Mama. Mommy. Mom. Mother. Mamaw.

Mom at 17Mamacita says: I was reading an article somewhere, by somebody*, that stated that no matter how old we get, there are still times when we want our mother. Our fifty-year-old mother.

When our mothers are young, we don’t consider them ‘friends.’ We don’t consider them young, either, because when we’re very young, all adults are old. Heck, our 12-year-old cousins seem like adults.  Our 22-year-old teacher and Grandma: one and the same, age-wise. No, to a child, most adults are old; they’re not sweet young things. They never were; it’s not possible.

Our mother was always a mother.  She had no life before us.  She’s just Mommy, when we’re young, and when she’s young. We don’t even know she was young till we look at old pictures. And then we’re blown away because, “Oh my gosh, look how YOUNG she was there!”

But as we get older, our mothers seem to stay the same, and somehow the years between us don’t matter as much as they used to.

They stay the same, that is, until we take a good long look at them and it hits us that they look old. Not just mom-old, but OLD. Wrinkly. And you know there’s white underneath the Miss Clairol. And they aren’t as sure-footed as they used to be.

This is shocking, but it’s okay, as long as the MOM is still there inside the stranger-every-day body. You know, MOM. The lady who can make magic with a word or a touch? Her? That’s the one.

Good thing WE’LL never get old like that, huh.   Wait – is that mom in the mirror there?  WHAT?  Impossible.

Mother and child

This Sunday will be, appropriately enough, a day filled with mothers.  Mine, my sisters, my niece, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, cousins, me. . . . all mothers, and several of them more than one KIND of mother.  (no, not THAT kind of mother.  Perhaps you were thinking of YOUR family?)  Many mothers.

Mother and child

Once upon a time, we were just sisters and wives and daughters when we got together, sharing a mom and having first names.  Now, we’re all Mom, Mommy, Grandma, Mamaw, Aunt, Great-aunt, mother-in-law . . . . I can remember days when I couldn’t remember the last time someone called me by my actual name.

I also remember, clear as a bell, the first time my child said my new name.  Mama.  That moment is etched on my heart, in beautiful calligraphy, and decorated with fresh flowers.  I still love to hear my children say “Mom.”  These women whose children refer to them by their first names, instead of some variation of mother?  I pity both woman and child.  Somethin’ WRONG wit dat.  Somebody gots her priorities all messed up.  That woman ain’t right in the head.

Naturally, this doesn’t keep me from snickering at women who choose a synonym for “grandmother” that sounds like poo or a body part.

Contrary to popular belief, mothers are not omniscient;  we don’t have eyes in the backs of our heads, and we can’t read your mind.  The only exception to that would be MY mother.

My beautiful mom.  Senior year.  She wasn't my mom yet.

My beautiful mom. Senior year. She wasn’t my mom yet.

And speaking of my mother. . . Mom, I have tried to emulate you in many ways, all of my life.  You read to us.  You sat down on the floor and played with us.  You used the power of Parenthood and created Special Days, all throughout the year.  Christmas is a holiday, sure, but it was YOU who created OUR Christmas.  I have tried to “do” holidays just as you did, all my married life.

There are so many kinds of mothers.  Most are awesome.  They don’t have to look like this to BE awesome, but I think we all believe we have moments like this.  I hope that’s correct.

Mother and child

I’m looking forward to Sunday, dear sisters and nieces and daughters and all of the other wonderful descriptions that come with all of you.  I might be the weirdo of the bunch – oh, it’s not like I don’t KNOW that!!!! -but I might also be the most sentimental of the bunch.

I’ve read that when we are in our twenties, the fifty-year-old mother is somehow at her peak of Mom-ness and Friend-ness. Our fifty-year-old mother is an expert in so many things.

What we don’t realize is that our fifty-year-old mother is still missing HER fifty-year-old mother.

