Tag Archives: new orleans

A Mother’s Confession (Spoiler: It involves cake.)


I went to the grocery store yesterday. I ran there alone to grab a few items to restock a household that has been existing on stocking stuffer food, Christmas presents from places like Harry & David and Hickory Farms and, if I’m being completely honest, canned goods that have probably been here since before we moved in seven years ago. It was time for some fresh produce … and foods that don’t taste like peppermint, gingerbread or pumpkin. (Not that I’m knocking that delicious trinity.) So I popped into the neighborhood store intent on grabbing fruit, vegetables, milk, a rotisserie chicken and, of course, a king cake.

I’m just going to assume you know what a king cake is.

Fine. (rolling eyes) It’s a “sweet, sugary and iced Danish type dough that is braided with cinnamon inside and a plastic doll underneath. King Cakes are made of a cinnamon filled dough in the shape of a hollow circle. They have a glazed topping and are sprinkled with colored sugar. Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season.” (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

King cake season starts right as the Christmas season ends (January 6) and runs through Mardi Gras Day. And here it was … January 11th, 5 whole days into the season … and my poor children STILL hadn’t had any king cake yet this year.* By New Orleans standards, this oversight puts me only a few clicks above Joan Crawford. (Please get that reference.)

To preserve my reputation as a loving mother, I went to the bakery section of the store to find the king cakes. There were two kinds. Which meant I had a decision to make. And this was an IMPORTANT one. Because it was about cake. To help me decide, I opened the boxes to examine the cellophane-wrapped cakes inside. Even though they were marketed as the same size, one was clearly bigger and more icing-laden than the other. “Well, THAT was easy,” I thought, placing the cake into my basket.

Then I saw something new on the shelf.

The store was actually selling individually-wrapped slices of that same delicious king cake. For years, I’ve been wishing stores, bakeries and coffee shops would package them this way (for the closet king cake eater on the go). “Finally!” I said aloud in the grocery store, probably to the dismay of several confused passersby.

I reached down to grab two that I could put into my kids’ lunches this week. “They’re gonna LOVE this,” I thought, praising myself for being an innovative genius. But in the middle of the applause in my head, I heard the familiar sound of a needle scratching across a record. (Please get THAT reference, too.)

“There’s only one left?!!?” I said, resuming my public conversation with myself. But then I smiled. If I was a cartoon character, a lightbulb would have appeared over my head. I picked up the single piece of cake and tossed it into the basket next to the full cake. I didn’t think about it again until I was in the check out line and I overheard the cashier talking to the bagger. “We still have some of these?” she asked.

I looked up from my phone to see her holding the individually-wrapped slice of cake. Then I interrupted them, “Well, you DID. That’s the last one. Of course, I have TWO kids so I really wish you had one more.”

“So what are you going to do with this one? Just let them fight it out?” the bagger asked, laughing and giving the cashier a why-is-this-woman-even-talking-to-us kind of look.

“No,” I explained very matter-of-factly. “That one is now for ME. Problem solved. But I need to eat it in the car on the way home.”

The two young female employees both looked at each other like *I* was the crazy one. “Why??” one of them finally asked.

I sighed before answering. “Because …” I spoon-fed the young fools, “if no one knows that I already had a piece, I can guiltlessly partake of the big cake with everyone else.” (And yes. I did say partake.)

I got it. I know YOU get it. The two mothers behind me got it. They even commended my efforts and decided to buy themselves Snickers bars for their own ride home. But I don’t think the two employees got it.

Of course, I could have mothered either one of these young girls. They’ve never had to give away their own food because a child is looking at it in a yours-looks-SO-much-better-than-mine-and-I’m-going-to-have-a-meltdown-if-you-don’t-let-me-have-it kind of way. They’ve never had to deny their children seconds while they secretly shove another helping/slice/scoop/hunk into their own mouths in the kitchen. And they’ve probably never had to pretend that one piece is “plenty” because they’re such ladies that they “couldn’t eat another bite!”

