My uncle Tommy’s hot sauce is the recipe by which I measure all hot sauces; it is the recipe I try to recreate to varying degrees of success every time I come home from the store with cilantro, peppers, lime, onion, garlic and tomatoes. But Tommy just knew, in some magical old-Texas-guy way, the way hot sauce was supposed to taste and look and feel.
“Tommy Baker Hot Sauce” was a staple at all my family’s holiday gatherings for years, sitting up there on my mom’s or my aunt’s counter, decimated by the time anyone got around to ham or turkey — which my uncle Tommy almost always had a hand in making, too. The man was a genius in the kitchen or on the grill.
He’s been gone for two years now, and I miss him for all kinds of reasons, but one of them is because he was a family man who owned the holidays. He didn’t just sit around and expect his wife to make him a plate and trim the tree. He wasn’t quite Clark Griswold, but he was real close. And there’s nothing I love more than a man who’ll fry a turkey, make a side dish, wash a roasting pan, and slap a wreath on the door. Keep reading »
I remember climbing into Patrick’s pick-up truck in a fog of glittering sparklers. I remember noting that there was a giant penis shoe-polished on to the passenger side window. I remember taking an Instagram of us driving the few blocks back to our hotel. I remember being very excited about getting my shoes off.
And I remember being so, so exhausted. After our wedding, as soon as we got back to the hotel, I put on my tent-iest, most shapeless dress and some comfy Toms, curled up on the couch and said an enthusiastic “Yes!” to my favorite question, which is: Do you want a beer?
We’d stocked up the suite’s fridge with beverages and invited anyone who wanted to after-party with us to stop by post-reception. In the weeks before the wedding, I thought we might have something of a post-wedding rager with all our out-of-town friends and really get to sit down and hang out and talk, the way you really can’t do at a wedding reception.
I was wrong. I was the tiredest, sleepiest person who had just made a lifetime commitment to the man of her dreams ever. I really wanted to see all my old (and new!) friends. I really wanted to hear all about how the second floor of our hotel appeared to be hosting an extremely snazzy dance party. But mainly, I wanted to go to sleep. Keep reading »
I consumed almost no wedding-related media in the eight or so months between when Patrick and I got drunk at the lake and decided to get engaged and when we actually tied the knot on April 21, 2012. I came to like Offbeat Bride and its attendant forums and creative user group, though I was ultimately put off by its (I think unavoidable) preciousness. Not surprisingly, I found the full-throttle focus of wedding-related magazines and sites to be frustrating and demoralizing rather than helpful.
Instead of answering actual questions I had about weddings — about how much should it cost to feed 80 people? Why is it so hard to find tea-length wedding dresses? What’s the history behind women being “given away”? — I was being given solutions to problems I didn’t know I had: for starters, I was almost certainly too fat. And my hair was too short. My bridesmaids (who would obviously be all women) either should or shouldn’t wear matching dresses, but whatever I decided would be ultimately wrong according to somebody. I hadn’t given enough thought to napkin rings and their very important role in the formal place settings my guests would be wholly unable to enjoy themselves without. I was already behind on making the 6,000 origami swans that I was previously unaware I needed to personally hand-craft. The list grew and grew. Keep reading »
I have known since I was a wee child that someday, there would be a woman in my life that I would hate more than any person on the planet. She will be the epitome of all things evil; a seething skin-bag of meddlesome, ignorant lady-pus, hardly worthy to walk among us and yet, walk among us she will. Unabashed, her goal in life will be to make me miserable. She will shame me and mock me and re-fold my towels in the most offensive possible way, all in the name of “helping.” She will make passive aggressive comments about my weight and my pot roast. She will kiss my husband on the mouth in front of me.
She will be my mother-in-law. Keep reading »
I’m not convinced that the problem with marriage is that it is broken; I am convinced that a problem with marriage is that it isn’t big enough for everyone.
In the past week, both The New York Times and Slate have addressed modern marriage and its related problems, asking whether privatization of marriage, and state recognition of other kinds of civil care-giving agreements, isn’t the way to go from now on. Keep reading »
Flipping through my mom’s old yearbooks as a kid, I was taken by the bouffant hairdos and the small-town charm of her tiny East Texas high school; I was also amazed that there appeared to be basically two clubs in the whole place. Guys got funneled into the Future Farmers of America. The young women? Future Homemakers of America.
Farmers and homemakers. Boys and girls. Public and private. Knowing the incredible life my mom has lived — as a high-powered vice president at major American manufacturing company, brilliant accountant, veterinary technician, working mom — it really doesn’t seem like “future homemaker” encompasses even a little bit of what she had the potential to do, or what she ended up doing, in her life.
Certainly “homemaking” didn’t sound very appealing to me, either as a kid or a young professional woman. Getting excited about new drapes? Advancements in vacuum cleaning technology? No, when I want excitement, I’ll go for whiskey or a deadline or both. Keep reading »