Wonder Woman And The Cookie-Pop Fiasco

 

It was a rookie mistake, at least that’s what I told myself. I overfilled the cookie pans. The cookies overflowed as they baked becoming one big, sponge-like, yet crusty mess with sticks coming out from four sides. You guessed it, I was trying to make cookie-pops. This fad has probably come and gone for the rest of you because it just caught my eye. I am always fashionably late for anything fashionable or a day late and a dollar short as my father-in-law likes to say. It’s not the end result, but the effort I put into it or is it the journey that is supposed to matter most? Enough with all of these sayings! My point is the end result was a disaster and it makes me feel better to pretend it was all about the journey, but we all know cookie-pops are all about the end result and not at all about the effort part or the journey.

It all started when I went to a Quinceanera last weekend and enjoyed eating cookie-pops. Then, the very next day, I was wandering aimlessly through Walmart where I discovered an entire aisle devoted to cake and cookie pans and supplies. After a few days of debate with myself, I went ahead and bought what I needed to make these delicious cookie treats. I imagined all of the amazing things I would make for holidays and birthdays. My creations would win awards. I’d be featured on Rachel Ray or have my own show on Oprah’s new TV network. I was feeling adventurous and maybe a little overconfident because I decided I was going to make cookie-pops and cake-ball-pops all at the same time. I kind of forgot about the toddler under foot and the three dogs asking to go outside and then asking to come inside and then asking to go outside (repeat as many times as possible). I’m not sure why I thought this would be a successful endeavor except that I like to imagine myself as Super Mom, sort of like Wonder Woman, but with a less charming figure and no bullet proof bracelets.

 

The first batch of cookie-pops overflowed, the second batch over cooked, and there was no third batch because apparently one cake mix only makes 8 cookies even though the directions claim it makes 12. Maybe I could have made 12 if I didn’t overfill the pans, but it seems seriously unlikely. The second batch may have been a success, but I somehow thought 20 minutes was enough time to get my daughter to bed, which probably tells you something about my ability to estimate time. Although, some people do claim that the crystals in this area cause a time warp or a black hole or something. I am guessing that we probably live directly over a very large quantity of crystals and will be sucked into the abyss at any moment. Three rounds of “Milly the Meerkat” (and a slight nod of the head that ended with me saying, “I am only resting my eyes”) later I remembered that I was supposed to be baking cookies. In a rush of panic I ran for the kitchen, yanked open the oven and stared at 4 very brown hockey pucks with sticks protruding from them. I toyed with the idea of frosting them anyway, but decided against it once I started to calculate the dental bills that would likely accumulate. How many of my friends and family would crack a tooth when they bit into the beautifully decorated, but deceptively hard cookies? Of course, in all reality, frosting them probably would have just made them look worse because I have no experience in that department either.

 

The cake-pops were frustrating in their own way too. Each step required a mandatory 2 hour waiting period while the pops cooled in the refrigerator. In the end though, they came out kind of cute. I’m looking forward to making some again. I made them look like Elmo from Sesame St. Well, they sort of look like Elmo if you kind of squint while looking at them and pretend you don’t notice that Elmo’s mouth is suspiciously missing. All in all it was a fun little adventure and the pops made my daughters day so I guess it wasn’t all bad! The only thing I regret is eating all of the mistakes. What kind of person decides to make cookies (covered in pure sugar) when they are right in the middle of trying to lose a few pounds? I don’t think Wonder Woman would ever do that sort of thing. She probably only eats rice cakes and drinks diet soda. I don’t think I will ever be able to squeeze into those bullet proof bracelets.

Hey, Loser, Get A Job: Thoughts On Choosing My Career Path

As a new mom, one who had chosen to stay at home with my daughter and turn art making into a job, my career status had been questioned multiple times by all kinds of people. If motherhood alone was not considered a job being an artist certainly wasn’t an acceptable form of employment either. The whole “get a job” mantra was delivered to me in many different nuanced ways, some subtle and some more direct. Mostly they were used to shame me for the choices I had made. This is a little about my experience and how I overcame or ignored criticism and judgements from people who just didn’t understand the choices I was making. To anyone who is going through this same experience, don’t worry, there are people out there who think and want to live the same way you do. Don’t give up until you find your tribe because that is when amazing things begin to happen.
Hey, Loser, Get A Job! Thoughts On Choosing My Career Path
Hey, Loser, Get A Job! A real one.
“You haven’t found a job yet?” She said, her voice dripping with accusation and complete disdain for me. I could feel my face redden with the shame I was feeling. I had not been looking for a job. Jim and I had decided that going to college full time, working on getting our business off the ground and maintaining the house was enough for one person to handle. I knew it was enough for me, but still I felt guilty and then I felt angry for feeling guilty and then I just felt plain tired. I was tired of explaining myself to people who didn’t hear me. This wasn’t the first time my choices were questioned and certainly not the last time. Little did I know how many negative comments I was about to receive.
Yoda-Booda dog painting
At the end of my last semester (of the graduate program I was enrolled in) Jim and I decided to have a baby. So, there I was pregnant and doing my best to complete all my coursework in between the vomiting and the doctor visits. Friends and family were constantly asking me when I was going back to work. Where was I going to work? Why wasn’t I working?! I didn’t understand what all of the excitement and panic was about. Jim and I had spent hours and hours discussing our plans. When I came home from my counseling classes exhausted and stressed out Jim said, “Are you sure you want to be a Counselor? I’m not sure you are suited to it. You worry too much about people. You absorb all their pain. I’m worried about you.” I thought about that. I was not very good at keeping good boundaries and the stories I heard broke my heart and kept me up all night. Not to mention, I secretly had a feeling I wasn’t going to be able to help many people. I couldn’t untangle myself enough to look at their lives objectively. I was living their failures and pain right along with them. That’s when I started painting again. It helped me think and sort out my feelings. Jim’s reaction to my painting shocked me. He wanted to know why I had been wasting my time doing other things when I could have been painting all this time. I confessed that I had moved to New Mexico in the hopes that I would find more time to paint (in such a laid back atmosphere), but had filled my time with so many other things. Things I had much less passion for.
 