And what very few of you know yet, is that your fifty-year-old mother is still as insecure and wondering as she was when she was in her twenties. Your fifty-year-old mother is still beating herself to death over mistakes she made when you were three.  So is our eighty-year-old mother.  And the thirty-year-old mother.  All of us need to give ourselves a break.

How do I know this? I’d rather not say.

The eighty-year-old mother is starting to get a little bent.  She falls down sometimes.  Her memory, while still razor-sharp, is beginning to falter a bit.  If it’s MY mother, she still has a social life that beats the social life of anybody I know, not even considering age.  Her hair and makeup are lovely.  Her clothes are stylish and colorful.  She looks better than I do.

The seventy-year-old mother is still cool. Still Mom. It’s just that the fragility is starting to show, and the mortality thing comes to mind more than we’d like.

The fifty-year-old Mom is the epitome of Momitude. She KNOWS things. We should listen more to our fifty-year-old Mom.

Unless she’s a meddling idiot with outdated stupid ideas and a lot of unwanted advice, of course. You don’t have to listen then.

Chances are, however, that if your fifty-year-old Mom is mean and judgmental and delights in hurting people’s feelings, she was exactly the same when she was in her twenties. Bodies change a lot*. Personalities seldom do.

The following** has been making the internet rounds for a long time now, and most of you have no doubt seen it before. However, I’m posting it anyway, because for some reason, it means more to me with each passing year.


The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE ~ My Mommy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE ~ My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE ~ My Mother doesn’t really know quite everything.

14 YEARS OF AGE ~ Naturally, Mother doesn’t know that, either.

16 YEARS OF AGE ~ Mother? She’s hopelessly old-fashioned.

18 YEARS OF AGE ~ That old woman? She’s way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE ~ Well, she might know a little bit about it.

35 YEARS OF AGE ~ Before we decide, let’s get Mom’s opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE ~ Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE ~ Wish I could talk it over with Mom.


Let’s talk things over with Mom while we have the chance.

If your own mommy doesn’t appreciate you, come right on over here. I’m not saying exactly how old this Mommy is, but she’s in her peak and prime of Momitude.  I do, however, screw it up sometimes, even now.  I do my best.  That’s all we can do, in any and every phase.

I have a lot of advice, but I’ll wait till you ask me for it***.

*Unless you’re Jamie Lee Curtis.

**If I knew the author and the name of the article, I’d have mentioned it up above, silly.

***Most of the time.

Quotation Saturday: Mothers

Mamacita says:  This is the weekend when we celebrate mothers.  This cannot be done with two or three sentences.

Mother and daughter, shoes

1.The phrase “working mother” is redundant. ~Jane Sellman

2. The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

3. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln

prying mother

4. A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

last piece of pie

5. The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac

6. He is a poor son whose sonship does not make him desire to serve all men’s mothers. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

7. An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. ~Spanish Proverb

Charles W. Bartlett, Hawaiian Mother and Child

Charles W. Bartlett, Hawaiian Mother and Child

8. My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon

9. Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease. ~Lisa Alther

10. Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved

11. The only mothers it is safe to forget on Mother’s Day are the good ones. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Mother and Child, by Gustav Klimt

Mother and Child, by Gustav Klimt

12. A mom forgives us all our faults, not to mention one or two we don’t even have. ~Robert Brault

13. One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters. ~George Herbert

14. Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray

15. Every beetle is a gazelle in the eyes of its mother. ~Moorish Proverb

16. All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. ~Abraham Lincoln

Mother and baby giraffe

17. No one in the world can take the place of your mother. Right or wrong, from her viewpoint you are always right. She may scold you for little things, but never for the big ones. ~Harry Truman

18. God could not be everywhere, so He created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb

19. Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~Oprah Winfrey

20. I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother. ~ Abraham Lincoln

21. The mother loves her child most divinely not when she surrounds him with comforts and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best. ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

