admirer. I wanted the candy and I wanted to make the other girls jealous.
I also sent one to my seventh grade science teacher, because he was smokin’ hot for a middle-aged science teacher and I hoped to woo him away from his wife and kids, apparently.
In high school, candy hearts were replaced with single stem roses. The concept played out the same way. The roses were purchased for a dollar and delivered throughout the school day. Tables were set up before school, in the hallways between classes and during lunch, allowing ample opportunity for rose purchases.
Girls with boyfriends ended the school day with a dozen roses by final bell. Girls without boyfriends told everyone it was because those girls put out….because it was really the only way to save face when walking through the dismissal crowd without a single rose.
Honestly, all of it sucked. There were years in elementary school when my friends and I got into huge fights over Barbies and who got to be the teacher when we played school. We teamed up against one another and if Valentine’s Day happened to fall during a rumble, things could get ugly.
“Nobody give a Valentine to Laura….she’s bossy and she’s got a knock off Cabbage Patch.”
In middle school and high school, the number of candy heart lollipops and roses you received were symbols of how popular and well liked you were compared to others. Clearly, there was something wrong with you if NOBODY thought you worthy of fifty-cents or a dollar.
So, I think it’s better that kids these days are expected to spread kindness equally on Valentine’s Day.
They’ll have plenty of time as adults to be biter and cynical when the day ends without a bouquet and takeout for one.
“Winning is about taking your opponent’s heart out and squeezing it until all the blood has come out, even the very last drop. There are no prizes for a funny loser.” ~Pete Sampras
I’ve always loved the Olympics. As a kid, I watched my favorite events and imagined myself someday competing among the best in the world for my own Olympic Gold Medal.
The problem was, I didn’t have any talent. At least, not any talent that anyone was willing to encourage, or invest in. And that seems to be a really crucial component to these athletes success.
While the Olympian to be puts in long hours of training and conditioning, the families take on second jobs, relocate to be closer to the best training facilities/coaches, invest in private tutors and set their sights on 20-whatever.
I can’t help but admire that level of commitment. My mother didn’t like to take me to school when it was cold outside. So, there was no way she was going to get up, everyday, and haul me to 4:00am training sessions.
And truly, it’s just as well. My Olympic dreams would have most definitely ended in scandal and my banishment from, probably, all the sports.
I know this, because there was a time when I did have a goal….to make my middle school cheerleading team….and it damn near ended in the death of my math teacher.
My mother had been a cheerleader throughout her adolescence.
Later, after I’d been born, she started a youth cheerleading program in the small Ohio town where we lived and she became the cheerleading director at the local high school.
I served as the mascot, cheering alongside high school girls at Friday night football games.
To the outside world, my mother was a bubbly, adorable little ball of energy. Behind closed doors, she could hurl glass ketchup bottles at my dads head with the speed and precision of a major league pitcher and she had the mouth of a drunken sailor. Actually, the only difference between her and a drunken sailor, is that she wasn’t a sailor.
Later, when our world imploded and the carefully hidden skeleton’s in our closet had been exposed, we moved away and she didn’t try as hard to cover up the crazy.
But cheerleading represented a remnant of our glory days, when we looked and smelled perfect. And I was expected to carry on the legacy and some piece of the ruse.
In my final year of elementary school, it was made clear to students, that we would only be eligible to try-out for sports in middle school, if we ended the year with an acceptable grade point average.
I was a good student when it came to the subjects I liked; Gym, English and History. Otherwise, not so much.
Math and science were always difficult for me. I just didn’t get it and asking for help at home was a risk I wasn’t willing to take.
With a few months left to go in the school year, my math teacher was given the task of passing out the sign-up paperwork for the middle school fall sports teams.
As promised, those who didn’t meet the academic eligibility requirements were not able to take a packet. I was one of those kids.
It wasn’t a surprise. My math and science grades were terrible. I had gotten an “E” in math the previous semester, which was the equivalent of an “F”.
When I’d brought that report card home, my mother looked at it and asked, “What’s E stand for?”
“Excellent.” I replied.
I had almost gotten away with it until she saw the legend key.
