Thursday, July 30, 2009


When I was born I weighed four pounds, seven ounces. I was forcibly yanked from the womb by a Navy doctor wielding a pair of steel forceps that left horrible bruises on my little head. I was whisked away to an incubator and, being that it was still the dark ages in the military back then, not allowed to be held or nursed. My mother wasn't able to touch me for a couple of weeks, if I remember the story right. And yet, I was loved. Without bounds. And I turned from bright, blotchy, baby opossum red to milky white to pink, to my current color, which is an interesting hue of Coppertone glow and rainbow.

All the while, I was loved endlessly, completely, and unconditionally. And, like every child, I have always admired and loved my mother and sought her approval and admiration. Unfortunately, I have also always been a bit of an exasperation. Maybe fighting for survival as a baby put a streak in me. I'll never forget the time I came home from summer camp when I was seven to find the Native American motif of my bedroom transformed into a bright pink wonderland of little girl fluffiness. I cried for days until Mom let me put it back the way it was. She had even sewed me a beautiful pink quilt and I reacted like an ungrateful little brat. But I was a Tomboy through and through and all that pink nearly killed me.

I was barely 18 when I left home and took off to Phoenix, Arizona to try out my independence with a boyfriend who my parents hated. My relationship with them barely survived. It was as if I had been disowned. My Mom couldn't let go of her hope that I would go to a four-year college like a good girl and become a preppy, perky sorority girl. Meanwhile, I was having one of the most difficult and wonderful experiences of my life. I learned so much about the world during that time. I left my hometown of 1,500 with a high school glass of 96 and drop-kicked myself into the urban jungle. I rode city buses to the end of the line and back just to take a look around, enrolled in college, worked three and four jobs at a time, and fell in love with the Southwest on trips to the northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon.

I'm pretty sure my Mom liked me best after I got married, had kids, and flung myself deeply into the Martha Stewart phase. Martha does have some great tips, after all, but even during that short-lived attempt at domesticating myself, I wrote this, a snarky little piece patterned after Martha's ridiculous self-aggrandizing column in her magazine. Obviously, that exasperating "streak" of mine doesn't stay away for long.

a Letter From Martha

Dear Friends,

As a busy young nursing mother, stockbroker, model and super-bitch, I often wished to create something truly useful with the excessive quantities of breast milk I was producing. But I was naïve at the time, and more interested in other ambitions.

Sadly, I let it all go to waste. I even let myself dry up after my daughter was weaned.Then, 20 years later, while on an overland trek into the Himalayas to learn the secret of making wild yak butter, it came to me: breast milk can be captured, not just for human infant nutrition, but for enhancing our lives, homes, and spirits.

Inspired, I developed my new "Lactating in Style Kit," available now for just $49.95. I know you will enjoy everything I have personally selected for this new offering. I have just purchased 13 new professional grade electric breast pumps for myself, and life has never been better.In this kit, you will find tips, recipes and anecdotes, including step-by-step instructions for making breast milk paints, easy breast milk bon-bons, old-fashioned breast milk custard, nipple stencils, paper mache breast centerpieces, and expert advice on how to find a decent wet nurse.

In addition, you will receive tips for purchasing the proper pump, and a bonus booklet featuring a field trip with me to Vermont's oldest breast milk dairy. I have tried always, and still do try, to be open minded about the vast possibilities and many opportunities right here at home that can add value to one's life.

My new Lactating in Style Kit is another beautiful way I can help enrich your life, and expand my empire. And to think it all started in Nutley, New Jersey where I grew up. All of the neighborhood mothers on Elm Street in Nutley were lactating during my childhood. I have many fond memories of my own mother standing over a steaming pan of homemade chocolate pudding. She would open her pinafore and squirt in a few streams of breast milk for that extra special flavor. We kids would gather around, begging mother for a taste. Now, my breast milk custard recipe has that same secret ingredient I enjoyed as a girl.