22. The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. ~ William Ross Wallace

Mother and baby

23. There never was a woman like her. She was gentle as a dove and brave as a lioness… The memory of my mother and her teachings were, after all, the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way. ~ Andrew Jackson

24. Who is getting more pleasure from this rocking, the baby or me? ~ Nancy Thayer

25. No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. ~ Florida Scott-Maxwell

26. Sometimes when I look at all my children, I say to myself, ‘Lillian, you should have stayed a virgin.'” ~ Lillian Carter

27. And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see — or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read. ~ Alice Walker

28. Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons. Liberation was meant to expand women’s opportunities, not to limit them. The self-esteem that has been found in new pursuits can also be found in mothering. ~ Elaine Heffner

Vietnamese mother and child

29. If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much. ~ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

30. I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best I could bring to it. ~ Rose Kennedy

31. A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. ~ Dorothy Canfield Fisher

32. She was the archetypal selfless mother: living only for her children, sheltering them from the consequences of their actions — and in the end doing them irreparable harm. ~ Marcia Muller

33. Spend at least one Mother’s Day with your respective mothers before you decide on marriage. If a man gives his mother a gift certificate for a flu shot, dump him. ~ Erma Bombeck

Lioness and cub

34. No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there’s a wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick. ~ Erma Bombeck

35. Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate. ~ Charlotte Gray

36. Giving kids clothes and food is one of thing, but it’s much more important to teach them that other people besides themselves are important and that the best thing they can do with their lives is to use them in the service of other people. ~ Dolores Huerta

37. Blaming mother is just a negative way of clinging to her still. ~ Nancy Friday

38. I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up. ~ Pearl S. Buck

39. The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. ~ Father Theodore Hesburgh


40. When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet. . . indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman. ~ Virginia Woolf

41. A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path. ~ Agatha Christie

42. You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. ~ Albert Einstein

43. If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylum would be filled with mothers. ~ Edgar Watson Howe

44. What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the coffin. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

45. My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it. ~ Mark Twain

Botswana mother and child

46. Over the years I have learned that motherhood is much like an austere religious order, the joining of which obligates one to relinquish all claims to personal possessions. ~ Nancy Stahl

47. There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

48. At work, you think of the children you have left at home. At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent. ~ Golda Meir

Mother and several children

49. A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take. ~ Cardinal Mermilod

50. A mother’s yearning feels the presence of the cherished child even in the degraded man. ~ George Eliot

51. There are lots of things that you can brush under the carpet about yourself until you’re faced with somebody whose needs won’t be put off. ~ Angela Carter

migrant mother

52. Isidor Isaac Rabi’s mother used to ask him, upon his return from school each day, “Did you ask any good questions today, Isaac?” ~ Steve Chandler

53. Sometimes the poorest woman leaves her children the richest inheritance. ~ Ruth E. Renkel

54. Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. ~ Marion C. Garretty

55. A mother is never cocky or proud, because she knows the school principal may call at any minute to report that her child has just driven a motorcycle through the gymnasium. ~ Mary Kay Blakeley

56. It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge. ~ Phyllis Diller

Renoir, Mother and Child

57. Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it. ~ Haim Ginott

58. If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money. ~ Abigail Van Buren

silhouette59. Making a decision to have a child–it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone

60. If you want your child to be brilliant, tell them fairy tales. If you want your child to be very brilliant, tell them even more fairy tales. ~ Albert Einstein

Meerkat mother and baby

Grammar Queen that I am – terrifyingly so, in fact, so watch your step – I absolutely love this cartoon:

william-haefeli, I have two mommies

Bonus quotations:

61.  Motherhood: All love begins and ends there. — Robert Browning

62  It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful. — Roald Dahl

63.. When you’re in the thick of raising your kids by yourself, you tend to keep a running list of everything you think you’re doing wrong. I recommend taking a lot of family pictures as evidence to the contrary. — Connie Schultz

64.  Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run. — Barbara Kingsolver

65.  Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation. — Robert A. Heinlein

66.  My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general.  If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.”  Instead, i was a painter, and became Picasso. — Pablo Picasso

Mother and Child, Picasso, 1901

Mother and Child, Picasso, 1901

P.S. What’s that she’s saying? She needs to FIND HERSELF? “Find herself” my Aunt Fanny. Grow a pair, and be a parent to your child. He’ll have pals his own age. YOU can “find yourself” after your job is done.

