See ya turkey.
Time to put it all away.
If I’m wearing a turkey sweater next year, send help.
Time to break out the Santa.
05 Dec 2013 Leave a Comment
See ya turkey.
03 Dec 2013 13 Comments
So I’ve been keeping a secret for the past few weeks. It’s been a monkey on my back – in a positive, happy kinda way.
After 7 years with a company I thought I’d spend the rest of my life at – I resigned. The 5 weeks before my resignation were a whirlwind. I wasn’t job hunting – even though I wasn’t happy. All I did was join LinkedIn – and in the words of Sheldon Cooper – !bazinga!… someone reached out. Things moved quickly and I was offered a really cool job.
As with all we do in my little unit – we talked/obsessed/freaked it out. Can we do it? Do I give up the holy grail of working from home for a long commute? Can we do it? Are we crazy? Yep.Yes.Yep. And of course we are.
We decided to jump in head first – as is our habit.
The saddest part in all this excitement and happiness is my team. It’s been a long, funny, hard, frustrating ride – and I’ll miss every moment of it. Well…not every moment. But I’ll miss them.
So in a couple of weeks – right before the holidays – I’ll start my new adventure.
It feels good to talk about it. To not hide it. It makes it feel real (because I’m a true product of the times and things don’t feel real until they are on social media. There. I said it).
Phew. That felt good to get out. Wish me luck. I’m stepping in. Going for it.
20 Nov 2013 6 Comments
The other day I found myself alone at mealtime. No kids. No hubby. Just me.
Know what I had?
I had this.
Now, if you’re a normal Mexican/Chinese/Thai food enjoying kinda person – chances are you’ve had Indian food. Although I’m not saying that you’re abnormal if you don’t enjoy the ethnic aisle, no judgements (but you ARE missing out you big boring weirdo). Anyway, you recognize the chick peas and the bread – they are staples in any good Indian buffet. But it’s the dish in the first picture that gets me going.
In India, street food is called Chaat – it’s the fast food of my people. What I had is called Dhai Puri – which means yogurt bread. Except the little round bread is fried to a crisp, stuffed with other fried foods, and then drizzled with a yogurt sauce. There’s also a tamarind sauce and garlic chili sauce on top – and more fried bits for good measure.
Healthy? No! Delicious? Yes!
18 Nov 2013 5 Comments
Ummm…can we just skip over my explanation of not writing during the last 15 days? Ok. Thanks. More importantly – I couldn’t wait to write this post.
We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout. Really we did. Swear on June and Johnny we did. And when we made that decision it was filled with worry and anxiety. Are we doing the right thing? Yes. Are we too young? Yes. Will we make it? I sure hope so. But once we were married and living our little life in NYC – all that worry went away. We had a great first year of marriage. Lots of traveling for work and for pleasure. Lots of painting the town red. Not a care in the world. If we wanted to eat out at 2 AM, we could. If we wanted to leave at a moment’s notice to hop a plane to a tropical island, we could. But in reality we never did. We were pretty tame. But we were happy.
Right after the holidays we decided that this would be the year we had a baby. Unlike the wedding/marriage/decision to stay together forever thing- this was an easy one. I loved kids. He…didn’t hate kids. It was perfect. We talked it through. We made a 6 month plan. We’d get our finances locked down. We’d figure out if we could stay in the apartment. We’d figure out if we needed to buy a car. We’d take part of the year to really sort it out. But we forgot something important.
I am a fertile myrtle. My body was made for baby bearing, and I’m not just talking about my hips. Just looking at babies could get me pregnant. And indeed, just thinking of having a baby was all it took. Well, not ALL it took. I’m not magic, but you get the point. I got pregnant quickly. Supersonic preggers. Look Ma, I got skills!
We were so excited. I won’t brag about how easy breezy the first months were. No morning sickness. No nothing. Just happy little butterfly flutters in my belly. We found out what we were having, because, well, you know. I’m nosy. I need to know things.
A girl!! Exactly what we wanted.
After that, instead of a Friday night movie – we’d head to Barnes and Noble and look up baby names. There must be an Irish/Ukrainian/Indian name right? Not so much. We knew the middle name would be Anne, because 1) Indians don’t really have middle names so I was open to anything and 2) My husband’s family has a long line of strong, beautiful women with that middle name. She could have no other middle name.