Please. It’s cake.

Who doesn’t want seconds?

So there. I confessed. Now, everyone knows about the extra slice of king cake I ate yesterday. Well, except my family.

Can YOU keep a secret?

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*Correction: After this post went “to press,” my daughter assured me that, prior to the cake purchased in this story, she had already had king cake once before this year. Further, she informed me that she had gotten the much-sought-after plastic baby within it. Guess we’re buying the next cake.

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You are Cordially Invited to the 2nd Annual #FootballForWomen Twitter Party


Curtain up! Light the lights!
You’ve got nothing to hit but the heights!

(Noticing that all of your eyes just rolled in unison) What? I know that’s a theater reference. Duh, it’s from Gypsy. What am I … an idiot? (pregnant pause, as in third trimester) Well, actually, I kind of am. At least when it comes to football. But we’ll just keep that between us. That’s why I had a little fun last year on Superbowl Sunday while at a friend’s football viewing party by hosting my own private #FootballForWomen party on Twitter. Actually, it was how I first got to know my friend Mel that I’m always writing about here at ODNT. Plus a whole mess of other certifiably crazy delightfully funny people, too. It was a small group but we laughed our asses off that day.

So I’m doing it again … this time with Mel as my co-host! (‘Cause she’s way better at making those fancy napkin sculptures.)

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This  year, we rented extra chairs and I’m doubling our hot wings order. Plus, I heard Mel’s bringing a chocolate fountain. So we’re hoping to see lots of new faces at the party. Anyone and everyone is invited. Even the boys. It’s the one place you can be this Sunday where you can make fun of a player’s haircut or the way he puts his hand on his hip every time he stands on the sidelines.

So, like I said last February, “If you’re on Twitter and you’re sitting around Sunday confused … or bored … or just seeking a laugh between plays, look for us on #FootballForWomen. It’s sort of like #shitgirlssay, football-style. And don’t be afraid to put in your (Kick it through the thing!! Kick it through the thing!!) two cents.”

GOOOOOO, FOOTBALL GUYS!


* * * * * Got five seconds? * * * * *

Please click that FANCY PANTS PINK BALL (above) to visit the Circle of Moms site and vote for ODNT for Top 25 Funny Moms.

I need this, people! I just outed myself as a total football spaz.

vote daily ’til February 13. Thanks!

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My Class Reunion was Last Night. I went as myself.


If you’ve been paying attention at all around here lately, you know that last night was my high school reunion. Class of Nineteen Numbery-Something. I went to an amazing high school. Attending there was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. And you guys know that decisions & I? Well, we just don’t get along at all.

My old alma mater ranks consistently as one of the Top Public High Schools in the Nation by U.S. News and World Report. Honestly, I wouldn’t think our state would even be acknowledged in a list of this kind.

But anyway, last night was great. I went with an old friend who lives nearby who, as it turned out, was also dateless for the evening. (Eat your hearts out, Alec Baldwin, Andrew McCarthy, Steve Martin, Jim Gaffigan, John Stamos, Jimmy Fallon, Howard Stern, Neil Patrick Harris, Zach Braff AND Ellen DeGeneres. You were ALL invited … and YOU chose not to come with me. But it was YOUR loss ’cause we all got t-shirts and koozies. Plus, the fish was killer.)

The event itself was only three hours. And yet I somehow managed to make my evening nearly ten hours long. My feet have never hurt as much as they did when I got home last night. Can I really say night though? In homage to my carefree high school days, I drove through McDonald’s on the way home for a little late-night snack. Imagine my surprise when … as I tried to order a chicken sandwich … the voice over the loudspeaker said, “Ma’am, we’re only serving breakfast right now.” I think I paused only about three seconds. “Okay, fine. Hash brown, egg & cheese biscuit, Diet Coke …”

I want to thank most sincerely the fellow classmate who planned the whole evening, more or less singlehandedly. You know who you are and I won’t embarrass you by listing your name in a blog with the word ‘tits’ in it without your permission. You and your hardworking minions threw a helluva party. Thanks for all of your efforts.

