Bros before….you know

We had a busy weekend. We picked up a kid at camp. We drove 3 hours to upstate NY and had a fun day with friends, came home, slept and then headed west to Harrisburg to see my family (and pick up the other kid).
We were also there to celebrate two birthdays and an Indian celebration called Raksha Bandhan (we’re efficient that way).
To be clear, there are hundreds to Indian celebrations. What can I say, we like lots of Gods and lots of ways to worship them. And by WE I really mean my people, not me. Because as I’ve told you before, I’m religious light. I dabble. The Catholic Irish Ukrainian dude I married is the same way. We do the big things. Baptism so the kids get into heaven? Check. Making sure they know how the Indian god Ganesh got an elephant head? Done. Mortal soul secured.
So we approach holidays in both religions with some whimsy. Don’t you think some of the problems of the world would be resolved with some whimsy? Whimsy is undervalued.
Anyway, back to the weekend.
Basically the celebration is about the bond between a brother and a sister. She puts a sacred thread on his wrist, dots his head with a red mark called a Tilak (red powder dye and water. Think runny red lipstick) and she feeds him something sweet. He promises to protect and love her and gives her a small gift. Lovely.
What happens if you don’t have a brother like me and my sister? You’re screwed ! Just kiddin. Our cousins step into the role for us.
Here’s some pics from the celebration. The last pic is of my cousins who payed dual roles, our brothers and the birthday boys.
Notice my sons face as my daughter feeds him the Indian sweet. Maybe next year she can feed him an M&M or something.
And speaking of tweaking tradition, one of the sacred threads resembled a football – so we chose that for my son. He missed the subtle cultural fusion we tried to create.

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Please stay tuned.

oh hi. It’s me. Remember? Did ya even notice I wasn’t writing for a bit? Like a long bit?

I had some technical issues. Technically I decided to spend all my free time sleeping instead of writing this blog.

In defense of me, I have been sick.  Is it a cold? Allergies? Who knows, and I’m certainly not going to a doctor to find out.   To add to the fun, life has been a tailspin of activity.

But things are slowly unwinding. School is almost over. All major religious rights-of-passage celebrations have come to an end (for now).  Work is still insane, but lately it’s taken a turn for interesting, which makes me less likely to daydream about being a coal miner (seriously. have you ever thought about it? Aside from the life threatening aspect – it sounds perfect. Solitary. repetitive. One singular goal. No need to shower in the morning. That’s my kinda job).

May was a blur, but it’s June 1st. Time to get back on the blogging horse.  I can’t make any promises, I have to be honest. I’ve enjoyed sleeping.

Here’s some random pictures that could and should have been blog posts but I was in deep REM mode instead.

This post would have been titled: 17 years of marriage yo!  See, child brides do make it work sometimes.

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I would have called this post: I-know-you’re-obsessed-with-karate-and-doing-a-perfect-split-but-I’d-really-like-grandkids-someday-so-please-be-careful

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The below photo was taken by my girl at a concert that she’d  been waiting to go to for months. All her favorite bands were going to be there. It started at 1pm in an outdoor venue by the water. The day before the concert we found out that all the bands that she wanted to hear weren’t even coming on until 9pm. On a Sunday night. And the concert wouldn’t end until closer to 11:30pm. On a Sunday night. What happened next cleanly, swiftly and neatly explains how different my husband and I are, not just in parenting, but also down to our core.

When she told us her sad tale, my reaction was,” bummer. guess you’ll be missing all those bands since we’ll be picking you up at 7.”  My husband’s reaction was,” ok. So I’ll buy a ticket and go to the concert with you so you don’t have to miss those bands.”  WTF?

This post would have been called – Lucky Duck

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Dysfunction Function

What happens when your family gets together?
Is it fun and stressful and crazy?
Do you debate which family vendetta to support and which to avoid?
Which side to pick in the fight du jour?
No? Just me?
In the last two weeks we’ve celebrated two big milestones.
My son’s communion and my daughter’s confirmation. A Catholic religious rite of passage, squared.
This is particularly interesting because I’m not Catholic and my husband is what I would consider a fair weather Catholic. Christmas time, he’s in. Easter mass? Ditto. Other than that? It’s a crap shoot.
Nevertheless, this was important to him. And I like to make him happy and ensure he and my children go to heaven. I plan on being reincarnated until I can finally live a life without Spanx – so they won’t see me for a bit in the afterlife.
Anyway it was two weekends full of fun. The kind of fun that could break out into a fight at any moment. The kind if fun that requires alcoholic beverages.
But it was also the kind of fun where you remember why you love your parents, uncles, aunts, sisters and cousins. You remember that you’re related to these loonies because you are a looney too. In fact you may be the king of the loonies.
God is good.

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Do as I say, Not as I do.

I got a call this morning from an oldie but goodie pal who is finally tying the knot with her longtime beloved.  I met her at my very first job out of school. I think my major responsibilities were getting scones and coffee for our CEO, but I digress.

The last time I spoke to her was a few years back, when I wasn’t working full-time and had decided to start a wedding planning business.  And because I’m an awful person, I haven’t reached out to her since.  Although she hasn’t reached out to me either, so technically our joint awfulness cancels itself out. Right?

She called me this morning because she wanted to go over pricing for her caterer, but our conversation quickly went to every single detail of her plans.  That’s how I roll. I need to be fully immersed. No toe dipping for me.

As we chatted she asked me the question that all the brides ask, “what was your wedding like?”.

What was my wedding like? It was grand. It was great. It was…a non-wedding.

We eloped. On a lake. In the sun. Without most of our friends and family.