But there was an Indian first name that I loved. Asha. It means wish. Not just a small, penny-in-a-fountain wish – but a deep, burning, full-of-love wish. Asha Anne? It could work. I began working on my husband, trying to convince him that this was the name for our little one. He wasn’t loving it, but I think I would have talked him into it. Eventually.
2 months into my “Asha” obsession, my husband came home from work with a deeper than usual frown on his face. Then he proceeded to tell me about a woman who’d just started in his group that was making his life miserable. Anyone care to guess what her name was? Anyone? Bueller? No? It was ASHA. What? Come on! In the words of Vizzini in The Princess Bride – inconceivable!
Long story short, we didn’t go with that name. But we found something even better. There are so many other details about that time that fill my head.
I could tell you about my doctor (I’d never met a Hasidic Jew before and the first time we were introduced he said,” you don’t ask me why I have curls and I won’t ask you why you don’t wear a dot, ok? Loved him). I could talk about the raging postpartum depression I had that lasted for months, and then one day, just turned off like a light. I could talk about how we painted a hallway yellow and called it a baby room (it was beautiful).
I went into labor at 5am. We hopped into a cab and my water broke. The driver didn’t act surprised, #cabsaredirty. I was in labor for a bit and then she was born. I remember my husband clearly saying to me, in the midst of my epidural haze, “we’re a family”. The next few hours, days, weeks, months were a blur.
I’m sure a lot of people assumed she was a “surprise” because we were so young. None of our friends were even married, let alone parents. We lived in a city where it was normal to see a twenty year old strolling around with a baby – because she was the nanny, not the mommy.
But we were unapologetic. She wasn’t Asha, but she was. Because she was a wish. A plan. A purpose.
That was 15 years ago. There’s a ton of words I could use to describe her. She’s funny, smart, beautiful, kind, thoughtful, stubborn, careful, sarcastic, passionate, loyal – I could go on and on. Every time someone from the outside world tells me how amazing she is, I try not to do what I naturally want to do – which is to say,” I know right?”. I just say thank you and go cry in a corner.
Happiest Birthday to my first-born. Here’s what happens when you blink. Your baby goes from this…
31 Oct 2013 2 Comments
No – That isn’t some tricky baiting title to get you to read this blog….it really is a hippie and a banana.
(the banana wanted to be a trash can, but then the hippie found the banana right next to her dreads in the costume store – where else would you be if you were a banana costume – and the rest is history. Or science. Or psychology.)
22 Oct 2013 5 Comments
So I was traveling a bit last week and there’s two wonderful things that happen when I travel. First, I get to eat meals not prepared by me. And second, I get to read magazines. They could be gossip mags, fashion mags , political or social mags – I love them all.
There was an interesting article that got me thinking. No, not about the government shut down or Kim and Kanye’s baby – it was about lipstick.
Basically the article said that women in the workforce who wear red lipstick tend to feel more confident, powerful and smart. This in turn impacts how others perceive them.
Really? Lipstick? I wasn’t convinced. But then I stated looking at the other women on the train, who had apparently read the article.
So this week I’ve had some big meetings and decided to give it a try. I can’t do RED red… But I did a deep maroon instead. The new hot color called Oxblood. Which is hysterical because I’m a vegetarian. Not that it’s made of blood. Or ox. Anyhoo.
Look at me!
Do I look more powerful? Smarter? More capable? How about showered? At least I look clean right?
20 Oct 2013 2 Comments
There’s more photos of your weekend that you can’t post on social media than you can….
You’re over 40 but spent a lot of quality time with 25 year olds…
6 women shared an apartment for an entire weekend with only wine and hard lemonade in the fridge (and cheese)…
This past weekend I was invited to join a girls weekend with the most hilarious women I’ve ever met. Did they always mean to be that hilarious? Nope. But they were and I was thankful.
We stayed in the most beautiful block in all of NYC. Everything you could ever want was there. Restaurants, bars, theater, you name it, we had it. So without incriminating anyone. ( I’ll say WE) here’s some of the shenanigans:
- we locked ourselves out of the apartment we rented within the hour. Like. Immediately.