Here’s my only suggestion to improve upon our next reunion. The spouses need to have different nametags than the graduates. Please! I walked up to at least three people last night, greeted them with a big smile and blathered on about how good it was to see them again. I guess the blank stare and the “Um, dude. I don’t know you. I’m married to so-and so” should have stopped me the first time. Will I ever learn? Sigh. So, let’s help the stupid people like me next time, okay?

Oh, and I also want to thank my uterus for cooperating with my whole all-white ensemble thing I went with for the evening. I lucked out. Plus, there were no buckets of pig blood anywhere at our event so I was good to go with the white. I guess that’s only cool to do at your prom. In the 70s. On the big screen. Whatever.

Before I go, I want to send my gratitude, a love letter really, to the institution where it all started a few (cough, sputter) years back in New Orleans.

Dear Ben Franklin High School,

It’s been a lot of years now since I checked you off as my first choice on that all-important high school preference form in eighth grade. I was attending a (very) Catholic grade school at the time and all but one other student from my class (it was great seeing you last night, C) was continuing on with a Catholic high school experience. I had no idea of the big changes that lay ahead for me. My own mother was my eighth grade teacher, for Pete’s sake.

I can remember entering the school that first day, a very old and very dilapidated structure in a prime New Orleans location near the corner of Carrollton and St. Charles. The building was more than a hundred years old and had once served as a city courthouse. There was NO AIR CONDITIONING. That was quite an adjustment. And, for the first time in nine years, I did not have a uniform on. I had a little money in my pocket of my hopefully at least somewhat stylish attire for lunch time, when we all got to leave campus on foot to eat at Burger King, Eat’s, Flame ‘N’ Burger or one of the many other fattening-but-who-cares-because-I-was-only-fourteen options around the school.

And then there were the students. Kids with all kinds of chains … and piercings … and frightening, twelve-inch, hot glue mohawks threatening to impale me as I walked through the halls. The school even had its own smoking section. (Yes, I AM serious.) To this day, I still cannot smell the scent of a clove cigarette without thinking about high school. Not that that particular odor permeates my day-to-day life anymore.

The chasm between the sheltered existence of my grade school and the freedom and colorful experience that was Franklin was enormous. And it was a lot for me to absorb initially. I can remember my mother suggesting that we “just try it for a month” and, if I still didn’t like it, we could try somewhere else. A pretty generous offer that I’m not sure I’ll be making to my kids. She knew I just needed to push myself a little. Still, she left the safety net in place. Just in case. Thank you, Mom, for that.

As you can imagine, when the month passed, I was all in. I’d already made many new friends who would go on to become my college roommates, wedding party, lifetime confidants and really just some of the finest men and women I know today. I still can’t believe I even managed to get into let alone stay in a school of this caliber.

I love it. I miss it. And I credit it immensely for shaping me to be the person I am today. I’m pretty sure that, without it, I wouldn’t be the same sometimes-unusual, often-unfiltered, enigmatically-extroverted person writing a blog about her own boobs, the Alec Baldwin stalking incident and even the occasional bout of depression. Thanks for everything you’ve given me, especially the fond memories I am still making with the great group of people with whom I just spent my entire evening.

I’m already excited about the next one, y’all,

Michele

One more thing … I’m including one of my favorite pictures from last night. It’s of me and my old friend, our Junior Class President. He’s now a Rabbi. Oh, and he’s 6’5” so, naturally, I was standing on a chair. (Yes, I have his permission to post it. He is hands down the coolest Rabbi I know.)

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I saw a movie today but I’m not reviewing it, so why even read this post?


I did something I NEVER do today. I saw a movie (a BIG one, I might add) on its opening day. I’d give you three guesses as to the movie but, the way I’ve been carrying on lately, I’m sure you know it was Hunger Games. No, I did not stand in line with a bunch of teenagers at midnight. I went with a group of friends, the same ones I mentioned in my second prequel post.

