Wednesday, May 18, 2011

can I please have just one more afternoon

Can I please just have one more afternoon?

To give my mom a perm?

and while we wait for the solution, pluck the stray chin hairs

and file her nails in the round-ish way she likes

Afterwards, can we please have just one more cup of tea with Aunt Mary, my would-be-mother

who would compliment the perm

and the coffee cake we baked earlier that morning

No shoo fly ---- out the door before daddy comes home

the late afternoon thunderstorm

that always washed away the woman-ness


just one more afternoon

capture a moment in time

before, like the lingering cigarette smoke

and the smell of Oil of Olay

my mama's gentle touch,



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't Forget the Love

Born in Chicago, IL in 1960 and although I could call myself a Gen-Xer, I consider myself a baby boomer since my parents were of the Great Depression/WWII era.   I left Chicago in 1979 amidst the snowstorm of the century to California with $7 in my pocket to move to California where it was 70 degrees and far more liberal.  I never regretted leaving.  My only heartache was to leave my momma. 

But there was always the telephone. Almost daily I would call for advise, a recipe, or just a loving chat.  Decades of phone visits and trips bridged the gap.   That all changed when she had to be permanently placed in a nursing home.  She thrived there for a while, and was even a ringleader in the"wheelchair brigade".  A favorite of staff because of her sweet personality and easygoing nature, she enjoyed life for a time.  But Father Time kept ticking away and she began to slip away from us.  A combination of old age and the pain medication for arthritis, she began to tell wild stories that would make you blush if they weren’t so comical.
I believe it was at that point I lost my mother.  At my most recent visit, in the fall of 2010, she was there but in some imaginary place somewhere between this place and the next.  Luckily, the family was able to obtain hospice care for her.  No telling what day will be her last, what moment she will be set-free of the frozen joints and mind confusion and her spirit will be set free.

My mom was a great cook and baker.  Ask any of my high school friends about Mama DeVita’s pizza!  One of the family's favorite recipes is for almond coffee cake.  I share it her to honor her and to connect back to her.    Although she shared this recipe to many over the years, but no one came close to making as well as she.  I believe the secret ingredient was her love. 

Blanche DeVita’s Recipe for:
Almond Coffee Cake
From the kitchen of Michelle DeVita Fong
2 cups sifted flour
½ tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
½ cup butter (room temperature)
1 pks dry yeast
½ cup warm water
¼ cup cold milk
1 egg (cold)
1 can Solo almond filling
xxx sugar and a little milk for glaze
slivered toasted almonds



1. Sift flour, cut in butter
2. Dissolve yeast in warm water w/sugar until it bubbles a little
3. In a separate dish slightly beat egg and milk
4. Add to yeast and egg mixture
5. Mix just enough to make a nice ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.


1. Take out of refrigerator, use a generous amount of flour and roll into an oblong shape.
2. Spoon Solo Almond filling in the middle. Roll or braid the sides to make coffee cake shape.
3. Place carefully on cookie sheet
4. Let rise about 1 hour in a warm space


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Bake until golden brown approximately 20 minutes
3. Remove from oven and put on wire rack


1. Mix xxx sugar and milk
2. Drip shoestring glaze with fork
3. Top with sliced toasted almonds

(Don't forget the love). Enjoy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random stuff inside my head.

  1. Teachers, this is senior year. There are 21 days to graduation. Please give me a break.  Stop giving these kids mindless, useless projects that are busy work.  I'm serious.
  2. We are having a graduation party and so are a majority of the other kids in the world who are graduating.   Ours will be the best.
  3. The most irritating thing I hear now is "MOM?!" 
  4. The thing I will miss most in August is "MOM?!"
  5. I've been secretly buying lotto tickets hoping I'll win just enough to pay for college, take a trip to Hawaii and remodel my bathroom.
  6. Glee trumps blogging.
  7. I will never be caught up on my laundry or paperwork.
  8. I cried at work today for the first time in many years.
  9. I call myself a vegetarian except for I still love ham and hot dogs.
  10. Sometimes when I'm at work I really want to go home and check on my cats.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What makes a person a mother?

Does the physicality of giving birth make you a mother or is it something more?

I've had many woman in my life that have left and indelible mark on my spririt. I have so much gratitude for how much all these women helped shape who I am and influenced my own mothering. 

So what makes you a mother? Giving Birth? Raising your brother-in-law's child? Accepting legal responsibility for a family of five orphaned girls? Having your young teen daughter get pregnant and in love give the girl-child to another family to raise? What about the women who discovers she is unable to give life herself, and chooses to foster children, and never be able to call a child her own? Would medical intervention for those who are fertility challenged be any less of a mother? What about after the heartbreak of unsuccessful treatments, miscarriages, you suddenly becoming pregnant, and come to a full term birth of a bright and shiny baby girl? What about the devastating tragedy of those mothers whose child has passed away through tragedy? Are they any less mothers? And those, newly faced with infertility come to the grim realization they will never physically know the pain and joy of giving birth? What about these 'would be' mothers who show up in life and take care of us out of pure and genuine love?

For me, what it boils down to is this. Ask yourself this question.  Have you ever loved a child that broke your heart?  If the answer is yes, then you are a mother.  My friend Sherry says, "When they're little, they step on your feet.  When they grow up, they step on y our heart."

Blessings to all my women friends, mothers or not.  Chances are, you've loved a child who has broken your heart and you ARE a mother.  For all of us have been broken hearted, have surely broken our own mother's hearts.