Reasons to be cheerful

Three years ago, things happened on this day that will forever make it an infamous anniversay in our family. It was the day everything changed. Because this was the day that our oldest son had a stroke.

Our first night in the PICU at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I was talking with one of the wonderful doctors who was caring for our son. She appeared to be a bit older than me, and told me that she had two almost-grown daughters, and two much younger ones, just entering elementary school. I asked her, when you see all that you see in your work, how do you process it and not bring it home? And she said two things:

1. But for the grace of God, there go I…


2. This is why sometimes, in my house, we have ice cream for breakfast.

And I knew at that moment on the second day of our son’s 40-day hospitalization that ice cream for breakfast would be our tradition on every February 26.

Except that this morning, NO ONE WANTED ICE CREAM!  Oldest son doesn’t “do” breakfast normally, and wants very much to ignore this dubious occasion, and really, can ya blame him? Middle son said he would have ice cream but because we had no mint chocolate chip in the freezer, he would pass, thanks. (Gosh, SORRY!) Curt and I? Not big ice cream eaters anyway, so we declined. And The Peezer? Well, if no one else is eating ice cream, why on earth would we offer it to the four year old, who has no context?

So, today started out much like any other, except for two things:

1. Today was Curt’s last day (finally!) at a job that, for many reasons, has been stressful for him and for us, and

2. I was invited to a casting interview with the Planet Green show, Emeril Green! Yes, THAT Emeril. From The Food Network. He has a new show, now in its second season, on Planet Green, which is a Discovery channel, and Discovery’s headquarters is in Maryland, and thus they are drawing on Washington, DC-area residents to play the role of  “real people who have real culinary challenges.”

So, I marched my real-people ass over to The Willard Office Building, just down the street from the White House (alas, no glimpses of the First Family), and met with a really nice guy named Adam.  We were in a small office, just Adam, me, and his webcam.  Adam had me stand up against a plain wall (that was painted in what I’m sure was a most unflattering shade of gold/green) and answer questions. How old are you? (Why does that matter?) What do you do? (You mean, when I’m not sweeping up the dog’s tumbleweeds or yelling at my kids to do their homework?) What is your culinary challenge?


I had to think about that one, but I had been warned ahead of time to be prepared for this question. I ended up going with, it’s thrifty and less wasteful to take a whole chicken, as opposed to buying separate parts, and turn it into a meal. But what can a girl do with a whole chicken that’s not just the traditional roast chicken with stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy?  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

Adam also asked what kinds of food my family likes, and what do I like (I am Baja Fresh’s Bitch!),  and – a propos of nothing – do you drink alcohol? (YES!) (Got any?) and what does your husband do? (You mean today, or tomorrow??)

It went quickly, and then my new pal Adam told me that the series is filmed at the Whole Foods Market in Fairfax, VA, and filming each episode usually takes one day, sometimes more, and that it may take a month or so before I would hear from them but not to be discouraged by that.

“So,” I asked, “Will I hear anything if you don’t select me?”

“No,” Adam said, “You’ll hear only if we do choose to use you in an episode.”

“Well,” I replied, “That’s OK – this found me, I didn’t go looking for it, and while I won’t be heartbroken if you don’t choose me, what a fantastic opportunity!”

And Adam intimated that the fact that they found me would mean that any optimism on my part would not necessarily be unrealistic. (!!)

So – stay tuned folks. Maybe I’ll be plucked from suburban obscurity and coronated as Discovery’s Next Sweetheart!

Or maybe, I’ll just be on this one episode of a show that’s filmed in Northern Virginia, live on in perpetual cable reruns, and that’ll be that.

Either way, you’ll hear about it.

And either way, I have many reasons to be cheerful.

(Extra points for the commenter who can tell me where “reasons to be cheerful” comes from.)

And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street

Originally uploaded by Justin Hamilton

Only in Washington, DC, can a bunch of pedestrians glance over their shoulders only halfway wondering whether the sirens they hear are coming their way, confirm that they are not, and, realizing it’s “just a motorcade”, shrug, and continue across the street to their downtown destinations, juggling their briefcases with their Starbucks.

“Say! That makes a story that no one can beat,

When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.”

Just another Thursday morning in the Nation’s Capital.

Time to change

Time To Change

I post this in honor of my oldest son, who is nearly 13. Lately his looks are changing – he’s getting the first wisps of dark hair on his upper lip, and – oh yes – his voice is changing. And, because I am a child of the 1960s,  I can’t hear an adolescent boy’s voice crack without thinking about this Brady Bunch episode, where Peter’s voice was changing and it was, like, totally messing up his singing.

I’m thankful I survived those years, and even happier that I don’t have do ’em over.  (Can I get an “Amen!”?) And now, while I’m still a little bit misty-eyed and feeling sentimental, I’m going to go hug my son extra-hard…even though he’ll be rolling his eyes and sighing about it the whole time and telling me to STOP IT, MOM!

Why don’t you go on ahead and do the same?