P.P.S. Does anybody else love it when, out in public, a child says “Mama?” and forty women instinctively turn their heads?


What Is Blogging Today?

why blog?

Mamacita says:  What is blogging today?  Yesterday, blogging was an extension of our selves.  Blogging expressed our personalities, and shared little bits of our lives with strangers who often became friends. Today, many people “blog” to make money, to pimp products, to be living billboards for Disney. . . .  There is nothing wrong with that, but those kinds of blogs are not really what “blogging” is about.


There is a big difference between a business blog full of content marketing and a personal blog full of you and me.  I think we have lost the concept of personal blogging in the excitement and heat of blogging for profit.

But there are many different kinds of profit.  If you are blogging for the express purpose of making money, good for you.  If wearing a badge that proclaims you as a Mommy Blogger and nothing else, well, if that’s what you want. . . . Proud Disney blogger?  That’s nice.  Every post offers your readers a freebie if they jump through a few hoops?  That’s nice, too.  Not everybody likes every kind of tea.  We’re all different.  We like different things.

Some of us blog with no labels.  I think those blogs are the best kind.

I’m not referring to actual business blogs here.  Those have a perfect right to pimp their products because we expect them to.  It’s nice when they throw in a little personal life, too, and the best ones know that and do it.

There are still many of us old-school bloggers, and some newbies as well, who are still expressing ourselves on our personal blogs.  Some of us are writing for businesses, too, but it’s our personal blogs that probably opened the door to that.

My point?  Please don’t abandon your personal blog – the blog that introduced us to each other and shared your lives with us – because you’re too busy now blogging for money.

personal blogging

I’m really not interested in reading about how your family loved your free  kitchen appliances, or how Disney gave you free passes in return for positive blogging about your experience.

What I AM interested in is your day-to-day life.  That includes your vacations and your love of cooking, sure, but it’s better without the constant references to all the freebies you’re getting by mentioning products by name.

Once in a while it’s great, but if that’s all you’re blogging about. . . . if that’s all you mention. . . . if it’s obvious that a post isn’t a personal glimpse into your life and is merely a Hallmark commercial trying to tug at my heartstrings and convince me to purchase something. . . . that’s not a blog.

That’s just a marketing post.

Please, bloggers.  Let’s bring back the personal blog.  Keep the pimping on the honest business blog.  On our personal blogs, let’s be ourselves again.

Those personal blogs that introduced us to each other all those years ago were wonderful. Bring back the wonderful days.


P.S.  A conference that focused on personal blogging and not on product placement and pimpage would be nice, too.  Can we bring that back?  Oh please, can we bring that back?



Liberal or Conservative: I Don’t Know

Mamacita says:  Someone asked me the other day whether I was a liberal or a conservative. I answered truthfully: I don’t know.

It varies with the subject.

It depends on the issues.

It depends on the issues.

With some topics, I lean towards the liberal left and with other topics I lean towards to conservative right.

Mostly, I think I stand proudly straddling the dividing line, waiting to hear details and facts about  the subject at hand before I speak up.

It seems to me that if you declare yourself to be liberal, or conservative, then certain things are expected of you, and when you fail to deliver those expected things, people are upset.

How can anyone be 100% either way, on EVERYTHING? I don’t think anyone can.

If the truth were told, I think most people have liberal leanings in some areas and conservative leanings in other areas.

What’s the matter with standing in the middle and choosing the battles on which I declare a
liberal or conservative stand, carefully?

