Times they are a changin’

Last week we decided to make what seemed like a few small changes. We have a playset in the back yard that hadn’t been used in years. With a 17 year old about to graduate and a 12 year old boy obsessed with his trampoline, we thought it was a safe bet to get rid of it.

But as it was being taken down, piece by piece, I had a sinking feeling. I don’t remember being that emotional when we moved them from the crib to the bed – maybe because the rest of their room was still covered with toys and they were still a version of land locked with us at home.

The other change was a much needed refresh of my daughter’s room. New paint, new dresser, new bed. It was time to say goodbye to Ikea furniture that lasted her for more than a decade (held together by glue and prayer). But even when we were cleaning out the room it still felt like she would be in it. She picked the colors, the furniture, etc. It didn’t feel like an end, just the next step.

When the kids went from carseat to booster to nothing, we celebrated. When the training wheels came off, we celebrated. Even when my son left his elementary school last year, we celebrated. Our babies were amazing but we have a lot of fun with our kids. We live in a neighborhood that let our kids bike around, walk around and now drive around. We always felt so happy when they made another, brave step. Maybe because at the end of those steps they came back home. It didn’t feel like an end.

The playset being taken away felt like an end.

I know it’s normal and parents all through time have done this. I know there are bigger moments to come, graduation, weddings, etc. But this feels like a big movement. A home that doesn’t have little feet that’ll climb the slide. A home where I don’t stand at the kitchen sink and watch them play. Truth be told they haven’t touched it in years, and it’s a great big eyesore, which is why it was so easy to decide to get rid of it. Still it stung.

Here’s a look down memory lane and then the memory being demolished and taken away. Just kidding. Not really.
 

   
    
    
  

 

Snow dayzzzzzzz


I think this picture was taken in 2000. We were living in NYC on the upper east side. Kera was 2. Going for walks with her daddy was one of her favorite things, even in a blizzard. Even in dirty city snow.

That white snow suit was a gift from her godmother Colleen, my sister-in-law. Colleen bought Kera every winter coat until she became a teen – and stopped wearing winter coats.

The picture with the pink hat below became our Christmas card that year.

This was Kera’s first major sledding adventure. Look at that face! Look at that hat! Remember when you could put your kids in anything and they’d wear it? I don’t.

  I think this is that same year. We had moved out of the city to upstate NY.

  Then Jack came on the scene…ready to party.

 Just look at Kera’s toothy smile! I like taking this trip down winter coat memory lane….

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We still meet with family every year right before Christmas – back then we met in Lancaster, PA. Thanks to Aunt Dee Dee we’d see a show, stay in a hotel and kick off the holidays. The picture below is from one of the last times we were there. We drove down and a blizzard hit. The show was cancelled but we found an open restaurant and made the best of it. I’m not sure why Jack isn’t wearing gloves. I seem to have him wrapped up like a babushka except for his little, cold hands. I was too busy taking pictures.

Snow makes them happy. And anything that makes them happy is fine by me.

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Chicken Marsala and other things

Happy January! Is the new year treating you well so far? Are you deflating slowly from the merriment like I am? Well, I’m trying to atleast. Work goes into hyper speed until…oh about June. Gulp. Here’s what we’ve been up to – a visual tour:

I call this, I spend a lot of time with chicken for a vegetarian.

 

We’ve been trying to cook more often and I went all old school this past weekend with a Chicken Marsala. The way to my husband’s heart is pretty simple – a meat, a gravy, and a noodle. This was an old Martha recipe. Remember when it was just Martha and all her superiority? Miss that.

I took some time off during the holidays from work and I think my husband and I may have seen a movie a day. One of the benefits of our kids getting bigger is that we are no longer tied to a sitter. If we want to go to a movie, we go. The kids manage to survive for a couple of hours. Here’s three of our favorites. Two of these movies aren’t for the faint of heart – and the other is not the love story you would expect.