We are adults. So, we did it in a very civilized way. We purchased our tickets in advance for a very upscale, modern theater in New Orleans, where you have to be 18 to enter. Their tagline is Gourmet Food. Full Bar. Luxury Seating.  I took advantage of all three.

We settled into our oversized comfy chairs (akin to the quality of first class air travel) and pressed a button for the waitress. Jen and I split the cheese plate, described as a selection of four cheeses served with breads and fig mostarda, assorted flatbread and crackers.  I also ordered the Angelo Brocato’s Italian Cookie Plate because I’m a sucker for fig cookies. And, for my beverage, I wanted The Dawn Patrol (house-made fig brandy, Patron Citronage Orange Liqueur, sour mix, splash of house-made vanilla cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup and satsuma twist) to complete my Trifecta of fig cuisine. But, alas, they were out of the necessary brandy so I opted for a Trivento Malbec and sat back to wait for the movie.

The food arrived for most of us almost immediately so we began eating (a difficult task, considering it was knife and fork fare and we were in near darkness) over the movie trailers.  I saw one for Dark Shadows, a Tim Burton movie featuring none other than Johnny Depp, that I filed away for my summer wish list. Then, I saw another, the most unusual today, for something called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Let me just say … I SO wish I had thought of this movie title. It would also be a great name for a band, wouldn’t it?

Anyway … jumping ahead majorly … I really enjoyed the movie, for which I sat on the edge of my seat the majority of the time.  Even though, unlike (almost) ever before in my lifetime, I had actually read the book first and thus knew what was going to happen. Except, of course, when the screenplay strayed from the original story.

The question … Was it as good as the book?  The answer … Is it ever?

There’s always far too much that needs to be omitted when something is culled down from the page to the screen.  Much must be sacrificed. But, then again, the movie affords you the delight of seeing some of the fictional characters come to life through real people like Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz. I so loved all of them in this movie.

Am I going to tell you anything else about the movie? 

Absolutely not. This story is one that no one wants spoiled for them.  I’ve literally shushed and been shushed by total strangers when discussing the book in public. It’s a cult. And I’m a kool-aid drinking, tambourine-beating, bald girl selling flowers at the airport.  I’m all in.

One last thing though … to the women in the ladies room after the show, the main character’s name is KATNISS EVERDEEN, not Candace Aberdeen.  If you read the book, you’d know that. (Look at me … getting all uppity about book learnin’.)

Haven’t seen it yet? Let me tempt you …

Thanks, Ashley, Vanessa, Jen, Melissa and Mignon, for bringing me today.

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And another (more grievous) entry for the weekend challenge


Like last weekend, I had to write just one more, diametrically opposed entry for Trifextra’s Weekend Challenge. The only rules here are that the submission needs to be 33 words exactly and it should best demonstrate (of all entries) the proper use for an exclamation point. So, without further ado, I give you entry two for the weekend … entitled A Bullet Not Dodged.

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It was the morning after the storm.  The hotel had already started handing out champagne when he entered and tried to speak over the revelry. Fighting inevitable tears, he bellowed, “The levees broke!”

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A special NOTE from ODNT … I think I might have bent the rules a little with this submission.  I’m new to the challenge but I believe all of the writers are submitting works of fiction, which this one is not. My family of four (along with my extended family and all of our friends) were pushed out of New Orleans almost seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina.  Our home was located in one of the many neighborhoods completely destroyed by the storm.  I am lucky that my kids were babies at the time, 5 and 3, and thus have little memory of everything.  I wish I could say the same, though I usually remember everything as though it was someone else’s story.  My family is just fine now, living in a new home (never before flooded) only 2.96 miles from my old front door. I have written about the experience a bit over the years (even had some of it published) but have never mentioned much here on the blog.  One day, I’m sure I will.

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