Friday, July 23, 2010

Awkward Moment

The bear and I went to the mall today with some of my girlfriends and their kiddos. We got to the mall early because sunshine was having the most clingy, whiney morning of the century. She followed me around whining for over an hour, so we left an hour earlier than we usually do for our mall play date.

We pulled up just before 10:00, and we took a tour with the Mall Walkers before settling into the play area. My friends weren't there yet, but there were a couple other moms there, so I chatted it up with one of them whose four-year-old couldn't get enough of Drue. The mom was concerned that I was annoyed, but I tried to assure her I wasn't. (I was a little. A very little.)

Another mom came into the play area and sort of joined our conversation. Then when the first mom left, the other sat with me and continued talking. I'm fine with that. I've always loved talking to strangers. She was kind. She gave Drue a ball to play with, and Drue was having a blast. Where it got awkward was when this mom started disciplining all the children in the play area.

OK, let me not exaggerate. This mom was simply concerned for good behavior. But when another little girl smacked Drue, this mom started talking very loudly so that the other mother could hear: "That little girl just hit your daughter. Did you see that? She just hit her in the face? Why would she do that?"

OK. This made me nervous. In my head I'm thinking, Shut up! Don't you know the othe mom can hear you? How embarrassing. This isn't that big a deal. They're tiny little people. Drue's not even that upset.

But I went back and kept smiling and let her talk and acted like everything was good, because generally it was. Then out of the blue (and I mean out of the blue; we were talking about something else entirely, and she just changed the subject with this), the woman started, in her own way, trying to witness to me. At this point she'd already praised my daughter and asked me, "Do you take her to church? Is she around other children?" to which I'd responded, "Why yes." But now she tells me a story of answered prayer and I feel like she is just wanting to make sure I'm a Christian, because if I'm not, she's going to share the gospel with me right this second.

OK. This makes me feel a number of emotions, two of which are guilt and annoyance.

A little time passes, and I get ready to leave because my friends aren't there yet, and Drue is hungry and getting tired, but then my friends show up, so I come back and give Drue a banana in the play area (against the rules!), and this mom is so happy I've come back, or so it seems by her smile and the way she greets me.

But uh oh. The same little girl who hit Drue the first time (she had actually done it twice at this point) hit Drue again. And again, I didn't see it. And again, when I did look over, Drue wasn't that upset. But the only reason I did look over was because when it happened, the lady got up, rushed to the scene of the crime and started scolding the mom whose daughter hit mine. I am not kidding: scolding. Loudly.

The poor other mom tried to keep this mom from disciplining her daughter and rushed her over to me and Drue to apologize. The whole time I'm hoping she doesn't think I'm with the mom who just yelled at her. We told the little girl we forgave her, and I told the mom she was sweet to do that. That it wasn't the end of the world. (She was upset.)

I didn't say anything to the scolding mom, but when she started telling other children they needed to say please and, specifically, telling my friends that they needed to discipline their children for playing too rough or taking the ball that Drue was supposed to be playing with, I was out of there. In fact, two out of the four of us were out of there. We'd been there long enough, so it was all good. But I'm writing all of this because I'm curious: how would you have handled the situation?

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Life

Blah. Too busy to post. Every day I think of something I want to write about on this here blog, and every day I'm too busy or tired of the computer to write it.

Gotta go clean a poopie diaper.

P.S. This doesn't mean I'm quitting writing. By no means.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I Should Blog; I Haven't Blogged In Days

Tomorrow is my ONE shot at talking PW with my students (that's "professional writing" to all you ignoramuses). I have been laboring over what to talk about. How does one boil an entire major into one barely-introductory lecture?

I've been talking on basic story forms and formats. How to write a basic news story, a feature story, a piece for broadcast, a blog, a piece for the web. How to write a lead/lede, a headline, a summary. How to think like a "backpack journalist" (i.e., a journalist with lots of tricks up her sleeve; i.e., a journalist who can look at a body of information, including words, video, photos, etc., and decide how best to communicate the story). So I thought: I'll boil it down to the five modes of discourse.

From fastest to slowest they are: narrative summary, dramatic action, dialogue, description and exposition.

So tomorrow morning at 8:30 I'll be talking about these, albeit briefly, and my students will probably (all but three of them) be snoozing. Actually, no, I won't stand for that. This is PW Day. The ONE PW Day. I will walk around the room and pound desks with my fists if there are heads dropped.

Still, with such a great major that encompasses so much, talking about the five modes of discourse does sound kind of lame, doesn't it?

P.S. Nobody does exposition better than Arrested Development narrator, Ron Howard.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Me Versus Chocolate: Me Wins

The cupcakes were a hit, and I hope so because they take a lot of prep. A lot of prep for me, that is. Here are a few photos along my journey. And by the way, these are Martha Stewart cupcakes, so you can expect the best.

First, the cupcakes, which are Devil's Food made with a cocoa solution (I like to call it that), butter, white sugar, eggs, sour cream, flour, the usual powder and soda, vanilla, salt and love.

I started making a mess early...

...but found time to clean between majors. For example, I made the cocoa solution first (hot water whisked with cocoa powder), got the butter and sugar melting...

...then cleaned up what I'd messed up to that point.

Once the butter-sugar mix is melted (yum)... drink it all. Just kidding. You dump it in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-low speed until cooled (4-6 minutes). Oooooh, the smell. Reminds me of the movies, all that butter.

While that's mixing, put together your dry mix and measure out a cup of room-temperature sour cream. Oh, your 4 eggs should be sitting out too. Room temperature, people. Aaaand the oven is pre-heating to something. ;)

Once the mixture is cooled, mix in 1 heaping Tbsp vanilla and one egg at a time, each until combined. Then the cocoa solution. Mmm... Love watching it swirl together. Wish I had a pic.

Turn the beating speed to low and mix in half the dry mix, the sour cream, and the rest of the dry mix, each until combined. Then pour that yummy mixture into 32 lined muffin tins and eat at least a quarter cup yourself before washing out the mixing bowl. (Fill each cup 3/4 full.)

They'll turn out like this. (Can you tell I had too much fun taking pictures?)

I was lucky enough to be gifted with three wire cooling racks when we married. I love them and use them often. Once the cupcakes have entirely cooled, you can start thinking about making the ganache frosting. Then you can start making it.

Pour a pound or so of yummy chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.

Heat lots of heavy whipping cream and a quarter cup ligh corn syrup over med-high heat until just simmering and poor the mixture over the chocolate (whilst singing, "There is no life I know that compares with pure imagination...")...

...and stir...

...(you're walking into the candy room, the chimes are chiming)...

...(you're walking the steps with Willy Wonka and just about to crunch into a lemon flower cup)...

...(aaaaaand, chocolate river).

"Do not over stir."

Unfortunately, I tried frosting the cakes too early. This was was a bit runny. But still delicious.

A couple more runs of cooling and stirring, and we were ready.

Pure deliciousness.

I had a lot of fun dipping the cakes into a bowl of chocolate, colored sprinkles. They didn't cover entirely but with the swirls of frosting. Delightful.

Now if only I'd taken them to a party of youths instead of a party of adults. They would have been eaten. (I think we brought at least a dozen back home, AFTER leaving at least a dozen at the party.) Ah well. More for me!