Since she was a wee little Moppet, Sister Madly never questioned her existence. In fact, she never even considered how she arrived on this planet until one afternoon at the Museum, when she encountered the Exhibit that depicted fetal development from fertilization to full-term.
What the Exhibit (or her parents, for that matter) didn’t explain was how the baby got there- and Sister Madly didn’t wonder. She cheerfully assumed it spontaneously* happened now and then after one got married… marriage being the catalyst, of course.
* Like hair loss, or human combustion- you know, the usual pickles one encounters in adulthood.
In fact, Sister Madly continued to not wonder until the day she watched a TV movie down in the basement with her childhood friend, Serafina.
With the innate knowledge that Hollywood was most accurate in its depiction of reality, Sister Madly was more than willing to accept that it wasn’t marriage that caused pregnancy. Apparently, it was the result of a boy and a girl sharing a bed, which leads to some uncontrollable yet creative gymnastics, which was clearly the process of a baby spontaneously being made- and quite frankly, Sister Madly thought it looked most unpleasant.*
* Although not as unpleasant as, say, a salad.
This confidence lasted until the day Serafina turned up with a book found in her sister’s room, which explained the Science behind creating children- that is to say, the steps that lead up to fertilization, which the Museum Exhibit had omitted. This newfound knowledge, however, was not accompanied by the expected horror that her own parents suffered* through this ordeal when creating Sister Madly; instead, she and Serafina went next door next to pester the neighbor for some jellybeans.
* The wee little Moppet did not read as far as the pleasure aspect of the activity, as she bored quickly in those days.
Since sharing a bed leads to the uncontrollable urge to engage in the Science of Making a Baby, Sister Madly wasn’t too worried about being saddled with a baby at the tender age of 8ish, as she likes the bed to herself and tends to shove out anyone who tries to share it- usually with ice-cold feet. Wearing socks to bed is just weird.
But even this was short-lived, as Sister Madly & Co. happened to overhear Serafina’s mother talking to Serafina’s older sister, who was about to go on her first date. The Mother was giving the Serafina Sibling a pep talk on how to resist engaging in the Science of Making a Baby,* which the Serafina Sibling seemed to “already knooooooooow, Mom…” and please, give her some credit.
* Apparently, it was not sharing a bed that caused this uncontrollable urge, but when a boy and a girl came within close proximity to each other, which undoubtedly would cause many problems during the local Hide-and-Seek Marathon the neighborhood kids play on Saturday afternoons.
But as they listened in on the motherly lecture, it became clear that this impulse would only arise during a date, which was a such a relief; as long as no one called the Hide-and-Seek Marathon a ‘date,’ there would be no sudden urge to create babies. Sister Madly made a note to address this topic ahead of next Saturday afternoon.
It’s frightening, really, the depths of her genius…
PULLED CHICKEN PROVENCAL
- 2 onions, sliced
- 6 boneless chicken thighs, whole
- 1½ – 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tsp herbs de Provence
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp salt, or to taste
- ¼ tsp chipotle pepper
- Butter/oil, for sautéing
Heat oil in Dutch oven
Add onions, stirring to coat
Lower heat, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized (30-45 min)
Mix in spices, broth, and chicken; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked (25 min)
With 2 forks, shred chicken in sauce
Simmer to reduce liquid (if needed)
THEME SONG: Kiss Me Deadly, Lita Ford
A few months ago, Sister Madly became a Vendor at a fabulous Marketplace- she says fabulous, because it does not require her to deal with people directly. Truth be told, if Sister Madly was any good at socializing, she would crash many parties and pretend to know many things…
Like many children in America, Sister Madly discovered capitalism at an early age. While most of her contemporaries embarked upon their entrepreneurial journeys by selling Girl Scout Cookies, a wee Sister Madly forged her way into the Business World through the ultimate black market transaction: the Tooth Fairy.
Now some may say the Tooth Fairy is, like Santa, a myth; but common sense says otherwise. After all, which is more logical: a fat man crawling down the chimney once a year just to leave you some coal in an argyle sock, or a tiny woman approaching you in the dead of night to purchase used body parts for a quarter a piece?
As a most logical Moppet, the answer was obvious.
Of course, she was a bit skeptical at first; but after selling about 75¢ worth of teeth to Tinkerbell, Sister Madly was convinced there was a market for discarded body parts. Clearly there was a corporation dealing exclusively in baby teeth, something Sister Madly had in abundance; perhaps she could sell the Corporation her teeth- as well as those of her classmates- in bulk, and get a lump sum. It should be relatively easy to convince her classmates to eat a handful of rocks- at least the first time…
Besides, it’s not like Sister Madly needed all her teeth at that moment. Sure, she was about to be in her cousin’s wedding, but Sister Madly was practically invisible thus no one would notice that the flower girl was missing all of her pearly whites.
But before she got the chance to discuss this business proposition with Tinkerbell, Sister Madly had a thought: what if there wasn’t an agent between her and the Corporation? Just imagine how much more money she could make if she peddled her own teeth directly- at least 65¢ apiece. That’s more than the price of a candy bar!* And if the teeth were sold in bulk, that would save the Corporation money in the long run- Sister Madly didn’t understand how, but her Father once assured her that one could save money by buying in bulk. Yes, perhaps it was time for Sister Madly to dispose of this Tinkerbell and take her rightful place as the Tooth Fairy.
* Foolish are ye who thought this most angelic Sister Madly was eating kale back in the 80’s. Kale hadn’t been invented yet.
Now, since there was market for baby teeth, what other discarded body parts were in demand? What is the going rate for an inch of Moppet hair? How about fingernails? Sister Madly was aware that she and her classmates would only be a source of baby teeth for so long, thus she had to plan for her future lest she end up on the streets at the ancient age of 8 in a potato sack with a tin cup full of coins.
