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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sisters can do some cruel things.

Especially older sisters.

I know this because I am the oldest sister. And I admit, I was pretty cruel at times. I was bossy, manipulative, and did I mention I was bossy?

I'm afraid my daughter may have picked up some of those less than desireable traits.

For instance, take this picture here. It is a picture of my youngest two while playing dress up. Now, mind you, I don't doubt for one minute that Will was completely compliant and willing to dress in Maggie's Halloween peacock costume. I'm sure it was probably even his idea. But I can bet you that Maggie took a little bit of joy in dressing him up like a girl because when she came downstairs she said, "Wook Momma, I dwessed Wiwl up wike a gerl."

I think perhaps in this picture, reality has set in and Will realizes what his sister has done to him and that his mother has captured it digitally and will use it to manipulate and boss him around in the future when he is not doing what she wants him to do. Especially when he brings girls to the house.

Not that he will because he is not growing up.

Now, for a little commentary on my sisters.

A few weekends ago, my Mom, sisters & I took a cooking enthusiasts course at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. It was on Holiday appetizers. It was tons of fun and we made and sampled some delicious food.

I was very excited for the opportunity to get to hang w/ my mom and sisters because it is something we rarely get to do. Katie & I both have children and finding time to leave them is sometimes difficult. Erin is a busy bank lady and Lara, well, she is our social butterfly and always has tons of stuff going on. So when we all decided to do this - as our Christmas gift to each other - I was excited. As the weekend approached I was even more excited - I was ready for a grown up weekend away!
I planned for this weekend carefully. My younger sisters, aged 27 and 24, are always dressed to the height of fashion. That height of fashion almost ALWAYS includes sky high, wedge your feet in, three inch or higher heels. Erin, in fact, has actually willed her feet to shrink a half size or more so that she can wear cuter and daintier styles of sky high heels. Okay, so we think she endures the ancient art of Japanese foot binding in order to have the smaller shoe size, but whatever.

Lara, the hip, young fashionista, has a closet full of shoes that she keeps in their original boxes which she has labeled with the shoe description so she knows anytime she looks in the closet what she is getting.

Katie, just entering her 30s is still at the age where she can transition easily from mom to stylish young mom with no difficulty. And she shares the same shoe size as my sister, Lara, so she frequently gets to borrow hip and trendy styles from her. They also have reasonably average size feet.

My mom shares a shoe size with Katie and Lara but she is literally unable to wear flats. Of any form. She actually even wears platform sneakers! My mom will go around the house in bare feet or flats and will say, "Ugh, I've got to go put some shoes on w/ a heel. My feet are killing me." That's just wrong!

Enter me: an old lady, with three children under the age of 5, having endured three pregnancies that have lengthened and widened my already gigantor size 10 feet to an 11 wide. I cannot contort my foot into those beautiful and stylish heels (nor can I find beautiful and stylish shoes in size 11) so I am left with matronly and plain flats. On this special occasion, I managed to find a pair of 11w wedge heels in an adorable black toile canvas. Sure, the were a little summery, but the were 3" wedges, which meant that I would be able to wear them with almost no problem. Best of all, I found them on clearance for $5! I knew it was providence that I found them and they were meant to be worn for my weekend w/ my stylish and fashionable sisters. I spent hours coordinating an outfit to wear with them. I didn't want to wear anything too hot - we'd be cooking in a commercial kitchen after all, but I wanted to look as fashionable as my sisters. I settled on a red blouse, black jeans and my new wedge shoes.

The morning of our class was a little hurried as we finished getting ready at the hotel and went downstairs for breakfast. We all arrived and ate in stages, so I didn't really take a good look at everyone to see what everyone else was wearing. We rushed through a quick continental breakfast, to the car and then into Pittsburgh to find a parking garage and walk to PCI.

I was worried as I put on my new shoes that they were a little tight, but as we walked from the parking garage to the cooking school, they loosened up and I was able to wear them all class. I also got several compliments from my sisters on how cute the shoes were. Since it was before 9 am in the city, things were really quiet, and as we walked to the school, we were able to spread out a bit and walk at our own paces. We made some light hearted jokes to my sister Erin about her boots and asked if she was going to an equestrian competition after class. Once in class, we got our supplies and our instructions and were too busy cooking to really come together as a group to talk and tease much as we are prone to do when we are together. After we finished cooking, we sampled everything.
I made crab cakes - very delish. Lara made the yummiest Polenta I have ever had. It was a creamy, cheesy polenta topped with sauteed mushrooms. Katie made an Scallop Escabiche in cucumber cups which were delicious too. I was excited to try and escabiche as I see them make it on Top Chef all the time, but I was never sure what it tasted like. I don't think the rest of my family liked it as much as I did, which is surprising because it had fresh, chopped tomato in it, and I HATE tomato (except for sauce or ketchup - which is a whole other blog post). Erin made a parmesan peppercorn Biscotti which was surprisingly yummy. We all decided that if we made it at home, we'd use less peppercorn and eat it as a bread rather than a biscotti. None of us like the harness of a biscotti. Finally, my mom made grilled zucchini strips stuffed with spinach and herbed goat cheese.We all felt the goat cheese was way too strong and were trying to think of a good alternative cheese to fill the zucchini with. We thought maybe feta. And instead of serving it cold, we'd serve it warm.

Finally, class was over and we were getting ready to leave downtown to head to McKnight Road to do some shopping. I asked a fellow classmate to take our picture. Here it is. Jennie the Giant with her mom and sisters. I am a good HEAD taller than everyone in the picture! The one time this crew decides to wear flats and I'm wearing heels pushing my usual 5'8" to almost 6 feet! Good grief!

So here we are after the class was over. From left is Lara, Erin, (people often ask them if they are twins, they are not) my mom, Katie and me. Lets point some sisterly things out here. First, I don't think any of us look anything alike. Maybe my sister Katie looks like my mom, but I don't think the rest of us do. Yet anywhere we go, people always say, "Are you sisters?"

We are sisters. And I'm grateful and blessed to have such wonderful women in my life.

Thanks, girls, for a wonderful time. And special thanks to Mom who graciously funded the entire operation.

Let's do it again really soon . . . I need to get out of the house.

1 comment:

  1. Jen, you forgot to mention Mom's graduation from stone washed stove pipe pants with bleach stains to stylish mother of 4 grandmother of 5!

    Also you neglected to mention any specific occasion of sister cruelty - like the time you let katie and Erin tie me to a vaccuum cleaner and tickle me till I peed my pants. You ignored my screams, probably b/c you were reading or writing in your journal.