Here’s the long story short – or the short story long:

We got engaged on a cold, rainy February night in NYC (very romantic night involving fighting, crying and celebrating).  I’m not sure if it was because I was in my early twenties and insane or because I was in my early twenties and genius – but I wasn’t stressed about the wedding planning at all.  I was super chill actually. Then my mother called and said it would be great to have a Hindu ceremony. Then my mother-in-law called and said it would be so nice if we could do a quick trip to the church after that ceremony to get blessed by the priest. So then I got stressed. I avoided thinking/planning/discussing the wedding for a few months. Then my boss, the one I fed scones and coffee to, told me they had to fire 2 people from the office and I’d have to cover for them all summer and wouldn’t be able to take too much time off. Then I freaked. Then I melted.  It was mid-May. It was Saturday afternoon. We hatched a plan. We would elope. Run away. To Eastern Long Island.

We didn’t handle the elopement in the best way. There aren’t any elopement planning books. It sounds easy, but it’s tricky.  Ok, it’s easy if you actually just go off and elope. We f’d it up.

We had some family there. Some not. We took tons of photos and even a video, thanks to a talented uncle that lived in the town by the lake. We went out to dinner that night with all the relatives that lived in the town. In hindsight, a bit confusing for the relatives who didn’t live in that town and who weren’t invited to dinner. We gave our parents a heads-up, they were totally fine and understanding. The rest of the family? Not so much.  It wasn’t an elopement really. It was a small wedding where we chose not to include my parents, his parents, our other sisters (his older sister was there as a witness), aunts, uncles,cousins and close friends. It was ugly.

It’s been 17 years and we still hear about it. On a positive note – we’re still married. There’s that.

So! If you want to chat about your wedding plans? I’m your gal. If you want to talk about how to elope? Google it.

here’s us on that special, messed up, beautiful, ill-conceived, completely imperfect perfect day…

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Blog Vent

Today was a Day.

Ever had one of those?

And almost every agitating thing that happened was my fault.

Not one other person to blame. Trust me, I tried to find someone, anyone. Nothing. It’s all me.

I hate that.

My girlfriend said that Mars is in Aries. And I’m a Gemini. So I’m dysfunctional on a good day. Throw in Aries and it’s a hurricane.  So why does Mars making a pit stop in Aries cause such havoc?   Because it means we’re much more likely to take risks. Live without guard rails. In general be a little nutty and go off the deep end.

Well people. I’m off the deep end. Can I blame Mars? Or Aries? Or Kit Kat? Sorry.

I’ll spare you the gory details. I didn’t kill anyone and I’m not selling crack to babies. But boy were there doozies today! F’ups. Miscalculations. Gaps in judgement. Ok, massive craters in judgement.

Sorry to be so pissy. Please go read a trashy online magazine to shake this blog off. Or don’t. Who am I to give any advice today. Good night.

(i was going to find a YouTube video to end the post on a positive  – the one with the dancing babies for Evian – have you seen it? I’m not an Evian fan – I think it’s oily and has an aftertaste – but the commercial is funny. Anyway I decided not to find/cut/attach the clip. See. I’m a nightmare today.)

On Not Being a Grownup at Christmas – GUEST POST!

A big thank you to my little bitty sister for this great post! And look at those jazzy handmade stockings. Show off.
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Last week, while lamenting to my colleagues that I had no idea what to get my boyfriend for Christmas, we ended up having a long conversation about the family present exchange. That’s when I realized that, shockingly, I have some pretty strong opinions on the topic. So here is my Family Present Exchange Philosophy
(FPEP):
In our family, Christmas is about the presents. Once I explain, you’ll realize that that wasn’t the saddest sentence ever to grace this blog.
Our family – cousins, aunts, uncles, significant others – gets together all the time. We celebrate every little thing with a big family get-together, and for the most part, it’s great (tis the season to overlook the drama). American holidays, Indian holidays, Hindu holidays, Christian holidays: it’s all fair game. Next year there’s even talk of getting a menorah (we’re equal opportunity around here). And there’s always food, fun, and more food.
But there generally aren’t presents. Indians are all about the benjamins, which is practical and smart, just like we are. That’s why Christmas is so great (here comes my FPEP); to me, unlike gifts of cash, Christmas presents represent the time and thoughtfulness of the giver. I don’t really care if I’m getting another fondue pot or something from the Dollar Store. Cheesy at it sounds, it really is the thought that counts to me. This person went out of her way to think about what I might like, spent hard-earned money on it, and then wrapped it in pretty paper (Here my colleague, the globetrotting poet I share an office with, disagreed. She wished her big Irish Catholic family would just give her money, instead of the “crap I’ll never use” they usually give.)
But it’s not just the stuff. It’s the entire experience. I love opening presents. I love that we all move away from the TV and sit around the tree. I love the anticipation of finding out what’s under the wrapping, and heck, I love the wrapping too. I spend way too much time thinking about how I wrap my presents, and I like giving my family the presents I’ve spent my time making beautiful.
During this conversation at work, another colleague recommended that my boyfriend and I get something for our apartment – a shared gift. He and I had considered this option, but we decided it was far too grown up for us. We wanted the presents, however small and inexpensive, but full of thoughtfulness and love.
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Diwali is my jam!

Not really. But my girl and her friends call everything their jam so I thought I’d get in on the action.  Even though every time I try to use the word I think of actual jam. Raspberry to be specific.

Anyway – it’s Diwali. The Indian “festival of lights”. A cross between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s – without the turkey, booze or guy in the red suit. It’s the most important holiday for Indians. It involves (you guessed it) lights, lots of food, getting together with family and friends and being thankful for the good things in life. Sound familiar?

This ends my knowledge of Diwali. I think I did pretty good. Please refer to the internet or a good Indian for actual information.

Happy Merry Mazel Diwali!!

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