Not to mention her classmates were an endless source of hair…
Due to parental disapproval, Sister Madly was unable to take her rightful place as the Tooth Fairy, which no doubt would have improved the social skills that would allow her to crash many parties and pretend to know many things.
GNOCCHI VEGETABLE SOUP
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- celery, diced
- carrots, chopped
- baby potatoes, cubed
- mushrooms, sliced
- 1lb prepared gnocchi
- 4-6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp marjoram
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste
- ¼ tsp nutmeg, or to taste
- Salt, to taste
Sauté onion in hot oil until translucent; 5 minutes
Add garlic, carrots, and celery; sauté 2-3 min
Add spices and bay leaves; saute until fragrant 1 min
Deglaze with wine; reduce 2-3 min
Add potatoes and mushrooms; stir to coat
Add stock and coconut milk; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer 25- 30 min
Add gnocchi; simmer until cooked through
Remove bay leaves; adjust salt and pepper to taste
When she was young, Sister Madly thought her looks were ordinary; she couldn’t understand how people even recognized her. There was nothing special about her hair or her eyes, she was short, and her nose was simply there- in other words, she was that typical, run-of-the-mill moppet that couldn’t be distinguished from any other.
In fact, her looks so ordinary, it practically made her invisible.*
* She could, however, throw a tantrum of epic proportions, which would render her invisibility temporarily null and void.
Now invisibility had its perks: she could make faces at passing strangers, not eat her vegetables, even get away with murder (once she figured out what murder was and why she would want to get away with it) all without consequence. Of course, Sister Madly would grow up being overlooked and trampled underfoot, a plight for which her mother must have some secret sympathy, enough at least to compel her to buy her daughter the mercury she’d been begging for the past week.
At is turned out, her mother hadn’t much sympathy at all, which left Sister Madly sulking in the basement with a coloring book and not an ounce of mercury to her name (nor a hammer- one simply cannot play with mercury without a hammer!) She wasn’t completely heartless, though, as she invited Serafina over in hopes of cheering Sister Madly out of her no-mercury funk.
After getting the Hula Hoop stuck in a tree yet again (a favorite pastime in the Madliverse*) the girls wandered down to the corner party store for candy cigarettes, which naturally resulted in the two deciding to cut their own hair. Serafina’s decimated lock ended up being easily tucked behind her ear, but Sister Madly’s- well, her lock stuck straight up in the back, much like the fuse on a cartoon bomb.
* Not so much for the Pater Madly, who had to retrieve said Hula Hoop.
The impromptu makeover was not a particular blow to her vanity, as Sister Madly lacked a certain awareness at that age. Surely the Mater Madly would agree that this ‘new do’ was an improvement, as Sister Madly was sporting a rather unflattering pixie cut* at the time.
* Aka, a ‘Dorothy Hamill,’ named after the only individual on the planet who could pull off such a style.
As it turned out, the ‘new do’ was as subtle as a brick through the window. There was a lengthy lecture that evening, during which the Parental Madlys explained exactly why they didn’t want their daughter personally modifying her pint-sized physique: she could harm herself, it wasn’t a necessity in order to survive, and heaven knows she wasn’t doing it for a worthy cause. It would grow back, sure, it was only hair- but it was only hair this time. They didn’t want to know what would happen next time, and sought to discourage further experimentation before Sister Madly emerged from the basement one Sunday afternoon with various piercings and badly executed tattoos.
The Mater Madly was particularly frustrated: not only were Sister Madly’s class pictures upcoming, she was also to be in her cousin’s wedding the following weekend.
Still, Sister Madly didn’t see why they made such a fuss; she was invisible, after all. Had her mother been in a slightly less end-of-the-world frame of mind, Sister Madly would have pointed out the likelihood of her pictures turning out blank- it is impossible to photograph the invisible, that’s just common sense. She also would’ve suggested that Tallulah take her place in the wedding- Sister Madly wasn’t exactly sure what a wedding was or its purpose, but her mother made it sound important, and her cousin would probably want a flower girl who could be photographed.
About a week after the wedding, the pictures revealed something rather shocking: Sister Madly was clearly visible in the photos, right down to the wispy, fuse-of-the-bomb hairdo. While initially perplexed by this development, the answer was suddenly so obvious that she felt silly for not recognizing it: Sister Madly, you see, was invisible to the world, not to herself. Therefore, just as she could see herself in a mirror, she would be able to see herself in a photo. No doubt her class picture would reflect the same.
This is the rationale that has sustained her into adulthood. Logic is a dying art.
CURRIED SUMAC PULLED CHICKEN
- Ghee/Oil for sauteing
- 1 1/2- 2 cups chicken stock
- 6 boneless chicken thighs, whole
- 2 sweet onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp curry powder (used Japanese Curry)
- 1½ – 2 tsp Harissa
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- salt to taste
Saute onions until caramelized; 45-50 minutes
Add garlic; saute 3 minutes
Add spices; saute 30 secs
Add chicken; stir to coat
Add stock; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes
Shredded chicken w/2 forks in sauce
Simmer to reduce/thicken (if needed)
Let stand 2 minutes; serve
THEME SONG: Invisible, U2
Image 4.) Anna Spencer Photography
Every Child is an Artist.
The Problem is
How to Remain an Artist ~
When we grow up.
~ Pablo Picasso
1.) “Autumn Rose (Self-Portrait)” Autumn de Forest, age 12
2.) “Sea Breeze” by Kieron Williamson, age 10
3.) “Eagle Nebula” by Aelita Andre, age 7
4.) Dusan Krtolica, age 11
5.) “Limit of the Apple” by Victoria Yin, age 12