It’s begining to look a lot like I’m late decorating for Christmas.

Are you still eating Thanksgiving leftovers? Are you still in a turkey coma? I hope everyone had a good holiday. Here’s a couple of pics of the last of our turkey which went into some pies. Our pot pies are one crust only – which caused a lot of controversy in our house at first. No bottom crust? Crazy. But now everyone’s in line.

img_1460img_1467I know it’s December, and I know everyone has moved onto lights and trees and stockings hung by the chimney with care – but I’m a little behind. The leaves are still falling in our neighborhood and my dead mums are still by the front door. And guess what – I don’t really care. The plaque on the door still says Gobble Gobble and my mantle is still living in the past too.

This weekend is it. I’m on it. I need to make the move. The switch. Goodbye rotting, half eaten pumpkins! Hello Christmas. Can’t wait! Well, I mean, I can wait just a little.  I’m not doing it today. I’ll do it tomorrow. When I say weekend I mean Saturday. Sunday tops.

The gobble gobble 

It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – my absolute favorite time of year. Who would have guessed that a vegetarian Indian girl who never even really acknowledged the holiday until 1991, would be this obsessed. I hear my husband saying it’s all him. He’s the reason I love it. Maybe. 

First turkey day ever: Milford, PA circa 1991

Memory: Aunt Dee Dee (whose real name is Mary inexplicably) handing me the sausage to cut up for stuffing. First time I ever touched sausage. Good times.

For years we went to her house every year – even right after my little baby girl was born. Speaking of baby girl – she came home for the holiday. On her 18th birthday. We missed cake for breakfast so we did cake at a normal time. 

18. As in a year younger then I was when I went to my first Thanksgiving in Milford. This is some twisted time warp. But she’s home! And by home I mean she’s out with friends but in the same town as us. I’ll take it.

 We also saw some oldies but goodies. Katherine. Howard and Luigi. Santa. And Janey. The picture says it all. It’s blurry. Off center. Everyone’s smiling – even Howard – he’s the bald head floating on top of Janey. (On a side note) Katherine has her tree up. We have neighbors who have lights up. I know it’s tradition but I’m still rocking the pumpkins. I need to hold on to pumpkins people. And that is in no way a diss to Christmas-on-Thanksgiving people. You do you.

So anyway it’s the Tuesday before…Thursday  and all through the house, not a creature was stirr… that’s not true. Creatures are stirring. They’re stirring all over the place. 

Turkey #1 is in the brine! Do you brine? Do you dry rub instead? Do you do none of the above and your turkey comes out better then mine? Don’t tell me.

I brine because I’m a sheep to The Food Network. If Ina tells me to do something – by god I do it. My brine is a combo of mulling ingredients and things I’ve heard are good to dump in there.  Yes that is star anise in there. And yes, also some dried apples and pepper cloves. Citrus? Yep. Onions and garlic? Yep. Good turkey. Nice turkey. What do I care – I’m not eating it! Just kidding..  And now something that has nothing to do with anything but is just as important. I want to share a photo taken by an amazing photographer(among other things) in our town – who as fate would have it just happened to be my baby girls soccer coach in middle school. Small beautiful world. 

He took this pic of the lake in our town. I screenshot (or is it screenshotted? Is that even a word?) it a week ago and have been looking at it ever since. I was totally going to pretend that I took it – but he’s too nice a guy. Thanks Pat for sharing your talent!

 

Thanksgiving week is on – and in the words of Jim Morrison or Mandela or Bobby Flay…the only way out is through. Let’s do this.

oh hey….

Remember me? No? I don’t blame you. It’s been a few days, or weeks or maybe months (ouch).

I just haven’t been in the mood. Every form of social media that I used to love and get excited to be a part of became a vehicle for me to voice my frustrations. About what you ask? Well, you know what. Tuesday, November 8th is what. And since the middle of the year I’ve been caught up… in it…with it. Up to my neck. Who knew I was so civic-minded? Not me – my priorities (outside of my family of course – I’m not a monster) were usually my DVR rotation and what I was having for my next meal. But I got hooked. And it felt great. And I did and do and will always believe in it. But I’m exhausted. A friend texted me the night of the election and said she was gutted. That’s the perfect word for how I felt too. Gutted. Not just by the results, but by the ride.

