oil and vinegar

May 12, 1996 was a Sunday. Mother’s Day.

It was also the day that my husband and I eloped.

Today is our 25th anniversary. Our silver jubilee!

Last night at 10:40pm my husband of a quarter of a century said,” what do people do for their 25th anniversary? A party or something?”

He’s all mine ladies. Has been for multiple lifetimes according to some. Let me explain.

Because I like to throw money away, I go to a lot of psychics and readers. One of these readers told me that Joe and I have been married before. Many times. During many lives.

Really? Us? I loved hearing it and yet instantly doubted it.

“That’s so funny because really we are like oil and water” I said,” very different”

The reader took both my hands (this was way before Covid) and looked me dead in the eyes.

“Oil and water? No no, that’s not right. You are oil and vinegar. You emulsified. Transformed. You are perfect together” she said.

I cried ofcourse. And gave her a big tip. All these years I walked around thinking we were oil and water. Never mixing. Two different to combine. She turned it upside down. Or maybe she right sided it. She may have been a total hoax, I’ll never know. I didn’t go back to her again. I was afraid the magic moment would never happen twice.

So today, to celebrate this union of salad dressing, I thought I’d share some moments from our 25 years. These pictures doesn’t show the fights and pain and anger and sorrow – which are in between these happy moments.

It’s been good and bad and better and worse. It’s been everything you can probably imagine and everything you’ll never know. Thanks for letting me share.

How it started…

90s dorm room fashion! Denim on Denim
He went to an empty classroom and surprised me with this. I walked out of my class to go to the next one and he was there, waiting to show this to me. Creepy and cute
So many questions with this one. 1) Why did we feel the need to take a pic in front of Walmart? 2) We brought a camera to Walmart? 3) Who the heck took the pick?

We graduate and elope!

May 12, 1996, East Hampton NY
This is where our honeymoon pic should be. But because we eloped so quickly the first trip my new husband took was with his best friend to London and Amsterdam. Every new marriage should start with a trip apart. Not
This was a year later. Our honeymoon trip to Bermuda. I look at this pic and only see my healthy, shiny hair. I have issues.

This next set of pics is called – BABIES HAVING BABIES (on purpose)

Kera in my big belly, our NYC railroad apartment
Sure! Stand in the middle of Lexington Ave in NYC with a newborn in your hand. Totally safe. You’re in good hands baby girl!
Jack in my big belly, Fishkill, NY

Since it’s my Jubilee (said like Elaine says fiancé on Seinfeld), I’m going to be indulgent and keep sharing…

Joe told us he was taking us to tour Martha’s Vineyard. In reality we toured all the spots they filmed the movie Jaws. I was less than pleased.
Brussels for the day. We took the metro from Paris. Everyone spoke English.
Ugly sweater contest that I won but my neighbor stole the votes (I know what you did Jeff!)
I now like a beach thanks to this man. I also like an umbrella, a visor, and SPF 100.
One of my favorite pictures. Nothing makes him happier than a belly full of steak. I think I had creamed spinach that night. Thanks for nothing Peter Lugers.

The years, the months, the hours. I remember every minute of it, and yet it’s a blur! From the missteps we made, to the mountains we moved together, I’m so happy we went for it.

Love you Joseph.

RIP Small Talk

So the last post was about unwanted conversations and maybe this is part 2? Or a prequel? It’s connected for sure.

I don’t know what’s going on but I’m finding myself much less willing to chit chat.

I’ve never loved small talk but lately I have no use for it.

Last week I joined a call early and found myself alone with someone I barely know at work. She started the usual weather convo and I just couldn’t do it.

I asked her how she survived Covid. Did she get sick? Did she know anyone that did? Does she live alone?

Let’s just say she was surprised by the direction of the conversation. I think her response was,” yeah it’s ok” before someone else joined and she was put out of her misery.

Maybe it’s because last year brought me all the feels. Sadness. Anger. Stillness. Joy. How am I expected to come out of a Global Pandemic and a social justice juggernaut unaffected?

I can’t talk to you about weather! We were just in a fox hole making banana bread to avoid the news. Don’t you have PTSD when you look at puzzles like I do? We’ve changed together haven’t we?

I want to know more about you. And faster.

Did you spend last year alone? Or where you trapped with your family?

Did you think it was a hoax? Or did you wash delivered groceries in the garage with gloves on?

Did you get a pet or a therapist or both? I need to know.

Are you like me, feeling optimistic and ready to party? Or are you still cautious and taking it slow?

