Confession No. 98 — Want drama? Go to your nearest middle school.

Kitchen Nightmares. The Bachelor. Jerseylicious. Desperate Housewives … They’ve got nothing on any group of 20 middle school girls. Throw in a few episodes of Dallas, General Hospital and Chopped … and you’re still not even close.

In fact, there’s more drama in my home alone than in every soap opera, fake reality show and on Broadway — combined. And most of it comes from one person.

My sweet baby girl.

Now, before I go any further, know that I see Baby Girl as a participant. A drama vessel, if you will. Also, understand that I love her more than I love anything. She and I are like two peas in a pod. We share the same (dark) sense of humor; an equal penchant for tortilla chips and spicy salsa; and a fierce desire for dilled green beans. We were even born in the same hospital.

But, damn! I wasn’t prepared for Tony-winning performances on a daily basis.

We knew early on that she didn’t much care for silence. As a toddler, Baby Girl would sit in her high-chair and engage us in … conversations. It was a language reminiscent of a Mogwai, and known only to her. Still, we could tell that she meant business, with her constant hand motions as she spoke in paragraphs. Perhaps all of her female classmates have similar stories.

Though I believe Baby Girl’s drama to be somewhat genetic (my side), she and some classmates might have caught a bug from an overemotional kindergarten teacher.

‘Mr. Holland, we’re in the principal’s office calling you about a serious issue,’ the teacher said through a speaker phone.

‘Oh no,’ I responded. ‘What did you do, Baby Girl!?’

‘Well, Mr. Holland, she wouldn’t share her crayons with another little girl in her group.’

And that three-minute conversation went south from there, Baby Girl undoubtedly enjoying my lecture about the difference between social graces and children who should be bringing their own supplies. Needless to say, we never again heard from that teacher. In fact, for several years after that, Baby Girl-related drama rarely reared its head.

Then came middle school.

Being a guy, all I really recall about middle school was cracking voices, the emergence of armpit hair and the discovery of bra straps. I remember popping each other with towels in the locker room or being forced by a coach to do 1,000 yards of belly-flops for chewing gum in English class. When we disagreed about something, we either shook hands and moved on, or scrapped — then shook hands and moved on.

But girls?

In case you didn’t know, or never experienced it, a single glance from one girl to another in a middle school cafeteria can bring on an avalanche of tears, hairstyle changes and diets, which is then followed by a mountain of rumors. Seriously.

I’ve read handwritten letters that included no fewer than 100 exclamation points (several of which were used to punctuate a single sentence), 20 frowny faces and the words ‘she’ and ‘him’ on every line. The common denominator in all of those letters: no real topic.

It’s even worse when moms get involved. (And they do get involved!)

I’ve been made privy to some motherly efforts that just amazed me. These include text messages written under their baby girl’s accounts, lobbying sessions with band directors, theater teachers, and other moms. And more rumors, of course.

I’m not sure whether they are trying to relive their own days of melodramatic glory, or live vicariously through their engrossed little offspring. But, it happens. Regularly.

‘She makes me want to throw up,’ Baby Girl would say. ‘You just don’t understand, Dad!’

She’s right. I don’t understand. But, I do remember her younger days when such trivial things as the wind blowing made her similarly nauseous. And, I don’t care to revisit those times.

Besides, teen girl drama makes me sort of nauseous too.

If you like what you read here, please help me spread the word. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook (click the ‘like’ button), Pinterest and Google+. — Special thanks to Megan E. Hawkins at The Underground Writer for editing this piece. Subscribe to her blog for some lively observations, with no unnecessary drama. 

The only thing dramatic about the following recipe is the cool creaminess of the avocado dressing; the slight bite of the pepper and the brightness of the cilantro, lime and tomatoes. It’s two traditions fused into one summer dish. I hope you enjoy.