My daughter, Kera, spent this long weekend at her high school’s senior retreat. Even though my husband and I both went to Catholic schools, neither one of us ever went to a retreat.  We blame Obama. Just kidding. Last night we went to pick her up in the “homecoming” ceremony. It was so raw and emotional. I fully expected the girls to be crying and happy when they walked in, because that’s how I would be. And isn’t it all about me? No? Ok. You’re right. What I didn’t understand was how many young men would walk in that room with tears in their eyes and talk about their emotions. And the mix of kids was also amazing. The sports guy, the cheerleader, the computer geek, the comedian – all together. The entire weekend is called Kairos, which is a Greek word that means “the right” or “the moment”. That’s about all I can tell  you because the cell phone/tv/computer free retreat, is also about how to protect the things that your peers have shared with you. Each group did get to share one thing with the parents – surprisingly it was all boys talking about their experience, except for one, brave, strong, beautiful girl. Guess which one? Yep. Here she is walking in from her “Kai High” as it’s called.


One last thing. For many years I’ve heard funny, crazy, happy, sad, and completely engrosing stories about my mother-in-law’s childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Old Yorkville. When we lost her too early, I started asking even more questions. Her two sisters and extended family have been filling me in. Initially I was just interested in my mother-in-law’s story, but now I’m obsessed with her mother, Irene. She was a stone cold beauty in every sense of that phrase. I met her just twice. By the time I came into the picture, she had lived a hard life. She didn’t play a huge part in my husband’s childhood, which was dominated by the other grandmother in his life – on his father’s side – Nana. That’s a cool story too. When I first met Joe I didn’t even know he had two grandmothers. I only heard about Nana. I didn’t meet Irene until amost 3 years into our relationship. She was so different than all the other women in his family that I’d met. A little withdrawen and quiet. I was so absorbed with my own little life back then that I really didn’t open up to her at all. Now I’m completely obsessed. Her marriages, her daughthers, her life – I want to know it all. I’ve been bugging everyone to share their stories, and they have. Generously. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. I do hope to share some of what I learn here (if it’s ok with the family). Here’s a picture of Irene on her wedding day. Makes you want to know more about her doesn’t it?


Writing this blog makes me so happy, but it also requires that the people in my life are ok with what I choose to share. I usually don’t ask permission, but I am careful. It’s a tough line and that I’m constantly pushing. Why do I think you want to know about what I made for dinner or what movies I saw? Because if we were to ever meet, or had a cup of coffee together – that’s what I would ask you. Not because I think what I’m doing is so important – but because it’s a detail of life. And I love all the details that go into a person’s life. Do you agree?

 

 

Monkey

The Chinese New Year doesn’t start until February, but I’m already excited. It’s the year of the monkey. A year of activity and action. Lots of energy. Lots of movement. A little spastic and frantic, but full of life. If you believe that sort of thing. And I do.

I don’t think I’m religious. I was raised by devout Hindu parents who lived their lives based on similar astrological magic. I went to Catholic schools for most of my education, mainly because there aren’t any Hindu schools in Harrisburg, PA and my parents thought any religion was better than no religion. If there had been only a Buddhist school they would have sent me there. I married an Irish Catholic semi-religious dude. When he asked if we would baptize our kids, I was all for it. Why not? Let’s do it all. Hedge our bets.

I minored in World Religion in college and that’s exactly where it fits in my life now. It’s minor. A few weeks ago I had coffee with some new friends and one of them asked what my spiritual journey is. Spiritual journey? I think I laughed, made a joke, and then ran home. I couldn’t even imagine how to answer that. I would have had to use a life line and phone-a-religious-friend.

I do try to meditate – although lately that just ends in a nap.

All that said, I still like to think that there’s a bigger purpose. A higher power. Some kind of connectivity to each other and the universe. I like that.

So I read my horoscope. Sing Christmas songs. Tell my kids about the elephant God and when someone tells me they are going to church or temple, I always ask them to say a prayer for me. I hope they do.

I’m going to my first psychic reading in a couple of weeks. Why? Why not! That’s the attitude we need in the year of the monkey!

On another note – a few of my f’d up friends call me monkey. It began more than a decade ago at a Mexican restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. A place where margaritas come in two sizes. Regular and the Mama. We went there often and laughed till our sides hurt. More often than not, the laughs were on me. Me telling stories of my hilarious life (said sarcastically). One day, deep into a Mama margarita – I pounded the table and yelled something like,” I’m not your performing monkey!!”.  At this point they all got very silent and then burst out laughing. They’ve called me monkey ever since. Just wanted to give you another reason why I obsesses about this stuff (outside the obvi reason of course, insanity).