And when I woke up the next day and hopped a train to work – I felt like a zombie. But then I started seeing friendly faces. Talking. Laughing. Commiserating. My team and I  literally broke bread (NYC bagels) together the morning after and talked about how we all spent the night before. It felt great – and it wasn’t just the sugar from the carbs hitting our system. It was hearing about plans for the next weekend. Complaining about upcoming meetings and joking about family.

Now, a few days out, I’m coming out of the fog. And it doesn’t hurt that the leaves are bursting with psychedelic color and my favorite cooking shows are all focused on Thanksgiving (I don’t even mind the Christmas commercials already airing).

So I’m going to start a cleanse. And this cleanse has nothing to do with kale or juicing. I haven’t lost my mind. I’m going to stop indulging and eating up the news. I’m going to stop soaking up opinions and articles and shows about the state of the world.

You’ve heard me say that I love Facebook – or I used to. I loved seeing posts from friends and family near and far about their daily lives and what they were up to. But in the last year, the news feed that used to make me happy has either incited me or validated my opinions. I’ve felt the need to read and absorb every single good/bad/hurtful/helpful thing that comes up. And it’s depleted me. I joined a local group of supporters who felt like I feel and think like I think and I thought it would make me feel better. But it didn’t.

So I’m cleansing and purging. I deleted all my posts that were political in nature – and the comments good and bad that followed. If I thought for a second it would feel like a copout – it didn’t. It felt great. I also hid every single person on my news feed that posts constantly about their political/social views – whether I agree with them or not. I would never unfriend them – but now I only see what they post when I want to. I realized a lot of my actions were reactions to other people. That can’t happen anymore. Instead my newsfeed is full of people who post dog pics, their latest cooking ventures and what they did the night before. If you checked in to a good restaurant last night, I want to know about it. If your kid’s team won – I want to cheer him on with you.

Does that mean I don’t care anymore? No.I care a lot. None of my views have changed. Not one. I still believe in every single vote I cast. And I’d do it again (I will for sure in 4 years). But I have never been a fighter. I’m not into it. I don’t enjoy making someone feel bad. I’ve worked hard to only have people in my life that make me feel good – make my family feel good.  Passion is good, but it needs balance so it doesn’t become rage. And I value kindness above all other things. Period. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

So I’m going to focus on Cranbury sauce recipes and whether I should add buttermilk to this year’s mashed potatoes, is that a crime? I’m going to put all my brain power where it belongs – on a new brine recipe for the turkey. Furthermore! I need to start thinking about Black Friday….will I or won’t I? I’ve been ignoring these major decisions for too long.

Talk soon, xoxo

 

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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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.

Rabbit Rabbit

It’s December 1st. Tradition says that if you say those words together today you’ll have some good luck or good vibes or good something.

Don’t we all need some good vibes?

How are you? You doin’ ok? Made it through Thanksgiving? Me too. It was so much fun.

I miss it already.

I’m back at work after a whole week off. Actually I was back at work yesterday but it didn’t feel real yet. I was still avoiding all the work by asking people about their turkeys. It was awkward. People would come into my office to talk about some upcoming event and I’d redirect, deflect and evade.

“Can we go over this event agenda…” they’d say trying to keep me ontrack.

“Agenda…hmmm….yeah. What was your agenda for dessert on Thanksgiving? Let’s talk about that first.” I’d fire back.

I was hopeless. By 1pm I was finally ready to give it up. No one seemed to be having the post tramatic turkey day withdrawal like me.

So what’s next baby? Christmas? Hanukkah? New Year’s?

I like the holidays, what can I say? I like seeing friends and family. I like baking cookies. I like buying gifts. I like the whole damn thing.

One day, when my kids don’t see me everyday and my husband has lost most of his sight,  I’ll be one of those people that not only decorates their home, but also themselves.