- we stood on a street corner and burped so loud a nearby officer commented (we think he was impressed and would have totally hung out with us if he wasn’t on duty)
- we went down like a tall tree in front of Cooper Union. We tried to grab another person on the way down but failed. Only our pride was hurt.
- we found a happy hour that started at 4 on Friday and one that started at 3 on Saturday. Don’t worry, we drank in between too.
- while sitting on a stoop at 3am, we saw a young gal (probably 25), try and get on a Citi bike with stilettos and a very very short skirt. Because we cared so much we started yelling at her to “give it up and take a cab.”
- did I mention we sat on a stoop
Like some of the photos – there are stories I can’t share. And there are stories that you wouldn’t get – because like war, you had to go through it with us to understand it or find it amusing . What I’ll say is this – I’m really very happy I’m not 25, because those gals looked hungry and uncomfortable,but it was fun to be around them.
Thanks ladies (and thanks to the guest stars on Saturday night – the comedian and his VERY drunk 25 year old gal)!
Here’s our street…
10 Oct 2013 6 Comments
This is my sons backpack.
It’s got his initials on it – so he knows it’s his.
He and I toiled over the shade of blue, I wanted a lighter sky blue – he loved this darker color.
I paid extra for shipping so he’d have it in time for school.
Inside the backpack is his homework, his books, his snack, his water, his musical instrument, and his jacket. He didn’t want to wear the jacket but I was convinced he’d need it at recess. I felt so good about remembering to give it to him. Yeah me!
Also inside is his itouch. He saved and collected every penny from his birthday and Christmas last year to buy one. He begged and pleaded with my husband and I to take it on the bus. I said ok . My husband said no. Conversations ensued.
An agreement was reached. A deal was made. But then I decided he could take it one last time before the new rules went into effect.
This is where the time goes.
Know where this backpack is? On the kitchen floor.
Know where my son is? On the bus to school.
That’s about right.
07 Oct 2013 7 Comments
My husband grew up in NYC. He grew up like most city kids – riding the subway, avoiding fights, and generally keeping to himself. But every year, his dad packed him and his sisters up and headed into the wilderness. Literally. The trip took weeks and weeks to plan, coordinate and schedule.
I started dating my husband in late October of 1991. That year’s trip was in the Spring, so I missed it. But oh the stories! I think I started hearing about the trips almost immediately. They were the stuff of legend.
Here’s a few overall facts about the Kowal Camping Trips:
- They go to the same place every year (many a story is told of how they discovered the campsite and how all other camp sites are substandard). It’s called Crystal Lake. Go ahead and insert the Friday the 13th jokes.
- The camping trip is never in the summer. That’s for wimps and yuppies. Kowal camping trips are in the early Spring or late Fall. Cold? Check! Wet? Check!
- This is no organized site with plug-ins, bathrooms and showers…this is…the opposite. You’ll get to know the forest well.
- Ponchos and tarps are your friends.
- Although total time in the woods is less than 42 hours, enough food, booze and magazines should be packed as if you were going away for a week. And even then you’ll wish you had more.
- The trips began with my husband and his dad (Pappa Joe as he’s referred to now in our house). They scouted, found and claimed the site. The sister’s were indoctrinated quickly after. I joined a few years in and since then, we’ve had lots of additions and subtractions. Our old photos of these trips are a who’s who of relationships past and present.
- There has never been a camping trip without rain. Never. Ever. Not once.
- This year, at ages almost 10 and almost 15, we decided it was time to introduce our kids to camping. We didn’t know how they’d fair or if we’d have to go home in the middle of the night or something – so we decided to do a “test” trip. We knew they could handle it when, on the first night, as my husband and I were trying to figure out the new tent – it started pouring. We couldn’t have been more proud when we looked over and saw the kids huddled together in the dark, in ponchos, sitting on tarp covered equipment – pretending it was normal. It was beautiful. A parenting home-run in our book.
Here’s some shots of camping through the years. Please note that some of these photos are before digital cameras, filters, edits, etc. Some of these pictures were actually physically developed! They’re “vintage”.