This morning, I got up early and took a moment before our year gets going. I sat in silence and started to write this blog. The plan was to tell you about how the year of the monkey was going to be my year to believe in something (besides my family, friends and reality tv). But I was blank. I had nothing. No blog for you!

I left the house and met some friends to walk around a flea market and what do you know…look what I found.

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Monkey found a monkey. With a banana. It’s going to be a good year.

 

Public Service Announcement 

Go buy this product ASAP.

  
It’s like a vacuum for dirt. A Hoover for blackheads. Sorry I said blackheads. This is not a paid ad. This is a revelation. I know. I’ve had these before. But I really really mean it this time. Go get it! Or “borrow” it like me.

What’s the best thing about having a teenage daughter? Stealing her beauty products. Is that the answer you were thinking of? No? Oh well.

This product tingled on my face. It may have burned a bit. But that’s what tells me it’s working. It dries on your face to a hard, light shell. Like a layer of cement.

I’m not sure what you are doing this New Year’s Eve…but I’ll be GlamGlowing. Again.

You think my girl will notice her empty jar? I mean I birthed her right? Is sharing a mask too much to ask?

Here’s some selfie overshare. That’s the look of happiness from a product whor…ahem…addict. 

   

Shopgirl

My favorite part of my favorite movie was on exactly when I needed it.

Today was about baking. And burning. And not thinking I didn’t needed parchment paper and then needing parchment paper. It was about being pissed off because my mother buys me a roll of parchment paper every time I see her. And toilet paper and ziploc bags. So even though I had 10 rolls of parchment paper I didn’t use it. And the coconut macaroons paid. They paid dearly. 

There was also an episode involving using light brown sugar instead of dark brown. Can’t things be easier??

Suffice it to say – I spent the whole day acting like I’ve never baked. Then I remembered that I actually haven’t baked since his time last year. But that’s not an excuse. All I had to do was follow directions. And the directions said use f@@king parchment paper.

So after that day I took a bath. Took an Advil. And turned the TV on. 

  
And instantly I’m in a good mood again. 

I’m easy. Easy like parchment paper.

Hello

Anyone else having a personal relationship with Adele’s new song? I’m bad-karaoke singing that song all day long. Like. All. Day. Oh, you hate that song? Ok – Not everyone likes it.

I’m sure Isis hates it too. Or is it Isil? How come everyone on the BBC calls it Isil? Is there a difference? Or is it like potato paTATo? I’m not making light of it. My heart goes out to the city of lights. As it does to all cities that are victims of violence.

Can I be honest? I was hoping not to think about refugees and death and Justin Beiber right now. I kinda wanted to just think about my Scorpio birthdays, turkey brines and maybe – on a heavy note – whether or not to shop on Black Friday.

It’s not that I don’t care. I care. I’m just really tired and I’d like to not be thinking about humanity right now. Is that so bad? Shouldn’t the Pope and the Dalai Lama be doing that? Come on. We’ve all got our jobs. I don’t ask them to think about how I’m fitting 16 people at one table next Thursday am I?

I mean fine, the world is falling apart. But it’s hard to focus on that when my baby girl is driving and looking at colleges. I’m not sure I’m ready. Oh, it’s about her you say? Maybe. Ok, for sure. But. But. It’s a little about me.

I want to run up and hug every parent that’s already done this. Sent a kid off at night in a car. Just like,” Here you go. Here’s a key to a deadly weapon. Love you!”. Not normal!  And then sent a kid off to college. With strangers. Who will sleep with them at night. In the words of Adele, hello?! That sound crazy. Sonnets need to be written about these parents! They should be lauded and supported! Sigh…You think I’m overreacting. I’m dramatic. Who cares. What do you know? Yesterday I was supposed to stress out if this little creature coughed or sneezed and now I’m what, just pushing them into the world?? On their own?? With no one to watch out for them?  Like refugees? Sorry.

It’s all going to be ok. It’s all going to be ok. Right?

I’ll just focus on the good stuff.

kerabday

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