I sound like a lot. Maybe I’m the unwanted conversation now.

I don’t want to sound cheesy and say that I’m appreciating things more and enjoying things more – but I kinda am.

I still don’t want to hear an Uber driver tell me his deepest darkest racist thoughts. But I do want to get to know my people more.

And by my people I mean the ones in my life. For whatever reason. Work. Friendship. Family. I’m done with small talk. That’s PC to me. Pre-Covid.

Some of you won’t notice a change at all – because we’ve always gone deep. But others I admit I can do better with.

I have always been a pretty forthcoming person. I’m a bad liar so I avoid it most of the time, which is a good thing. But I’m also bad about bringing up tough stuff. I have a habit of keeping things “light”. I want to change that up a bit. I mean there will still be time for vapid, silly rabbit holes about Bravo shows and I’ll never let go of Tik Tok – but it’s time for balance, I think.

I hereby pledge to not ask surface, generic questions. I promise to listen – really listen – not just think of a response as you’re talking. I promise to ask more things about you and talk less about me. And I promise not to take you for granted. Not for a minute. I’ve missed our time together and if we get it back – I’m using it better.

Don’t be scared. It sounds intense but it won’t be. It’ll just be Big Talk. Deep Talk. Fun Talk. Sad Talk. Real Housewives Talk. Anything but Small Talk.

Are you in?

Unwanted conversations – a series

Are you the victim of unwanted conversations? Do you often become the ear for folks who have no one else to talk to or who’ve driven all their friends and family away? Do you have strangers coming up to you, acting like they’ve known you for years? If you answered yes to any of these questions, come sit by me. I have a ton of stories for you. Let me share 2 of my recent favs:

Conversation 1:

Some quick background on this one.

We traveled for the first time in over a year. On a plane! To a beach! It was glorious. We had so much fun. We went to Cocoa Beach. I had many judgements about it prior to landing. Florida isn’t my fav (except Miami, West Palm, Boca… and maybe Naples). Orlando lands at the very tippy bottom of places I’d like to go. But some good friends invited us and I loved it. I was completely wrong. We stayed right on the water and had a magical time (no mouse ears to be found).

I expected a lot of mask rule breakers down there – I was wrong about that too. People were, for the most part, masked when asked.

In general my philosophy about masks and vaccines is consistent. You do you. I’ll do me.

Once the people I cared for most were fully vaccinated, I forgot about everyone else. Which sounds… not nice, but it’s meant to be more…carefree.

I really don’t care if you don’t believe in masks. I don’t care if you believe Bill Gates is chipping me (jokes on you, it was Steve Jobs and he chipped me on June 29, 2007 when he got me hooked to this little appendage in my hand).

I am the mama to two kiddos. Those are the only people I owe a lesson in humanity and science to. The rest of you are on your own.

So when I see an unmasked person in a store, I go about my business. I have mine on. I’m good. This is also my philosophy for most things now. I have no desire or inclination to preach or lecture to you about legit anything. Unless you’re my aforementioned kids, who I’ll preach to all day and they contractually have to listen.

Back to the conversation.

On our way to the airport from the perfect stay – clean beaches, sweet people – we called an Uber.

BTW – we’d taken multiple Ubers while down there and each of the drivers was a….shall we say….”characters”. But in all good ways.

This guy was immediately different. He hopped out of his car and announced that he didn’t believe in masks and he was fine with us not wearing one. We smiled and thanked him and got in the car. My husband and I are both fully vaccinated and so were relieved to take our masks off inside.

Then he started talking. And didn’t stop for 45 minutes. He didn’t even need us, so maybe it was less of a conversation and more of speech. His biggest issue seemed to be with gender identity. Why and how did that topic come up? Who knows! Morons know how to weave all their hatred together in genius ways.

He was stuck on transgender. What are we supposed to call them? He? She? They? He went on and on.

I asked him if he has a lot of transgender people taking his ride. He said no. He’s never met any. Hmmmm. Ok. Me either, I said. “So when do you run into this problem?” I asked. He ignored the question and went on.

Was it my job to educate him? I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I am still learning. I just googled what Cisgender means yesterday for gods sake. This is what I should have done. I should have told him what I do when I don’t know something about a subject – I shut the F up. That’s my go-to response. That needs to be more people’s go-to response.

By this time my husband had put on earphones and was taking a nap. Bastard.

I almost felt like this driver was waiting for me to get all this out. Or was this speech just on demand and he started it as soon as a new passenger came in? I didn’t know how to stop it. I thought being stone cold silent would send the message that I don’t want to talk to you. I just want you to take me to the airport. It didn’t work.