This is one of the early trips…notice the tarp covered tent. This is my husband’s younger sister, Stacy. Stacy has the longest running record of tents that leak. There’s usually a running stream in her tent when she wakes up. No joke.
This is my sister-in-law Colleen – sitting on cooler with toilet paper in hand. Classic.
This is the original Kowal gang below.
This is me and Pappa Joe in the early 90s. It was my birthday on this trip. That night, it poured so badly and I felt so bad for myself (because that’s what you do in your 20s), I threw a tantrum and slept in the car. I know better now. Suck it up! It’s the Kowal way!
This is my husband and Stacy. Cooking. Which is the only thing that takes your mind off the fact that you’re cold and wet.
Stacy and I enjoying the lake. Sitting very very very far away from each other enjoying the lake.
This is Pappa Joe – who always smiles when his two daughters are with him.
Did I mention it’s all about the fire? Men. Must. Stoke. Fire. That’s Uncle Roman doing what he did for the entire trip.
Sorry about the terrible quality of the photo below – but I needed you to see that I am wearing a winter coat, gloves and a scarf. There’s snow in the ground behind us. Just sayin’.
This is Pappa Joe. I love this photo. It’s quintessential. The vest. The glasses. The perfectly combed hair. This is the man who started it all!
And here we are continuing the legacy. Hazing our kids into the next generation of camping.
Yes – that’s my husband showing my kids how to load and use a BB gun. Please don’t send me angry emails about safety. Only empty Poland Spring bottles were hurt. If it makes you feel any better – we recycled them later.
Nothing made my husband happier than bringing his kids to the spot that held so many happy, funny, wet, cold, hysterical, loving memories.
As you leave the camp site, you always think the same thing – thank god we’re going home, and thank god we came.
03 Oct 2013 9 Comments
Last night I hosted the monthly meeting of a book club I joined this past year. I know I’ve told you about it before (This ain’t no Oprah’s Book Club ). Did I mention the name of our club? BWB. Oh roll your eyes all you want, it’s cute.
Each month the host of the meeting also picks the book we all read. For October, it was my turn. I picked, “Where’d You Go, Bernedette?”
Have you read it? Did you love it like I loved it? Here’s the Amazon blurb: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
It’s funny. It’s quirky. It’s heartbreaking. My three favorite things to be. I adored Bernadette. She and I would be fast friends. Who doesn’t love a woman that outsources her daily life? Here’s some of my favorite quotes from the book,
Your mission statement says Galer Street is based on global “connectitude.” You people don’t just think outside the box, you think outside the dictionary!
…And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s ON YOU to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.
…I’d say I never considered myself a great architect. I’m more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.
I’m seriously adding the last line into my resume, “I don’t consider myself an event planner. I’m more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares”. You should steal it too.
In the book, Bernadette gets derailed from something she was passionate about, and it almost destroys her. Without being overly dramatic, I can say that I totally relate. I’ve moved further and further away from everything I loved about event planning.
It’s natural, I guess, to become a bit more cynical as you progress in your career. But it’s been a bummer. I spend more time on conference calls debating headcount than I do debating flower or menu choices. Actually I spend zero time on the latter. I blame the corporate environment! I blame the economy! I blame the man! Just kidding. There’s no man to blame. It’s marketing after all. It’s an island full of amazon women who look normal on the outside, but inside – they’re trained mercenaries trying to outdo one another. Just kidding again. That’s the island Wonder Woman is from.
What I’m trying to say is… I love event planning and I miss my old event planning self. Where’d you go?
So in honor of Bernedette – I pulled out all the stops to last night’s meeting.
Individual appetizers were served in a ridiculous but awesome tray/cup contraption. There were enough chips and dips to make an 80′s housewife proud. There was even a cheese platter with cutesy little ceramic signs and decorative table coverings. Decorative table coverings!! Who’s got time for that? Not me. But I did it anyway. And it made me so happy. (If you are wondering how I had all this stuff – a good friend who knows the buried planner inside me gifted them to me last Christmas)
Here’s a picture of the lovely ladies. This was taken about a minute before we pulled up twerking videos on YouTube and one of these BWBs, not sayin’ who, got up and tried the move. Take that Diana Prince.