Guacamole Pasta Salad

Guacamole Pasta Salad — A bright, cool and delicious fusion

Guacamole Pasta Salad — A bright, cool and delicious fusion

1 lb – Pasta, cooked al dente

1 cup – Mayonnaise
1/2 cup – Sour cream
Small bunch – Cilantro
1 – Medium Avocado
1 – Small onion
1 – Serrano pepper, seeded
Juice of 1 Lime

1 cup – Cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup – Black olives, sliced

Seasoned salt, to taste

Blend mayonnaise and next five ingredients until smooth. Combine all but about 1/2 cup of the dressing with cooled pasta. Top with tomatoes and olives. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. Fold tomatoes and olives into cooled salad. Top with reserve dressing and season as desired.


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta salad!!!!! I might even want to marry it, but it won’t want to marry me back because I’m FAT! I’m so ugly fat that you just…. oh nm… you won’t understand becuz you’re a boy and I HATE BOYS!!! No wait, maybe I don’t. I don’t know, but this whole paragraph is making me cry. I have to go call my bestie now.

  2. I well-remember the horrors of life between about age 11 until 16 or so…And I’m grateful that I have a boy (not that they don’t come with issues of their own, I know). If one does not like mayo, what would you suggest as a substitute?

  3. healthyyou72 says:

    Wow, I so need to make this recipe! I love the idea of guacamole and pasta together in one lovely dish! :-) Take care,Terra

  4. I don’t think we were allowed to have drama when I was at school…unless scheduled on the timetable. Our fearsome head mistress would not have approved.

    That salad looks great and we have our own avocados…I’ll try it with yogurt rather than mayo.
    What is Crema Mexicana, please?

  5. Reblogged this on LYRIX & LIFE.

  6. The pasta salad looks delish! And your explanation of the drama was entertaining, and I fear, spot on. Hang in there Adam. Sounds like you have a few years to go!

  7. I’m so glad to see this. My husband and I have a month of salads (pretty much) between July 15 and August 15 because of the heat. I will add this to the list. As for drama – Yep, my mom was a drama queen, I was a drama queen but somehow I broke the cycle because my daughter never had any of that going on thank goodness. I’ve never seen her face change expressions much – that is until she had Rocket – now there’s the faces, worrying, baby talk. So much so I honestly don’t know who she is sometimes! :)

  8. 1. This recipe I CAN DO!!! Do you have any idea how exciting this is for me? And my family? As long as I don’t forget about the boiling pasta (again), I can pull this one off.

    2. The best thing for a teen girl to survive teen drama is knowing she has a dad who adores her and listens. She’s already ahead of the game. Hang in there!

  9. Oh, dang, yeah, I remember the drama and that drama went on thru college, hey, even into the 30s and early 40s, albeit in a more ‘refined and dignified’ fashion…once you hit those 50s and 60s, you don’t give a rat’s *#%&(# AT ALL, and you can even go overboard w/guac pasta salad!! Scream, dance and shout! It’s freedom at its best! Another well done job, my friend! xo

  10. Middle school teacher here…and I direct a drama team…some years the “drama” was unbearable!! Oh, especially boy/girl drama!!

    I have a son, so I do sympathize with you Adam! Because the drama’s at home with you!! Just go with the flow as much as you can…and say, “Oh, really? That’s so awful! I totally understand!” And by tomorrow, they will have gone on to new issues!!

    I’m gonna try that Guacamole Pasta Salad!!!!

  11. Omaigoodness! I cannot wait to make this with my mom!~ <3 As for the drama… take this from a 16 year old girl; No matter how much crap goes down, it'll blow over within a month or two! X3

  12. Hi Adam, I can totally relate to the teenage drama thing. I think I’ll take the suggestion to use Greek yogurt, we’ve found it’s a great sub for mayo, although not in all recipes. I think with the avocado this would work for sure.

  13. Definitely trying the salad. It’s looks delicious!

  14. Pasta salad looks really yummy. You couldn’t pay me to go back to middle school. Thankfully my daughter seems to be handling it really well. So far. :)

  15. Taking On Magazines says:

    I’m so not looking forward to middle school. I rue the day. I already have a drama queen on my hands and I can only imagine how much worse it’s going to get.

