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Betsy Block

Stories without recipes

What I'm Doing Wrong: Only Everything

&fromTo learn about the issues surrounding the 2007 Farm Bill, go here. (Hint: It's costing us a lot and making us fatter at the same time - nice going, USDA!)

To send a letter to Congress asking your representative to help change the Farm Bill, go here.

To send a letter to the Secretary of the USDA asking for changes in the Farm Bill, go here. (USDA says comments on the 2007 Farm Bill are "closed." I say, it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.)

To find out about the book I'm writing for Algonquin Books, go here.

If you'd like to receive (infrequent and very short) e-mails when I have pieces on, sign up here.

New post up every Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by.

Recently Ive been feeling badly that I haven't been posting recipes and photos on my site. After all, I named it Mama Cooks for a reason. But obviously, I dont feel badly enough to make a change. (At least, not this week.)

As I'm mulling this over, BD and I head out for a Sunday afternoon on the town. We somehow find ourselves in a fancy clothing store on tony Charles Street in downtown Boston. (Im not really sure how we ended up there, because obviously I hate shopping and wasnt considering buying anything.) Thats when we overhear a woman at the register say, in an oddly incongruous Valley Girl accent (we are in the heart of Brahmin territory):

Im 39? And I have a 12-year-old? (What, you think you deserve a gold star?) The ssecret isss-" (that is, the secret to why she looks so fantastic): Neverrr. Get. A minivan? Becoss then you end up sssuper-sssizing yourssself? And wearing 80ssss jeanssss. And here she laughed. Meanwhile, Im thinking, Yo, bitch, I have a minivan. Wanna take it outside?

Soon after, having had more than enough of this place, BD and I do head outside, at which point I urgently ask him, What are 80s jeans? Do I have them on right now? He doesnt know, and neither does a saleswoman in the next store we enter, who cocks her head to the side and says, Hmm, when I ask her. A minute later, though, her face lights up and she says, I know! Stonewashed! I nod, relieved. Okay, so at least on the jeans thing, I think Im good. (Although 20 years ago? Guilty as charged.)

Next, we head to a Spanish restaurant, get seated, order drinks. Im not trying to be nosy; its just that theres a lull in our conversation right as the woman next to us exclaims, More people read People than the Wall Street Journal! Her friend nods and says, Thats sad. But Im thinking, Yeah, so whats your point?

Well, she says, clearly reading my mind, its indicative. Eh, who asked you.

Our waiter comes over, and while were talking over whether to order tapas or paella, he nods. He understands; its an important decision. Then he adds that he made the biggest mistake of his life last week, when he brought his landlady to this restaurant, and  get this  ordered too much food.

And finally, this, from our adorable neighbors on the other side, apparently talking about a daughter looking for an apartment to rent (Im sorry, once again I couldnt help hearing you): Shes got the perfect profile: shes 30, single, and has no pets. I, of course, am 41, and not only do I have a husband and a pet, I also have children.

Thats when I sat back and took a long swill from my blond sangria. It had been a long day.