Even those subjects on which I lean to the right, there are many paths leading to the left there in plain view, and vice versa. I don’t think I’m 100% conservative or 100% liberal on anything. I have a hard time believing in people who claim to be all or nothing either way.

Is this good? Is this bad? I don’t know. It’s me. If you ask me what I think, I will tell you. After 26 years in the public schools, I’ve seen a lot, both good and bad. I’ve seen parents at their best and at their worst, as anyone does in any job. I am of the belief that it is very hard sometimes for a parent to evaluate his/her own child. Sometimes, we have to step back and look with someone else’s eyes. But even after all I’ve seen, I still believe that most people mean well. Most people are good people.

Unless, of course, they are too stupid to think for themselves, and must rely on a guru of some kind.

Beware of the guru, my friends. A guru is simply someone who’s found an audience of suckers. Suckers with money.

When it comes to certain issues, I proudly take a stand. Even then, I’m a mix of both leanings. Why not? Few things are absolute, and I am a mixture in my definition of absoluteness.

In issues concerning children and young people, I tend to be conservative with a BIG dash of quirkiness and humor. To be conservative and have no sense of humor? God help us all with THOSE people.

In issues concerning politics and religion, I tend to be liberal with a BIG dash of quirkiness and humor. To be liberal and have no sense of humor? God help us all with THOSE people.

And depending on the particular item under discussion, those leanings can turn on a dime.

My mild courteous stance with people who raise welts on tiny children is a tad on the conservative side. Whereas my liberal leanings are demonstrated by my name-calling skills. Just kidding.

But in case there is any doubt, I am far from liberal and far from conservative when it comes to children. I am MYSELF.  If any child stands before me with welts, I will have someone’s sorry ass hauled before the judge faster than anyone can tell me which Pearl chapter tells parents they MUST humble their children and force them to acknowledge their parents as their masters. If you brag that your child would, without hesitation, jump out of the window of a moving vehicle if you so commanded him or her to do so, you are an idiot and a beast. I find this mindset appalling.

I did not have children so I could show off blindly obedient little zombies who flinched when I moved and jumped when I spoke. I had children not just because my birth control pills failed, but because I WANTED children. Real children, with minds of their own.

My children did not misbehave in public. They knew better. We taught them to know better with means other than blood, welts, and tears. We occasionally spanked, but it was with a bare hand on a little bottom, and not with a tree branch on fragile little legs or hands. And we didn’t have to spank very much. I hope it was by example that my children learned how to behave. I’m sure Sara will chime in with her version if I’m wrong.  My children turned into adults – interesting, quirky, hilarious, honest, kind, helpful, generous adults.

My children are beautiful.

My children are beautiful.

Children are the most valuable things on the planet. They are ours for such a short time. Why do people use those few years to hurt them, and hit them, and make them bleed? The obedience these people seek can be had by simply loving them, and showing them by example. And, ok, once in a while whomping their little bottoms so they don’t run out into traffic or drink Drano. But if a trained seal is what some people want, I wish they’d just steal one from a zoo and let someone with a kind heart and a working brain and some common sense raise the children.  And then rot in jail for theft of the seal.

Elected officials who serve special interests and big business are stealing from our children.  I place them in the same category as those who physically hurt a child.

Now. Am I conservative or liberal? You tell me. I honestly don’t know.

I don’t care, either. It’s not like a label will make any difference.


I’m Eleven Years Old. Old School, That Is.

Mamacita says:  Old school?  Me?  Yes. Eleven years ago, a former student told me that I should start a blog.  “You’ve got such a lot to say about the world,” he said.  “Who cares what I think about the world?” I replied. “Lots of people would,” he said.


