I grew up in a theater loving family. Both of my parents love musical theater, and we lived close enough to New York for them to get into the city once or twice a year for dinner and a show. My mother would wear her coat with the fur collar, and she and my dad would drive up, eat at Sardi’s and take in the latest from Sondheim or Lloyd Webber. Afterwards they’d buy the soundtrack on 8-track from K-tel Records. I spent much of my youth in my parents’ living room, acting out scenes from Evita, Godspell and Chicago with my sisters.
I wanted my daughter to have the same love for the theater, and once she was old enough to sit still through a performance, I started taking her. I don’t live near New York, but I am lucky enough to live in Atlanta, home to one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve ever visited – the Fox Theater, better known as the Fabulous Fox. And it totally delivers on the fabulousness! It was originally designed in the late 1920s as headquarters for the Shriners. It has a lavish Arabian theme that is consistent throughout the entire facility, including the lounges and bathrooms. The theater is famous for its ceiling, which depicts an Arabian sky full of flickering stars and drifting clouds. It’s spectacular. Continue reading
My childhood Easters are divided into two distinct categories: very religious and incredibly secular. I was raised Catholic by a woman who loves being Catholic. Easter season meant going to school with ashes on my forehead and being signed out early to attend Stations of the Cross. My mother was such a regular at church that she arranged for me and my siblings to receive our First Communions not with our second grade classes, but during Holy Thursday mass. Very fancy.
At the same time, my mother loved making every holiday a big production. With crucifixion being a little on the heavy side, my mother embraced the idea of the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, dying eggs – the whole nine yards. For reasons unbeknownst to me and my siblings my mother chose to make our Easter Bunny rather mean spirited. In most homes, kids wake up to an Easter basket sitting at the foot of their bed. Not us. We had to hunt for our candy filled eggs and Easter trinkets. This sounds innocent enough, but we lived in the same house our whole lives, and there were limited hiding places. Every year, my mother would find more and more obscure hiding spots that made finding our treats like finding the Holy Grail itself. Continue reading
My suburban neighborhood probably looks a lot like yours. Neat rows of houses dot tree-lined streets, children ride their bikes to the pool, and weekends are devoted to lawn maintenance and car washing. From the outside, things look rather ordinary. But peel back the layers, and you find some extraordinary stories. Kim and Tim Gaddis have been living in our neighborhood for seven years or so. We have gotten to know each other better because our daughters have become close friends. Kim is a lawyer and partner in her own firm and Tim is the cheese monger at Star Provisions (more on that at another time). Kim and I have a lot in common. We’re both working moms, we’re both raising daughters and we’re both trying to balance the whole work-family thing without losing our minds. Continue reading
My mother loves holidays. She celebrates each of them with such joie de vie that, as an adult, I almost feel guilty for not turning my house inside out every month for some sort of special occasion. Every month we were either making decorations, eating tons of food, or going to some sort of church service to celebrate a special day.
The holiday my mother seemed to enjoy the most was St. Patrick’s Day. Oh, how she loved the food, the green, the Irishness of it all! My mother loves being an Irish American, especially being Irish Catholic. She is a Hill, and grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the 50’s where being Irish was like breathing air. I got the feeling celebrating St. Patrick’s Day brought her a sense of belonging, of being part of that Chicago community she grew up in while living in her new home state of New Jersey.
The day would usually start with mass for my mother, then a stop at the bakery for green bagels and what we would call “frogs” – chocolate cupcakes piled high with pink icing, then covered top to bottom with green magic shell. The baker would make a small incision in the top of the sugary icing blob that resembled a mouth and made little eyes out of black icing. Between you and me, they were disgusting, but my mother thought they were fantastic and bought them every year. Continue reading