I finally took my phone out and started pretending to type. It worked.

Steve Jobs saved me again. Or was it Bill Gates?

Conversation 2

Yesterday we had someone at the house who needed measurements from our bedroom window down to the patio. I told him the master bedroom was the first one off the stairs to the left.

He smiled and said a friend of his just told him you can’t say “master bedroom” anymore because it refers to language used during slavery.

It does? I hadn’t heard that. None of the 1,000 podcasts I listen to everyday to make me smarter talked about that.

I looked it up. Turns out that Sears invented the term in the 20s. The word itself goes back even further. It has many many meanings and ways of usage. Let’s assume the worst?

So someone at Sears, I’m guessing a dude invented the word, was a massive jerk who wanted to embed a racist term while trying to sell sheets? Maybe? Maybe not.

Last July, a real estate company in Houston announced they would stop using “master bedroom” in their marketing materials. Many others followed suite and claimed wokeness.

Remember last July? Most of us just learned about institutional racism a month or two before thanks to a 15 year old. Now we’re equipped to start erasing words from the English language??

And I love that the “fix” is in marketing. Genius. Don’t worry about red lining or the landlords that won’t sell to people of color. Please fix the marketing lingo! That’ll do it.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m not black. I don’t know if words like master ring differently to different ears. I just think maybe we should talk about it a little more. Before dismissing it.

Most importantly, does this mean I can’t sing Master of House from Le Miz? Stop the madness!

Also – why do I have to talk about this with my construction guy? I just wanted to tell you where to go to measure the stupid window for our stupid reno. Come on!

This happens all the time. People need to share I guess (says the girl who writes the blog where she thinks people need her to share lol).

I can’t be the only one this happens to? I need a resting bitch face. Although I wear a mask outside so maybe I need resting bitch eyes.

Can anyone relate?

A Lovely Day

This past weekend my sister-in-law Colleen got married.

It was a picture perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky. Not too cold but not too warm either.

She got engaged almost 3 years ago and began planning the wedding of her dreams. Little did she know that all our plans and dreams would be put on hold last year. It was devastating. But we got through it.

This was her first wedding. And at our age you would have thought she’d be a bit more jaded, or “over it” by now. But not Colleen. She leaned in. Big time.

All the customs, all the touches were there. She thought through every detail and every experience. No small touch was forgotten.

I was so touched when she asked me to be her maid…errr….matron of honor. Not that she needed any help at all – this was her vision through and through and she did all the work.

She’s been through all the big moments of my life together and I was so happy to be there, by her side for her big day.

I wrote my speech to the newlyweds in about 10 minutes. It was so easy. Because knowing her is easy. Being loved by her is easy. And loving her is especially easy.

Here’s what I said:

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Colleen’s sister-in-law Neha

I’ve known her since I was 19 years old

I met her when she came to visit her brother in college

And if you know Colleen, you know you only have to meet her once to become fast friends

She immediately takes you in, tells you she loves you and makes you feel like you’ve known her for a 100 years

No one is an acquaintance and everyone is lovely

Lovely is her favorite word. And it’s completely appropriate because Colleen is a romantic

She believes in love and romance and all the good things in the world

I’ve known her through really good times and really sad times, and one thing remains the same

To Colleen… the world is lovely

I remember when she told us she wanted to be a nurse, it kind of came out of nowhere but it made sense.

Nurses are kind, patient, caring and committed. Those words all describe Colleen

So, she put herself through school and earned more degrees than almost anyone in our family

She stood by me when I married her brother. And when my kids were born, she was the most loving and devoted aunt

Things haven’t always been easy for her; like all of us, she’s had her share of sadness

But it was one of those sad days that brings us to this happy night

Colleen was at our house going through a rough time. I heard her go out to the backyard to take a call

Through the kitchen I could hear her laughing and see her smiling – first smile in days

When she came back in, I asked who she was talking to and she said,” oh that’s an old friend Tim Brown”

Tim who? We’d never heard of him

But he made her so happy during a time she was so down, so I already liked him

That was a few years ago, and together they’ve built a beautiful home and life together

We were lucky enough to be there when Tim proposed and she said yes

And now he’ll become the lucky guy that gets be with the most kind, most generous and loving person you’ll ever meet

Welcome to Colleen’s lovely world Tim – we’re so happy to have you!

When we didn’t know what to do with our eyebrows yet
My shotgun wedding
Welcoming Jack into the world
Kera with her Godmother Colleen
The happy couple!