June?

Wasn’t it just May? And February? Where does the time go?? Wondering what’s up with all these question marks? Sorry. I know I haven’t written in a bit, but absence makes the heart grow fonder right? So you must be very fonder by now, right? Right? Sorry again.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

- I haven’t been working out or doing a cleanse. Shocked?

- We finished up 10th grade and 4th grade. Piano lessons with Ms. Tatyana are over. Dasvidaniya!

- We started camp. Slept until 2pm. Started complaining about camp. Have already been to a beach, a mall and an amusement park in the 2 days that we’ve been off. Notice that I don’t incriminate anyone. I use the royal “WE”. I’m a good mom like that.

- Since I’m all caught up with The Good Wife, I needed another binge show. Hello Walking Dead. The zombie apocalypse, blood, gore and old fashioned romance. What’s there not to love? Although I’m not built for that. I know my limitations. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d never make it if the world ended. All that fighting-to-survive stuff seems exhausting. Here’s a quote from my other summer obsession, The Mindy Project, that explains it best – “You know my plan in an emergency is to count to ten and wait for death’s embrace.” Yep. That’s about right.

- After 42 years of obsessing if food is vegetarian or not – I’m eating Cesar salad now. To hell with anchovy paste! I’ve probable had 5 or 6 little fish by now. I’m a rebel. Not really.

- I’ve been taking random sunset pictures. From planes, trains and automobiles. Cause why not? Sorry, had to finish with a question mark. Is that annoying?

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Jump!

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We finally set-up the trampoline that we got the kids got for Christmas.  I won’t tell you how much fun we had setting it up. The sheer joy when we thought we were almost done and then had to completely start from scratch – even though we watched 1,000 YouTube videos on how to put it together. And then, once we restarted, had to undo and start again! Did I mention it was 10 degrees out and my husband was fighting a cold? Good times.

In the end – we did it. Because we had no choice. We couldn’t have a half done, 15 foot trampoline in our backyard. We have neighbors ya know. But the kids love it. It’s what they’ve been begging for since 2008. Literally. We’ve decided that when the kids are done with it – when they’re like 30 – we won’t even bother taking it apart. Again. We’ll just move.

(I just noticed that my girl is still clutching her cell phone. Mid-air. Incase she gets a call. Or tweet. Or text. Sigh.)

Chaat. It’s what’s for dinner.

The other day I found myself alone at mealtime. No kids. No hubby. Just me.
Know what I had?
I had this.

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And this.

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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!
The end.

The hippie and the banana

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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.)

Happy Halloween!

Into the woods

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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.

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This is my sister-in-law Colleen – sitting on cooler with toilet paper in hand. Classic.

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This is the original Kowal gang below.

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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!

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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.

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Stacy and I enjoying the lake. Sitting very very very far away from each other enjoying the lake.

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This is Pappa Joe – who always smiles when his two daughters are with him.

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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.

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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’.

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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!

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And here we are continuing the legacy. Hazing our kids into the next generation of camping.

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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.

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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.

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Waiting Game

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Question – how much of my life is spent waiting to pick up a teenager from a movie?

Answer : more hours than I spend actually watching movies.

Signed, moms everywhere

mi frizz es su frizz

It’s hot here.  It’s so hot and sticky and uncomfortable that when you’re in the shade and it’s a cool 99 degrees, you think you’re happy. You are delusional my friend. It’s still awful. I’ve made thinking about, complaining about, whining about the weather a full-time job.  That’s probably because my kids are both away so I have to fill my days obsessing about other things. Although I’m doing so much better than last year – here’s my camp tale from last year incase you missed it!

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Anyway – back to the present. Because my nights aren’t spent bossing kids around or driving kids around or driving them crazy – I’ve been doing fun stuff. Stuff like not doing the laundry. Do you know how much fun you can have when you don’t do laundry? I’ve also been not cooking, not cleaning, and not leaving the house. It’s been a hoot.

