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.

The loud apology

I love a good apology. It makes me feel good to hear. I even feel good when I’m the one that’s apologizing –  and I’m always happy when I hear about others mending fences.

I grew up in a quiet house where there was no fighting. Just undercover seething and anger. My husband grew up in a loud house. With lots of raised voices and disagreements. Both not great. When we got married we vowed to be different, we weren’t really. We fought. He yelled, I seethed. And then one of us would apologize, we’d vow to never to do it again (silly) and we’d move on.

When we had kids we vowed again to be different – and we were….for a while. But the reality of life is that you will get mad. You’ll say things you don’t mean. You’ll be hurtful, or will get your feelings hurt. But now the kids are there. They’d hear all the anger, all the harsh things that each of us would say in the heat of the moment. And of course we’d apologize to each other eventually. We’d move on. But it would be done very differently than the fight. It would be done quietly. Softly. Usually out of earshot of the kids. I’m not sure that was the right thing to do.

Wouldn’t it have been great for our kids to hear us apologize as loudly as we fought?  I mean, they figured it out, they knew things were better but they didn’t see how they got better.

Channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw I ask this simple question…”Why aren’t we as loud with our apologies as we are with our fights”?

Although come to think of it – my kids are pretty quick to apologize. And they aren’t ax murderers yet, so maybe it wasn’t all bad.

Ok. Sorry. Nevermind.

I mean SORRY!!!!

 

 

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

 

11 days

Until we drop our girl off at college – but whose counting? Oh yeah. I am. Every day. 

I’m assuming every parent in all of time has had this exact same feeling. It’s a mixture of sheer excitement for the things she’ll be doing and people she’ll be meeting, and sheer terror for the things she’ll be doing and the people she’ll be meeting. Let’s face it, she can learn everything she needs to know on the Internet and more importantly – people are horrible. Just kidding….ahem.

Plus…how is this little munchin supposed to go to college? 

 
You’d think we would be spending every second with her before she leaves but that’s not exactly how it’s working. Because that’s just what she’s doing – she’s  working. A lot. And then there’s her very full dance card. You’ll be shocked to hear this but a 17yr old would much rather do nothing with a friend then something with her mother! Outrageous right? 

We did kidnap her today for a few hours.    

 It was awesome.

I know this isn’t about me. But I’m so sad for me!!! Aren’t you sad for me too?

Ok ok. Let’s focus on the positive! Parents weekend is in October.

Me caveman

I’m at the airport getting ready to board a flight for another week-long event. My team, from varying parts of the country, are also leaving today. In the olden days, like early 2015, I would have sent an email out wishing them safe travels. But late last year we started doing something different. During an event with lots of moving parts, we created a text group with everyone on site so we could easily communicate to each other. It was a crazy train of messages and updates. Those waking up early for 5am activities would take pictures and give us their feedback in realtime. Those on the front line registering people who were missing a name badge, gift bag, etc could send one quick note and get it resolved by the time they finished talking to that person. It was everything from “Break-out sessions are ending early, tell the hotel to be ready” to “the CEO is heading out now.” Unless you’re an event planner with a type-A-need-to-know-everything personality, this can drive you crazy. It’s a lot of info all the time.

At the end of that event, like always, we were all wiped out. Mentally and physically. Staying awake just long enough to board our flights/trains home and then pass out for a week. But there was also a bit of sadness to leave the team. When those texts stoped, I missed them! Crazy right? And I don’t think I was the only one. Don’t get me wrong – we’re thrilled to leave and be home with our families and friends, but there is something about the frenzy of being together on site that is a lot of fun.

We’re a mobile team. We are all over the place. We have to be. Texting has become the connector and unifier. And honestly, I feel like it’s more effective that half the meetings I have.

I get to see what’s happening at events I can’t attend. I hear about issues/challenges immediately. I also hear about the successes – and it’s good to celebrate in the moment.

Something else has happened since then. We started texting as a team outside of the big events too. Holidays. Kid and fur kid photos. Big moments and not so big moments outside of work (like making your first avocado toast at home or a daughter graduating).

As a manager, my hardest job is to make us all feel like we are in it together. That we’ve got each other’s backs and we are all rooting for each other’s success, not failure. Managing via text isn’t all I do – we still have the good old 1:1s, reviews and team meetings. But I do think that in between those corporate connection points, these little touch points matter.

I hope my team would agree. Maybe this is all in my head and it’s just another management torture device – but I hope not. And I know that this wouldn’t work for every job or every group. We aren’t 9 to 5. Our workday sometimes (ok always) goes into the weekend, or a holiday. None of the folks on my team have been with their kids or their own mothers on Mother’s Day in the past 3 years. That’s not me complaining – that’s just facts. It’s our job.

I read an article the other day that talked about emoji’s being the death of modern writing. It said we are basically falling back to hieroglyphics. Moving away from the words of Shakespeare and other great writers to the basic, caveman expressions of joy/love/sadness etc. Maybe. And maybe some things are ok in shorthand. Maybe even better.

I love long letters. I love good books. And there’s nothing I like more than having a talk with someone face to face. But I don’t like long work emails. I don’t like long meetings, and I don’t get to see some people face to face for weeks – months sometimes. A quick text. An emoji. A meme. It may seem casual, but it works for us. It’s efficient. 

In fact this whole blog could have reduced to 🙏🏼👍🏼✈️👌🏼

😉

See what I mean?

Here’s some of my team through bitmoji and a day in the life via text….

   
    
   
   
  

Dear Jack

This is your mom. You know, the one who birthed you. Remember me? Sometimes I make you dinner – but most times I buy you dinner. Does that ring a bell? Oh I know! I’m the one who talks to herself all day saying things like, ” lights out!” “wash your face” and the classic, “you can’t wear those shorts again”. Yep. That’s me.

Ok so I know summer is in full swing and you have lots of plans. Which, btw, I love. You don’t know this but our calendars are synced – so every morning I get a reminder of your “to do” list. Today was:

  1. 20 sit-ups
  2. find rope swing place
  3. go to pool
  4. edit video

Whenever it pops up I’m inspired to make my own list – but it wouldn’t be as fun. It would be something like:

  1. defrizz hair
  2. drink 4 cups of coffee and have a carb
  3. go to meeting
  4. go to next meeting

Not that great.

I’m so happy you and your friends are out on your bikes everyday. You’ve found a way to get to the pool and to most of your friends’ houses without going on major roads – thank you for that. I love your intense desire for independence and adventure. I hope you are always always like this. Yes, I know it’s a dangerous world with dangerous people – but you aren’t afraid and so that makes me less afraid.

And now that we have some summer days under out belt, I have some new rules:

  • Your phone is meant primarily for…get ready for this…communicating via voice or text. When you are gone for hours and I write you a text in all caps – that means I’m worried for your life. Please write back. PLEASE. Thank you.
  • Stop carrying things while you’re riding a bike – it’s dangerous. This goes for basketballs, money, a tripod, etc. Please put these things in the empty backpack that’s on your back meant exactly for this purpose.
  • Icees and slushies are not food. If it’s neon blue or green – it doesn’t count as a meal.
  • Get back to the house while it’s still light means I want  you home before it’s dark – it doesn’t mean that you should ride your bike at night with your phone flashlight on. Nice try.
  • Remember I have eyes everywhere. So make good choices. (also your sister follows your snapchats and she is even more protective of you then me so you’ll have to deal with that).

So, to close…Go. Explore. Have fun. Be safe. Keep sending me pics of your day – I live for those photos.  And for god’s sake, text me back!

xoxo   

    
 

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