    Guacamole pasta salad. Forget a plate, just pass the bowl.

  16. Another great post Adam. As an only child, I’m leaning towards the side of the child in Kindergarten bringing her own supplies. ;) anyway, boy do I remember those drama days and all the things that made me want to throw up! Donald Jones come first to mind. Wonder what ever happened to him?

    • Thank you, Lea Ann. I was really shocked when a grown woman called to complain that my daughter wasn’t sharing her supplies. In fact, Alexandra has always been a good sharer, but that wasn’t the point. They were hers. If she chose not to share, that is her business. (The teacher couldn’t understand this.) — Donald Jones, huh? Was he the type of guy who showed everyone his chewed up food, and made lots of bodily function noises with his armpits?

  17. Loved the post. Having survived two Baby Girls, I can say that the drama extends beyond middle school. They are both now what used to be called middle aged, when I was in my 20′s, but that can’t be, because I consider myself middle aged, so I don’t know what age cohort they presently occupy. One Baby Girl has two Baby Girls of her own, so I will be able to enjoy another generation of drama from afar. Payback is a dish best observed from lofty heights. Speaking of dishes, Guacmole Pasta Salad looks and sounds delicious. You can’t go wrong with those ingredients.

  18. Adam, why are you writing about my daughter? And why are you looking at me that way?!!!! And I’d certainly make this awesome salad & not share it with anyone. Now about that teacher who actually took the time to call you about sharing crayons…come on.

    • I’m speechless, Diane. (Jot that down on a calendar somewhere.) As for that teacher? Way too much time on her hands, apparently. ;-)

      • Some teachers just are frustrated shrinks. One parent/teacher meeting I had once was a major analysis of Niki’s “only child syndrome” because she had a hard time dealing with the 2 delinquents that the teacher stuck her between – you know, to split the boys up. So my daughter was supposed to do the teacher’s job of keeping control of the class I guess.
        Ok got it – Jul 10. 2013 Adam was speechless, duly noted :)

        • The problem with many teachers (not all of them, mind you) is that they spend so much time hanging out with 2nd graders — they start acting like them. It sounds to me like Niki’s teacher was doing something else common in the profession these days: absolving herself of responsibility.

  19. I like the recipe – ingredient amounts are suggestions, not commandments. Hey, get a bunch of women together on a daily basis (like work) and it’s middle school all over again.

  20. Adam, thanks so much for your latest post. It’s so frighteningly true. You’d think that middle schoolers would be more mature than kindergartners. Anyways, you might recognize me from Aspire then Inspire. I was jus wondering if you could help me out–maybe comment on my latest post, give me some general advice on how to make a blog more like yours. Again, I’m at Thanks!

  21. Just wondering if you could make this the day before a lunch party? I can add tomatoes and olives the morning before…? Are the onions diced in the dressing? Thanks!

    • Hi Kate. The onions are actually blended with the dressing until smooth, although diced onions would work fine if you’re looking for that added crunch. You can certainly make this the day before. Just make sure the pasta is nice and firm, since it will absorb liquid and soften. As you mention, I’d add the tomatoes and olives the day of. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. […] Confession No. 98 — Want drama? Go to your nearest middle school.. […]

  2. […] thanks to Adam J. Holland of the Unorthodox Epicure (click HERE to check out his humorous and often touching essays) for assisting with this piece. And always […]

  3. […] straight out of the skin…it just tastes so good! I came across this Avocado Pasta Salad from Adam J. Holland, who we follow avidly on Google +. Not only is he hilarious, but he is an amazing chef! If you […]

  4. […] is a recipe that was posted on Six Sisters but the recipe is from the unorthodox epicure I wanted to try it but I wanted a healthier version and this is what I came up with. I took it to […]

  5. […] Garnish with chopped cilantro and queso fresco, if desired. Serve with Cauliflower-infused Chipotle Garlic Mashers (pictured) or Guacamole Pasta Salad. […]

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