I’ve also gone totally nuts and started using my kids’ bathroom. Note to self: add “having your own bathroom” to your list of things to look forward to when the kids move out. Ofcourse part of the fun of using their bathroom is using their products. Truthfully it’s my daughter’s products. My son uses whatever bottle he finds to wash everything from his hair to his toes. He once used just conditioner for a whole week. True story.

So while plundering her products – I discovered this little beauty.

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If you have sleek, smooth, frizz free hair – don’t use this product. But if you, like me, dream of the non-brillo head without a straightening iron – this is for you! If you read this blog regularly (thank you so much if you do) – you know that I have been trying to go “free” with my hair. No products. No blow-outs. No nothin’. It’s been rough. I’ve been wearing a lot of headbands. And hats. And paper bags.

After one use of this amazing, great smelling product, here’s what my hair looked like. Air dried. No products. I swear on my blog.

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Come on! Where’s the frizz??  Not here baby!!

Insert smart, thoughtful post here…

It’s almost July and I’m almost as dark as a coconut. My brain is also baking in the sun.

I’ve been sitting on rocks, and beach chairs, and deck chairs and patio chairs.

Last weekend the world’s most beautiful baby came to visit (trust me, I know beautiful babies). He was also the most chilled out baby I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s the Bob Marley of babies. Relaxed, content, happy and completely contagious. I’d show you pictures but then I’d have to kill you.

His parents tagged along too. We had a ton of fun in the sun. We ate and drank and were merry old 40 somethings – which means we were fast asleep by 11pm after House Hunters International ended.

Because the baby’s momma and papa are city folk, we treated them to a good old BBQ. Below is the Greek salad I made. Nothing special at all. Just the usual Greek salad stuff. But I used the very first gift I ever got as a married woman for it. This platter was a gift from one our my husband’s favorite aunts. She sent it after she’d forgiven us for running off and getting married. I thought about her and the night we got the gift when I was making the salad. Do you do that? Does your mind wander to random emotional moments as you chop lettuce? No? Just me?

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Anyway. It was a good time. They stayed the night and left after breakfast. I tried to hide the baby but they remembered and took him with them. Bastards.

But I had a distraction. My kids and I were going up to Rhode Island to stay with some very good friends. Conveniently, one of my very best friends has kids who are besties with my kids. Yes, I said besties. I also like to say selfies – cause I know it annoys people. Anyway we had a blast. Here’s a brief synopsis of what was covered during our time there: WWE, teenage tantrums and how to not become an alcoholic while enduring them, WWE, impending civil war, the NRA, women’s equality in the workplace, crazy bat-shit family members, WWE.

Here’s the motley crew doing some sort of WWE pose. Notice my girl on the right who refuses to partake. Notice my boy on the left who’s completely indoctrinated.

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A good time was had by all.

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Peace Out

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Look who’s sitting in the front seat (EVERYONE sits in the front seat now).
Look who’s finished with 3rd grade.
Look who the teacher said she’d miss the most.
Look who’s looking forward to no more piano lessons until August.
Look who told me he no longer needs blue blankie (aka yangster) to sleep at night.
Look who gets bummed when his sister isn’t around.
Look who makes me happy, cranky, giddy, angry, sad, and joyful all at the same time.
Look who is 10 feet tall all of a sudden.
Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

Planking?

Looks like someone’s been taking (blurry) pictures with my camera.

This is called planking I think. 20/20 did a report on how it’s all the rage. Do you still watch 20/20? I do, even though I don’t think it’s called that anymore. Apparently you are supposed to snap shots of yourself planking in all kinds of different places.

It looks like excercise to me.

Here’s what my two lunatics were up to – not sure where my husband and I were, but I’m sure we weren’t planking, ahem.

Please note – there are photos below with my kid’s faces on a stove top. No children were harmed in this silliness. Please don’t call anybody.

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UPDATE:  my son told me this morning, after I’d written the post, that planking is OVER. This was last year and they do not do it anymore. Just so ya know.

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