"You come down right now. RIGHT NOW. Just like your father. Avoiding things by climbing water towers. Christmas will be back next year, DON."
I can't even talk about it. I am so lame right now, that it is blowing my mind. The point where you go "Seriously, what is it going to take," where you're playing Camp Counselor to your own brain, and then that part of you that reminds you of that one girl in the Unicorn shirt back in tenth grade who was always crying to teachers in the hallway about nothing, really? And then entering stuff in the art show? Shows up. I'm able to say that I was not fond of that girl, she made me uneasy like coyotes make me uneasy, meaning during the day you could probably get away but at night it's a whole different reason to leave the house with a cheese grater and corkscrew, and so when my brain acts all "I just really need to talk to you, Mrs. Levert" I am freaked out and sickened on two different all-beef patty levels.
Do you know what fixes that? Kid Nation fixes that. RIGHT UP.
Besides Mad Men, I don't watch a lot of television. I'll catch The Hills in morning-after reruns, and I like it when Diddy forms a sweatshop song-and-dance gang, I will watch Giada De Laurentiis wherever she goes (I have this intense adoration of her clothing, precise and yet sometimes incorrect adjective use and that she is kind of Lifetime Movie intense about how many bites of food she actually puts in her mouth). I also watch the news, and sometimes "Katie and Peter" but then I get sad about Harvey. "He's blind and has a disease and a mirror fell on him and I think he was also scalded by the bathtub taps. I'm serious. He's also three."
So I don't know what that says about me, that I like stylized melodramas and British breast implants? Thinly-veiled food issues and choreography learned with the aide of threats and sleep deprivation? Add this: Every time Anna Nicole's part shows up when I'm listening to "New Workout Plan" I do the sign of the cross. And then, top it off with this confection -- I wanted to have a child the minute one of the eight year olds began to cry on "Kid Nation" tonight.
Here's the thing: I read "Baby Island" maybe fifteen times in my youth. Then I read that BSC Super Special where Dawn and Claudia and baby JAMIE NEWTON are stranded on one of New York's many uninhabited yet accessible islands, and they collect water in old juice boxes and catch tiny fish. Fourth and fifth grade, I had this whole idea that somehow my crush(es) (Justin B and Justin K, Drew and this kid named Nathan who I drew portraits of and dreamed of starring in a remake of Amy Grant's "Every Heartbeat" video with) would end up in a situation where we would be in charge of infants and surviving/avoiding death and also, wearing swimsuits the whole time.
So when I heard about Kid Nation, and the ages of those involved I was like "This is going to be crazy, those baby girls have been dreaming about this since they finished Little House on Plum Creek and Farm Boy." All Bolts of Calico and Oxen and boys named 'Manzo. Horehound candy (Hard in the middle!). Patty pans. You know? Pa nailing tarps to the walls and Mary with her un-calloused fingertips embroidering with silk threads. CARRIE'S SO DELICATE! Carry her slate.
The show did not fake me out. When the 10 and 11 year old girls, too old to cry in daylight and too young to care about impressing the 15 year old guys in the Peruvian ear-flap hats with braces, squealed over running a store my throat jumped, a little. They were so excited to be in charge of the rock candy and sour balls. Who wouldn't be.
But what was worse, or better, were the 8 year olds. One little guy had a single front tooth, maybe his first adult tooth so it looked like someone shoved a chunk of white chocolate up in his gums. He was very serious, all the time. Another little girl did nothing but "Woo-hoo" during her interview, and she wore a kerchief all the time. She was as tall as your thumb and put a hand to her heart when she walked into the store for the first time. And this other little man? With the curly moppet hair and conviction, and need to go home to a parent who would make sure he was changing his pants and knew it was pretty important to do so on a regular basis? Broke my heart when they found him behind a building, crying.
In a shameful way, too. I found myself wondering why no one had taken the youngest ones under their wings, and when that did happen I did the single, clenched-throat clap like men who used to run track or have strong opinions on javelin do during the summer Olympics. I wanted them to be warm, to have enough food in their bellies ("He didn't get a PANCAKE!") and be kind to one another. I also wanted the 11 year old with the black cowboy hat on the council to shut his blustery, pre-pubescent mouth in a fierce way, where I was wondering how many times I could be forgiven for hoping someone punched him. When the older boy, of the Peruvian ear-flap hat, stared him down and then put a finger on his chin I was awestruck. I was so impressed, by that move and my dislike of both of them. You know the older kid has had that done to him before, by someone taller, older, who didn't care and found it all hilarious. Either that or he is every foe of "The Mighty Ducks", come to life and formed in human flesh with underbite issues.
I have revealed too much about myself in this entry. Go now. Seriously. You can make these cookies, which are delicious and really nice, but just go. Turn out the light and leave me here, thinking about figure skating and the Troop Beverly Hills cookie concert. Let's all wave cash at the 12 year old in the Tina Turner Wig. Babies need money tonight.
Chocolate Striped Oatmeal, Almond and Toffee cookies
Adapted from Torie Hallock/Martha Stewart
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 pound (two sticks) just-softened butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter and sugars with a stand/hand mixer until fluffy. Crack in the egg and add the salt, vanilla and almond extracts and mix just until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, mix until incorporated and then add the oats, almonds and chocolate-toffee pieces. You may need to switch to a wooden spoon if you're using a hand mixer. Fold in the oats, almonds and candy until distributed evenly throughout the dough, then scoop out balls of dough with a tablespoon measure, or an ice cream scoop for saucer-sized cookies. Plop on a parchment or Silpat lined sheet pan and bake until edges are golden brown and middles just set, anywhere (depending on size) from 10 to 17 minutes. Check after ten.
When the cookies are done, remove and cool (on the sheet) for five minutes, then transfer one by one, or just slide the sheet of parchment, cookies and all, onto a wire rack to continue cooling completely. If cookies crack or break apart, gently nudge them back together -- they'll crisp up and rejoin as they cool.
In a microwave safe cup or small bowl, melt the chocolate chips and cream, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth and "pipeable" -- you want to be able to drizzle or pipe the mixture over the cookies. Transfer to a parchment cone, small piping bag, or plastic sandwich bag with the corner chopped off -- make the point smaller than you think you should, as chocolate will ooze out with no reservations. With a steady hand, drizzle the chocolate over each cookie, back and forth or in any other design that you desire. Cool until set, then enjoy.