I couldn’t imagine that.  I’m nobody. I wondered if he was right. I guess he was, because I’ve been to conferences all over the country, and spoken to crowds of people, both individually and on panels.  People seem to recognize me even before they see my name tag.  People tell me that such-and-such a post really helped/spoke to them/influenced them, etc.  It’s really, really humbling.  And exciting.  And humbling. Who would have thought it?  Me, with a large readership and people who seemed to like me and take me seriously?  It’s like a dream.  The good kind, that comes true because you never dreamed it would be possible but it really did and you’re in shock and awe and Oz and Wonderland.  And Narnia and Hogwarts.  And the Tardis. And all the people who live in those places.

I’ve met so many wonderful people during this journey.  Some of them are still virtual friends, while I’ve met many face-to-face, but I’ve also learned during these eleven years that online friends can be as real as face-to-face friends.  Sure, there are creeps out there, but no more so than the number of creeps at the mall.

good and bad people online

I’ve learned not to be afraid of the world.  The world is actually pretty awesome, and it’s full of cool things and fantastic people.  Sure, there are fiery volcanic pits and treacherous waterfalls and cockroaches and people who lie, cheat, & steal, but there are also rainbows and sunsets and flowers and people who are good, true friends.  The forever kind.

That I would still be here eleven years after beginning this funky little blog is amazing to me, and yet, it’s also unthinkable to abandon it, as many are abandoning blogging for the shorter Twitter and Facebook.  Oh, I’m on those, too, but this blog saved my soul alive eleven years ago, and it’s done nothing but nourish me ever since. I am so grateful to the internet.  Really, I am.  It’s a world that was always there, but we had no way of accessing it easily.  Now, we can travel anywhere, see anything, contact anyone, and work for a business that’s a thousand miles away, in our pajamas, at midnight.

Thank you, dear readers, for making me feel special.  Eleven years is as an eternity in the internet Hourglassworld, but somehow I don’t feel old when I’m here.  I’m happy when I’m on Scheiss Weekly.  I’m happy reading your comments.  I love visiting YOUR blogs. I love visiting with you on the other social media sites, too, but I don’t think anything could ever completely replace a blog.  In eleven more years, I guess we’ll find out.

Also, I wonder if you really understand the title of this blog.  Scheiss Weekly.  Who speaks German? C’mon.  I tried to get Scheiss Daily, but somebody already owned it.

I was traumatized when I began this blog, and the title reflected that.  I’m fine now, but the title keeps me humble.  And fairly sane, although my children might argue that fact.

Time marches on.  Time flies.  And yet, it really doesn’t.  Time stands still.  We march. With every blink of the eye, yes, and briefer even than that, our lives are moving ever swiftly towards their ends. It’s this middle that we must make the most of.  I am.  I hope you are, too.

Time flies

Here’s to eleven more years.  At a time, anyway. A day at a time, and they add up to years.

I love you all.  Literally.

Morel Mushrooms, Hoosier Style. As If There Were Any Other Way.

Mamacita says:  It’s that time again; the morel mushrooms are back.  That’s right; the snow is finally gone and the semester is almost over and the MOREL MUSHROOMS ARE BACK.

Did I mention that the morel mushrooms are back?

It’s that time again.  The morel mushrooms are here.

THIS is a morel mushroom.  Accept no substitutes.

THIS is a morel mushroom. Accept no substitutes.

My kids still speak wistfully of the day they visited their step-great-grandmother Margaret Stobie Crowder (she whom John Dillinger once tried to carjack. . . .) and she shared with them her unbelievable and, naturally, SECRET, morel mushroom patch.

Remember now, Hoosiers do not share this kind of secret with ANYBODY. People who will show a stranger their genital surgery scars will not share a morel mushroom location with their own mothers. Margaret took the kids across her fields and invited them to help themselves to the mushrooms.

They were everywhere. It was like a planted crop. You couldn’t take a step without stepping on morel mushrooms. They were all afraid to move, because around these parts, folks, you just don’t STEP on morel mushrooms if you can help it at all. They’re too valuable!!

