School Days

military-vintage-sailor-pants-300x300Shopping for vintage clothes was for me something of an art. Or maybe a sport.  I had a little talent for it.  When I was a teenager, I almost exclusively wore antique (what we called it then) dresses.  Shirts and coats as well.  The only vintage pants I remember buying were those old high-waisted navy sailor pants.  Those were so friggin’ bitchin.   But they were made of wool and itchy.  I was all about the look though, and an itch I could tolerate for the look.

When I started driving, I would head out to a favorite store on Wilshire in that strange hood just before Santa Monica, near Barrington.  The Junk Store.  A semi-nasty person owned the place and when I tried to purchase my first item there — a black velvet 1940’s coat with big padded shoulders and white, sorry to say, elephant ivory buttons — I was told to go straight home and get a written note from my parents.  

A lot of parents were coming in complaining about and returning their kids’ purchases.  I thought, “WHAT?  My mother loves my style and everything I buy and wear.  I also make my own money and it’s not my parents’ business.”  But I went along with it, and I’m such a goody-goody that I brought back a legitimate note.  I could have gone outside and written my own.  I’m slow.  Everyone went to The Junk Store for the must-have ski sweater and the patchwork quilts.

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meatball.jpgYou know how I made it through sophomore geometry? My mom's meatball sandwiches.

I dreaded geometry. Measures, angles, slopes, points. Coordinates? I thought they were clothes. It didn't help that my class was right before lunch, last lunch, actually, so I never knew if it was the geometry or the hypoglycemia that was causing my sweaty palms and headaches.

Nothing made me feel better than pulling my sandwich out of its paper bag. I'd take a whiff, know instantly it was a meatball sandwich, and give praise for Italian mothers. Then I'd carefully open the crinkly aluminum foil and discover three of my mom's homemade meatballs snuggled lovingly inside of a chewy Italian roll and doused with just the right amount of red gravy. It was as close to Nirvana as I would get, at least until I read Siddhartha.

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p-butter-jelly-torteSchool has barely started yet and the requests and the obligations are already starting. I am not complaining. I love to do and give. I am the first to respond to the emails offering my services. However, I am wondering where the time goes. Didn’t the kids just get out of school? Didn’t we just begin 12 weeks of lazy days, biking at the beach, basketball in the back yard and staying up late playing Apples to Apples and Bananagrams? Oh, how I am going to miss these long, lazy days of summer.

It is now time to return to packing lunches, the morning rush, the dreaded homework, racing to all the after school, extracurricular activities and driving, driving and more driving. This past week was jam packed. I think I spent almost everyday in the kitchen. I somehow managed to survive.

This torte was the last thing on my very long list. Our school has a tradition of welcoming the teachers and the staff back to school with an appreciation lunch. Nothing says “back to school” like Peanut, butter, and jelly” and this torte was may way of saying, I appreciate all that you do for our community and my children.

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muffins.pizza_.jpgI am going to miss our lazy days of summer.  Breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner doesn’t seem as daunting during the summer as it does during the school year.  First of all, I get a bit of help with the prep, the clean up, and my sons culinary suggestions inspire me.

The school year brings it own set of hurdles.  Breakfast and lunch have to be prepared at the same time – unless I can get my act together to prep the night before.  Then there is the after school rush. Piling them into the car only to hurry home, get their homework done, give them a healthy snack, and hustle them to their various after school activities.  Oh boy am I going to miss summer.

For the past few weeks I have been experimenting with a few ideas.  My kids love pizza, but the stuff in the box leaves much to be desired and I just don’t have enough time to make one from scratch – given our schedule and how limited our time is (sadly said).  Solution: pizza muffins.

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tracy_charlotte.jpgThe song you’ll hear after the jump is about driving my daughter Charlotte’s teenage carpool in 1998.  The absolute horror of it.  All I can remember about it was how much I hated it.  Then, today, I was reading through my journal from back then, and come across the following entry. I must have been writing things for Charlotte to read in later years.  She’s 26 now, so Charlotte, this is for you:

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