(Zarider) and Devine Intervention

When my first child, Oliver, was in pre-school, there was the perfunctory final meeting with his group of loving teachers.  One bit of advice stood out.  Maybe when he starts kindergarten, you can encourage him to lose the costume and makeup that he insists on wearing daily.

Who was I to discourage the distinctive fashion choice of my four-and-a-half year old son?  I wore costumes to school every single day of my life — in high school, mostly.  One day I might wear holsters and fake guns.  Next, I might walk my plastic duck on a leash into the classroom, take out a toy tea set and have a pretend tea party.  And I miss my matador costume; I would wear that right now if I still had it.

So there was Oliver in “big boy school” and he decided to not wear the face paint, but he did rock his new 1950’s-style greaser jacket.  He had just seen the movie “Grease.”

Oliver’s father (my ex) asked me one day if I’d seen the woman that looked so much like me.  He said she dresses a bit like me, is very short like me, and walks her son to school, pushing her young daughter in a stroller.  Just like me.  He noticed and mentioned her a few times.   Nope, hadn’t seen my doppelganger.  Never did.

Kindergarten went by with Oliver still in his “Grease” stage, and he luckily landed in the top-choice, first-grade class.  A team of teachers, Ms. Zarider and Ms. Devine, taught it.  They loved what they did and it showed in how happy the kids were in their class.  At the end of the year, the parents went in for the usual conference.  The ex and I sat together while the two teachers discussed Oliver.  They were thinking out loud that maybe the second grade could be a difficult adjustment for him.  They told us perhaps they made a mistake with a kid very much like Oliver that was in their class the year before.  Maybe, they should have held Max, this other kid, back because the new grade was tough for him, and he kept running back to them, their classroom and their kindness.  Oliver, they repeated a few times, was a very similar kid and they pointed out that we were very much like Max’s parents.  I didn’t think about this conversation for long, and Oliver would be headed off to the second grade.

A month or so later we were invited to a kid’s birthday party that was in Oliver’s class.  It was there that I met Max and his dad.

I figured out that it was this Max that Zarider & Devine had mentioned, and asked his dad,  “How was the second grade for Max?  Is his teacher notorious (it was rumored she was mean) for a good reason?”  He told me that this particular teacher always managed to put a negative spin on things, in contrast to his first grade teaching team who were positive about everything.   He said Max hated her.

One day, during that summer before second grade, I sent Oliver off with his grandmother to see a movie in Century city, just a block or two from where we lived.  When they arrived home, Gourmet Grandma (that’s what you all know her as in this blog) announced that Oliver and this kid Max from El Rodeo got along really well.  Apparently, Max’s grandparents had taken him to see the same movie.  Gourmet Grandma pointed out that they were similar kids, both small for their age.  She indicated they might want to get together for a “play date” sometime.  I didn’t think much of that, but if it were a script, there had been an awful lot of foreshadowing about Max and his family.

Max, Barnaby, Emma and Augie....Brady Bunching

Max is my stepson and I’ve been in his life for twenty years now, married to his father for thirteen.  Emma, the little baby in the stroller that my ex pointed out, is my stepdaughter.  If you’re reading my blog, you will know that one fateful day in Nate n’ Al’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, I saw Max’s dad and said we should get the boys together for that “play date.”  I then said, “My husband just left me for another woman, if you have anyone to set me up with….” — a line I used on just about anyone, whether I knew them or not (refer to blog called Germ Warfare).  This guy “Mike” told me he and his wife were divorcing.  I said, “In that case, you can ask me out.”  And he called that very day.  We’ve been together since then.  I wore a costume on that first date, something that would rule him out quickly if he were to judge me for the way I dressed.   Fortunately, he liked a grown woman with fake guns and a plastic duck.  

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Every year for my husband Michael’s birthday I make him his favorite cake. Tomorrow is his birthday, tonight this is what I will be baking.
Happy Birthday to my- Divine- Intervention- Husband Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup best-quality cocoa
1 1/2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream
Special equipment: 2 (each 8-inch diameter) layer tins with removable bases, buttered
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put all the cake ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into a food
processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. I just throw it all in a big mixing bowl and use a hand mixer. lf you want to go the long way around, First mix the flour, sugar
and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk
together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.
Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester
comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes, but it is wise to start checking at 25 minutes
Frosting which is why my husband loves this cake!!!
1 8 ounce package cream cheese softened
1 stick unsalted butter softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
use a hand mixer to combine all the ingredients and then add by hand a package of shredded coconut
frost your chocolate coconut cake and celebrate!!!

We Are Family!!!!!



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 Responses to “(Zarider) and Devine Intervention”

  1. mogull says:

    sweet. full of love. really liked that one fredrica.
    i remember it all like it was yesterday.

  2. mitch says:

    That’s a sweet story, Fredde.

  3. Erin says:

    So sweet, heartwarming and full of love. They are so lucky (all of them) to have you

  4. valentina says:

    that’s a pretty amazing story, Fredde. quite romantic.

  5. robin says:

    Thai is an amazing story!
    I never heard that before.
    makes me sad I missed so much.
    that’s why I have to see you so much.
    I keep trying to catch up….
    xxxxxx love love love you

  6. Linda Ellman says:

    What will you wear to serve up the cake? For some reason my mind goes to the silly red and white stripped Wil Wright’s ice cream shop get up. Am I aging myself? Happy Birthday to your lucky guy!

  7. I am constantly amazed at the stories you tell and the imagination that pours out of your soul! You were so ahead of your time. My daughter home schools her sons so that the kind of imagination you encouraged in you children will not be squelched. I really admire your spunk and creative way of thinking outside the box! Thank you!

  8. Karen marks says:

    I don’t usually think of the ‘it was meant to be’ idea, but it sure looked that way! Love your storytelling. And happy bday to your husband!

  9. cristi ulrich says:

    Another Fabulous story!! Here’s to those teachers who inadvertantly helped you find your Love and here is to him for loving you just the way you are. I am with Linda on the Will Wright’s Ice cream uniform!! Maybe with a few Fredde twists. You always outdid everyone in dress up!!! Happy Birthday to Michael – you guys are truly blessed!! xxoxoxox

  10. Diana Boos says:

    Even though I know the story, it’s still great to see it put to paper. It was kismet. I love how you met and the whole melding of both families. Love your writing and love you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL!!

  11. Pauli says:

    What a great story with a really good surprise ending…for most of the story I kept thinking that Max was the other Max (the one with the famous movie director father who lives in the Palisdades…) So glad
    to find out otherwise!! Wonderfully written!

  12. debi fries says:

    Fredde I read your stories and immediately feel immersed in the experience as if I were watching it all unfold right in front of my eyes. Your writing is captivating and the recipes all inspire me to try them out. You are a foodie for sure yet it is the way that you weave these loving and funny moments that so capture both the experience and my heart. Hurrah for Divine Intervention! I think I need you to be my dating guru or perhaps I just need to don a costume or two!!

  13. Linda says:

    I knew the cake recioe, but not the “At Long Last Love” story … <3

  14. Laura Plotkin says:

    Another great one, Fredde. Clearly it was bashert!

  15. Karen Kevorkian says:

    I love reading anything you write! You paint pictures with your words!k

Leave a Reply