Then my daughter was born and still people asked, “Aren’t you going back to work soon?” and “Don’t you think it’s time you started working again?” I didn’t know how to answer them. At first I thought they were plain crazy. I hadn’t slept more than 90 minutes at a time for weeks and sometimes didn’t even have time to brush my teeth. I already had a job. The hardest job I ever had! Plus, I waited almost 35 years to have a baby. I had spent most of my life taking care of and loving other people’s children. I finally had my own child. I didn’t want to be away from her all day and I didn’t need to be. Not to mention, between taking care of a baby, supporting a budding business, maintaining the house, and of course painting I didn’t see much room for a typical job. When your husband can make more in one hour than you can in an entire day and daycare would eat up most of your income what would be the point? Especially when I was already doing what I wanted to be doing. We decided that this was the perfect time and opportunity for me to concentrate on becoming an artist and to enjoy being a mother. I know I have disappointed some people with my choices, but this is my life and my time. Shouldn’t I spend it the way I feel is best?

 

Nobody asks me about working anymore. They have either given up on me or have accepted me for who I am. I don’t feel shame or doubt anymore when I say I am a Stay-At-Home mom who paints. I know I am not some lazy, shiftless person mooching off of my spouse. I am not eating bonbons and watching TV all day. I am busier, more creative, and more productive than I have ever been at any other time in my life. Jim tells everyone I am an artist with so much enthusiasm and joy that nobody can ever say anything negative in response. It feels good to be doing what is right for me and for my family. I don’t judge other people for their choices because I know they have good reasons for making them. There will always be naysayers, but I don’t want to be one of them. Most importantly, I try not to let other people extinguish my pride anymore. Sometimes I completely fail in those attempts, but I laugh because both my mom and my husband always say, “Don’t listen to them. They are just jealous!” How can so many people be jealous of me? It sounds so ridiculous, but maybe it’s true. I am pretty happy and I know that just drives some people crazy. Isn’t there an old saying that goes something like “Living a good life is the best revenge”? To all those people out there living a good life despite set-backs and criticism I applaud you and your efforts. Keep up the good and sometimes hard work of living an authentic life! In the end it might be the only thing that matters.

Baby To Teenager In The Blink Of An Eye

Oh, to be a teenager again! Yep, I actually thought that last Saturday night when I attended my first Quinceanera. Everything was decorated in a fabulous hot pink and zebra striped motif (including most of the guests!). The food was beyond delicious. The beautiful young lady we were celebrating is so loved and adored by her family that her Great Aunt hand rolled 500 flautas and her Grandmas made brisket, potato salad, and rice. There was enough food to feed the mouths of 80 hungry people. Not to mention a zebra striped birthday cake, a cupcake tower and cookie-pops that were all provided by this young women’s lovely family. What a blast!

My daughter was the center of attention when we arrived. She was circled by teenage girls and celebrated for her “cuteness”. Of course, the attention soon shifted to the birthday girl leaving my daughter to wonder where all of her admirers had gone. This seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night. During the grand entrance ceremony my daughter dislodged herself from my bear hug and attempted to run through the circle of photographers and no doubt climb the throne to overthrow the princess. Then, during the slide show, where we watched the birthday girl mature right before our eyes, my daughter ran up to the screen right at the end. Everyone started clapping because the slide show was over. My daughter turned around to face the audience smiling and looked like she was ready to take a bow. She thought the applause was all for her! We managed to eat dinner, but it was 8pm and bedtime. Miss cranky started rolling around on the floor attempting to trip dancers, dancers wearing fantastically high heels that could also be used as murder weapons. What a night! When the DJ turned the music up it was our cue to leave.

It would have been fun to stay longer and dance and eat ourselves happy, but it was obvious my daughter wanted to be in her bed tucked in with Elmo (she fell asleep on the short ride home). The slideshow had left me all teary-eyed anyway. I realized how quickly time goes by and that someday in the not too distant future my daughter will be a teenager. She will be wearing short skirts, giggling with her friends, and hanging on the arm of her boyfriend. It’s going to happen too fast. I’m not ready. For now I think I’ll just eat my zebra striped cookie-pop and be grateful. Grateful that her short skirts come with bloomers and that a furry red monster named Elmo is the closest thing she has to a boyfriend. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Where art and family collide.