I certainly hope this kit will enhance your life as it has mine. Order Lactating in Style now by calling 1-800-Pump It, or on-line Happy Lactating!


For an early birthday gift this year, Mom took me to see Storm Large perform her one-woman show "Crazy Enough." Wow. What an amazing performance. Wow! I saw it again a few weeks later and as I commented to Shanna this morning, would see it a hundred more times if I could.

Please, please, listen to Storm's song here at Shanna's blog -- it's supervagintastic:

Storm's show is about love, about mothers and daughters, about insanity, life, independence, compassion, and survival. It is about serenity and acceptance. I know I exasperate you Mom, and I know you're out there, trying not to peek, but not being able to help yourself, and reading this. But I also know that you love me. I will always be your naughty little runt. I will probably always exasperate you. Just remember that like it or not, you're a big reason why I grew up to be all glow and rainbow colored.

Love without bounds, happiness for one other's joy (parents and children alike) and faith in the human spirit.......As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

Love you, Ma.


I was going to include one of my Mom's recipes here, but in the spirit of independence, here's one of my culinary inventions that makes grown men weak. Oddly enough, you wouldn't think granola would get them so worked up, but it seems to have that effect. Must be the vanilla, maple & cinnamon scents wafting out of the oven. Puts lactating thoughts in their minds....or something.

Gina's World Famous Granola

6 cups rolled oats

2 cups sweetened coconut

1 1/2 cups flax seed meal

1 cup each (3 cups total) toasted & chopped cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts

1 1/2 cup raisins or craisins or dried cherries

3/4 cup honey

3/4 vegetable oil or olive oil

1 teaspoon maple flavoring or a glug of maple syrup

2 T. Cinnamon

1 T. Vanilla

Mix everything up, stir well, spread onto two foil or parchment lined baking sheets. Bake in a 275 degree oven for about 40 minutes. The granola will get it's crunch as it cools!


Danielle said...

martha steward is a evil role model..even for men..hehe*...with each post of yours i can understand why shanna is so fond??? of you..and now excuse me..i m off to find eout what granolas are because i wanna try your recipe..:-)

Erobintica said...

Gina, that was just what I needed to read today - thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Shanna Germain said...

hugs and love, baby.

this was beautiful, as all your words are, and made me cry.

i love you, s.

neve black said...

So sweet. Yes, our mother's love us even when they think we do the craziest things - let's face it, we got those crazy genes from someplace, huh? :-)

Love is always just accepting -

Gina Marie said...

Hi Danielle, Gina's granola with yogurt and fresh fruit and a big cup of strong coffee....mmmm. You could run for days without stopping. I hope you make some. The recipe may make women weak as well :)

Robin, you beautiful, sensual poet, yourwelcomeyourwelcomeyourwelcome

Hugs and love to you Shannalicious. I hope my Mom can let go of exasperation someday and just accept. I think it would be easier if I could tell her I'm gay. I can imagine her saying, "Really! Like Ellen?" and helping me plan my lesbian wedding, as long as I agreed to go to bridal shows and taste cake, which I refused to do 15 years ago and got myself in hot water. Geez. Sorry Ma, I'm just not a cake taster! I'm a cake maker.

Love is definitely just accepting Neve and the world needs more of it, that's for darn sure.

You all make me smile every day. Thank you.

Craig Sorensen said...

Wow, this is beautiful. I hope your mom is looking in, and I hope that maybe she is softening to accept the real Gina, but the most important thing of all is that you are being the real Gina anyway.


I adore the letter from Martha. You had me laughing through it all. I could hear the precise Martha voice saying the words!

Gina Marie said...

Thanks Craig! You're the best. I think it's important for everyone to be who they are and that we should all be happy for them when they achieve it, whatever it is, without putting our own baggage, assumptions or judgments on it.

Martha's "precise speech" cracks me up too. How does a human being even get a voice like that?

Danielle said...

actually i d love to plan a lesbian wedding too..but i guess no lesbian would like to get marrie dthat way..:-)))