I had to get really creative with my part in order to hide the bald spot for that one.
Not matter how much blood, sweat and tears (LITERALLY) I put into improving my math and science grades the balance of that school year, the best I was going to achieve was a D.
But, I’d never told my mother about the academic requirement for middle school sports, so even though she knew my grades were lousy, she was surprised when she found out I hadn’t been given the paperwork.
There was only one thing I could do. Blame my math teacher.
It was either her, or me. And chances were, we’d move again before she got stuck with any of my younger siblings.
Her pain would be short-lived. I still had years to go. So I tossed that woman directly under the bus.
The next day, we screeched into the school parking lot, in our 15 passenger GMC van, with it’s automatic power steps that unfolded when you opened the side door and a bumper sticker that said, “Jesus, Don’t Leave Earth Without Him” on two wheels.
We marched into the office and my mother demanded to see my math teacher. What happened next, is probably being used as role play material in school security training programs all over the country.
Had it happened today, the school would have gone into complete lockdown. The police and SWAT teams would have descended and the incident would have ended with my mother, facedown on the pavement, still shouting obscenities at my teacher, the administration and law enforcement, while someone from child and family services loaded me into a car Ford Taurus and off to foster care.
But this was the early 90’s, when schools were still largely a safe haven for students and teachers in the suburbs.
As my mother ranted and snarled, my math teacher and the school secretary, just a bystander, really, were brought to tears. And I watched, as the innocence died from their eyes that day.
When she was done, my mother left, without taking me with her, of course, leaving me to face the entire day alone….the kid of the woman who had completely lost her shit over seventh grade cheerleading tryout’s.
So you see, it’s really for the best that I was never meant to be an Olympic contender.
I hate to imagine a world where a poor little Michelle Kwan gets squashed by a “rogue” Zamboni during Olympic Trials.
Or, a cute as a button Keri Strug has to vault on an ankle, not injured during competition, but after a slip and fall on a piece of Crisco covered Saran wrap suspiciously placed outside her dorm room door in the Olympic Village.
“I followed my heart and it led me to the Fiestada” ~ Me
Does anyone else out there remember the Fiestada?
If you were a kid in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I’m talking to you.
The Fiestada was an octagon shaped, little slice of pizza-like heaven.
It had a thin, cardboard-like crust and was topped with tomato paste? and tiny pieces of hamburger? and yellow cheese? that kind of all melted/congealed/slightly burned together to form a crispy, but mushy, kind of special goodness.
Had my subsidized school lunch program allowed it, I would have stockpiled my ration all week and blown it all on Fiestada day.
I day-dreamed about how I might score a second helping. I wished the school would announce a contest for which the grand prize would be a lifetime supply of Fiestada’s.
In the lunch room, I scarfed mine down and then circled the cafeteria like a vulture, hoping a classmate might be willing to share.
Are you going to eat that? Are you going to eat the whole thing? What!? How the fuck do you not like Fiestada’s!? Could typically be heard coming from my salivating, Fiestada juice stained grubby little mouth.
I loved them so much, that I once asked the lunch lady for the recipe….and she pointed to a long, white, nondescript box with plain black lettering that said, “Fiestada” and then I just assumed they had been made in Mexico, because they were far too exotic to be American fare.
“I’ll go there someday. I’ll go there and eat my weight in Fiestada’s” I told myself, because I was not a kid without goals.
Some people have cherished memories of home cooked meals, served round a table full of happy family members in a warmly lit dining room….a fire crackling in the background.
I have cherished memories of linoleum flooring, fluorescent lighting and the heart burn inducing, probably ADD causing, artery clogging, early on-set heart disease producing, special little octagonal round of awesome that was….the Fiestada.
To this day, I am so obsessed with recapturing that precious moment, that I have scoured the internet in the hopes of tracking down my beloved.
I’ve found recipes on Pinterest that claim to be an exact replica of the original, but there was nothing “homemade” about what I ate in those days.
I want the original.
The one that sat in the industrial sized freezer of an elementary school cafeteria, safely wrapped in BPA leaden plastic.
But I don’t think it’s meant to be. The best I could find was this thing….made with Whole Grains.