Monday, April 17, 2006

Talley ho!

Talley Ho! I’ve been saying that a little bit more than I should lately.

Friday night Karen and Eric came to town with their sons Jordy and Ryan. We ordered in Chinese food from our favorite place. (We like to rename every Chinese restaurant that has “East” in the title with “Beast,” because we’re hilarious and clever that way.) So we ordered the food from Hollywood Beast this time and it was GREAT!

Saturday Karen and I were “forced” to go to Target :-( without kids :-( :-( because we needed to get Easter supplies. Karen Target and Me are a marriage made in heaven. We walked in and might as well have taken off our shoes and donned scarves—we were that reverential.

We got supplies.

We were under strict orders from both husbands “not to go overboard.”


We were standing in the Easter Extravaganza World of Target—do you notice how it’s not just an “aisle” anymore, but a whole %$#@ theme park, abetting the manic need we all seem to have to CELEBRATE every holiday within an inch of its life…

Anyways, we’re standing there with a cart that is GROANING beneath the weight of jelly beans (STARBURST ORIGINAL, PLEASE), malted milk ball eggs, Butterfinger eggs, Peeps (Karen was a “must” on this one, I loathe them), etc. and Karen reaches for the BRACHS Chocolate bunnies and I say, “No.” She says, “Lisa, the basket has to have a FOCAL POINT!” At which point all the other maniacal mommies looked at her and giggled. Mockingly? No, in complete collusion with this Easter Basket Focal Point Logic. As in, HELLO!?!

We came home and sort of did a Red Cross disaster relief bag to bag into the house with all the "supplies" that we didn't go "overboard" on.

That night we had, if I do say so myself, a KICKASS dinner party. Roy drove down from New York; Moira, Sheila, Jon and all the kids came too. WHOO HOO! I marinated chicken in soy sauce and ginger, MZA grilled; I made my mother’s “zany rice,” which is steamed Jasmine rice topped with sautéed onions, pine nuts and raisins. Toldja it was zany! Moira brought one of her trademark fabulous salads with EIGHT colors, including a lovely purple hue from beets.

MZA set about making Cosmos (I know, we’re so 90’s, I hear ya) and people partook. Sheila brought a crab ball and spiced shrimp. She and I are the PROUD Maryland contingency. All Marylanders have to do, in order to lord our fabulousness over everyone, is make things out of crab and shrimp.

Hahahahahaha you boring Virginians! Take your sod! We have the fruit of the sea! Pass the Old Bay Seasoning and crack me a beer! Marylanders are real!

The talk got wild ‘n racy, the kids ran around the house, jumped on the guest bed downstairs, watched DVDs and had a great time.

After everyone left, Karen and I set about making five Easter baskets. Which is kinda fun when you’re a little lubed up, I must say. The menfolk sputtered and huffed and puffed and refused to help with stuffing the plastic eggs with Cheerios and raisins. Yes, Cheerios and raisins, because Karen and I are perfect mothers whose only concern is our children’s health and well being. (Yes, that does mean we ate most of the jelly beans…)

We woke up the next morn, which had threatened all week in the paper to be stormy and bad, to the bright yellow sun and the gorgeous blue sky.

I dyed a buncha eggs and kept reassuring MZA that it was ALL PAGAN ALL THE TIME. Eggs? P-a-g-a-n! Bunny? P-a-g-a-n! Jelly beans? P-a-g-a-n!

So he asks Nick, “Nick, what is the real significance of Easter?”

And Nick, proud product of a parochial school, cheerfully says, “It’s about the Resurrection of Christ, Daddy!”

MZA turns to me, betrayed, dejected and says, “You said it was PAGAN!”

I said, “It is! All of it! It’s just a pagan celebration of spring! Rebirth! Renewal! And the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord our God, no big deal honey!”

I hid all the eggs, plastic and boiled, in the back yard. Can I tell you what I felt like? I FELT LIKE THE MOST AMAZING PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE! I was nestling freshly dyed eggs in the bountiful greenness of my yard! For small children to partaketh of! Nestling…eggs…colors…pastels…Paaaaaaas vibrant goodness! The kids loved it. We ate biscuits out on the deck and marveled in the splenderatude. Then we kicked into high gear and got ready for:

My Favorite Event of the Entire year: Oatlands.

Because really? What better way to celebrate Easter than at a horse race, gambling, drinking and EATING?

Oatlands is a point-to-point horse race out in the rolling hunt country hills of Ole Virginny. Why, I used to saddle up out there as a teen! Talley Ho!

Oatlands is the most beautiful place ever in the whole entire universe and it seems to fulfill all my Scarlett O’Hara delusions quite well because when I traverse the elegant grounds, I honestly feel like I am having a three dimensional séance. With a place.

I love it more than anything.

And I love the day, and the horsies, and the hats and the elegant “tailgating” fare.


Moira and I, through weird serendipity, share a pass to the “Patron Lane” at Oatlands, which means we’re right on the rail as the nags come thundering past. It’s all set on the grounds of this former plantation, and so it’s very bucolic and Degas-esque. Lovely!

We bring as many preposterous things as we can think of, silver cups, silver ice buckets, elaborate centerpieces—lots of “bows” to fanciness, with a heartwarming hillbilly aesthetic firmly in place. In the form of Popeye’s fried chicken.

It is a really, really fun day, spent outdoors, beneath old trees, watching the ponies sail elegantly by, while we stand by the table and graze the day away, whetting our whistles with Bloody Marys, champers and beer.

Talley ho!


Cynicism is another word for reality

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