How valuable are they? Well, if you can bear to part with yours, you can easily sell them for fifty bucks a pound. But it’s rare to find anyone who would part with them.

They came home fully loaded.

We once went to dinner at a friend’s home, and when we got there, she was preparing morel mushrooms as a last-minute addition to the meal. It seems that the night before, her husband had gone to their secret mushroom patch and had dumped two huge buckets of morels into their kitchen sink. All the guests were flabbergasted; usually, people don’t share their found mushrooms with others, either. To this day, none of us can remember what the main dish was at that meal. All anybody can remember is the mushrooms.

Except for me. Naturally, except for me. I am a freak, for I do not care all that much for morel mushrooms. I enjoy preparing them, but as for eating them. . . . well, let’s just say that everybody wants to sit by me, because I don’t eat mine and am happy to share.

And speaking of preparing them. . . . don’t let anybody tell you to use crushed saltines!!!

The proper Hoosier method is to let the mushrooms soak in salt water overnight*, and the next day, to mix together a little flour and a little cornmeal and a dash of salt, coat each mushroom, and fry in butter for just a few minutes. Remember to turn them.  Don’t let the butter burn.  Don’t overcook.  A few minutes is all they need.

Pan-fried morel mushrooms, Hoosier-style

Pan-fried morel mushrooms, Hoosier-style

Let them cool just enough to tolerate, and turn your crowd loose on them. There will never be enough.

Back in the middle school, my students used to bring breadsacks full of morel mushrooms and sell them to the teachers for twenty dollars apiece. The teachers got morel mushrooms for bargain rates, and the students got cash. It worked out pretty well for both parties concerned. I never bought any from a student; it wasn’t that I didn’t trust them, it was just that, well, I’d seen these same kids try to tell the difference between a noun and a verb all year, and pick wrong every time. There was something about believing that they could tell the difference between a mushroom and a toadstool and pick correctly every time, that just didn’t hit me quite right. I’m sure they knew; outdoor kids know these things. It was just a feeling I had.

This practice would probably be frowned upon today.  It’s too much like a drug deal, except that morel mushrooms were more valuable.

morel mushrooms

As for the finding of them, I am probably the only Hoosier in the history of the state who not only doesn’t like to eat morel mushrooms, but also can’t find them even if they’re right there by the toe of my shoe. I can’t SEE them. I also tend to step on them, which makes me the kid who is picked last for anybody’s mushroom team. Usually, I just stay home and get ready to cook them when they’re brought home, whether I end up with a bowlful or a handful.

But if you live around these parts, around this time of year, around now, anywhere you might go, you won’t be able to escape the morel mushroom stories. In southern Indiana, we’d rather hear about the morel that got away, than about your boring old six-feet-long fish that got away.

And since I don’t care for them myself, that would be the “Queen’s We” that I’m using here.

I love to say that. It sounds so borderline.

P.S.  Morel mushrooms are not the same thing as the big round white puffball mushrooms that grow in formations we here call “fairy rings.”  And be careful when you cook up a puffball; there are all kinds of puffballs and they all look alike.  The ones that grow in fairy rings are usually safe, though.  Usually.  Always check before you bite.

This is a fairy ring.  Go ahead and eat it.

This is a fairy ring. Go ahead and eat it.

If you slice a white puffball mushroom in half and it’s solid white inside, it’s probably safe to eat it.  If you slice a white puffball mushroom in half and there is anything other than solid flawless white inside, dispose of it before it kills you.

In fact, when it comes to mushrooms, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, it’s safer not to do it.  Let someone else bring mushrooms to you.  Some of them are deadlier than cobras.

And some are the tastiest thing you’ll ever encounter in your life.

Choose wisely.

P.S.  Always leave one puffball in the fairy ring and let it dry.  When it’s completely dry, kick it and let the spores fly.  That’s how you get the fairy ring to come back the next year.  Require your children to take turns being the kicker.  Keep track.  This is an honor.

It’s, like, science or something.