That’s right. I’m talking themed clothing people!

Christmas sweaters. Thanksgiving earrings. Halloween PJs. Oh it’ll be on.

Till then – here’s some random photos to enjoy. My kitchen as I prepped. My turkey (apparently claried butter is the way to go). A couple of people passed out on the couch after dinner – which I consider the ultimate compliment. Photos of the hike my sister orgnaized for a few of us. I think more people would have joined had they known we would be stopping at a Vineyard on the way home.  True story.

xoxo

Happy New Year! I’m talking to you Chinese people….

I thought I’d share my favorite non-PC story involving my favorite Chinese friend in honor of today. I’m sure she won’t mind. If you are offended easily or think this is insensitive – please stop reading now. I totally understand. I once wrote a note to the New York Times condemning an Indian Cultural Day they had in Central Park called “Curry in the Park”. I was outraged that they would define all of the beauty that is the Indian culture and reduce it to a seasoning used in the food.  How dare they! They wrote back that it was, in fact, a showcase of Indian food. Oh. Anyway – I get it. Racism is terrible. But sometimes….it’s funny. On to my story.

Let me set the scene.

I worked in a very serious, very conservative private bank in New York City. This was the defining job of my career. All my biggest successes and f’ups happened here. It’s also where I learned the type of team that I wanted to be in (and lead eventually). We were hardworking, sarcastic, funny and silly. If you made a mistake in our team, you wouldn’t be walked through how to do it better – you would be teased and laughed at. There was no training or “on-boarding”. You just worked like hell to figure things out while the rest of the team rolled their eyes. It sounds rough. But it was amazing. You developed all the skills you needed to be a good planner – including the king of all skills – thick skin.

We were also quite a mixed bag. Cold, stylish leader without a heart? Check. Smart, creative Chinese gal who bordered on being mean? Check! Rich, Hermes wearing Euro daughter of a client? Put together, chic New Yorker with an accent? Check and check! And me, a married Indian gal with a baby in her late 20’s. Let’s just say we didn’t blend into a crowd.

Sorry about all the back story but you need to know this in order to really appreciate the situation. So because we dealt with billionaires and people who managed billionaires, the atmosphere in the office was always quiet and well-heeled. Except in our area. We were always laughing and shouting and eating. A mark of most good event groups. We also kept to ourselves most of the time – not that anyone was knocking down our door to be included.

Then, one fateful holiday season – it happened. Our guard was down. We were invited to join the secret Santa gift exchange on our floor. We decided to do it. We even decided to go to the party for the gift exchange. All of us. Except the head of the group who spent December in Prague or something. We were going to assimilate! At least for that hour.

We all shuffled into the conference room and pretended to be excited. One by one we opened our gifts. Oh look, the strange dude in graphics got me a cookbook. How nice. The lady in accounting got someone a candle. Charming. You get the point.

Then. Our Chinese gal opened the first of 2 gifts from her secret Santa. Hmmm. Geisha stickers. She smiled. We stared. We started to feel the corners of our mouth convulsing – we looked at the floor. We looked at the ceiling. We looked anywhere to avoid eye contact with her. We prayed the next gift wouldn’t be ethnic specific. We were wrong. She opened a box of Chinese rubber stamps. Ok – at least this was the right bucket of stereotyped gift. (You say Chinese, I say Japanese…) There was no ill intent. The person meant no harm. But we were all dying. Literally bursting at the seams laughing. We never participated in a gift exchange again. True story.

I know what you’re thinking. How awful – that person should have been reprimanded. Oh no. You didn’t go to HR for this stuff. You thanked the Gods that this happened so you could hold it over your co-worker’s head! That’s how we rolled.

For months after we talked, relived, re-enacted the moment. It was like a Christmas miracle to our team. It’s been 14 years or so since that day, and it still brings me joy.

Here’s to the year of the goat!

(Please note that the Chinese gal and I remain the closest of friends and she had to help me remember some details. I remembered the gift giver as a boy, it was a girl. I remembered 3 gifts. It was only 2. Thank god for her. Chinese people. They’re good to have around)

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