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.

A Midfall Night’s Dream

It’s November. Did you know that? I kinda knew that but it didn’t sink in until about two hours ago. It’s 2am. I’m up. I went to bed at 10pm after we caught up on Homeland (Carrie is off her meds and its super fun!) About an hour later I woke up and haven’t been able to sleep. My mind is reeling. October is over. But it feels like late September. It’s sunny and not too cool (actually right now it’s pitch black and nippy out but you get my point). The Fall foliage is in Technicolor – no filters needed.  I can’t believe I’m talking about foliage at 2am. Correction – 2:10am.

Here’s everything that’s happened in the last few weeks non sequitur:

  • We kicked-off college visits with my baby girl and I’m sad/happy/excited/scared/jealous/weepy for her. Who will be my partner in crime for all foods ethnic? Definitely not her father and brother, their idea of ethnic food is salsa. Who will tell me about cool new music and make me feel like I’m in the know? I know what you’re thinking. All these things are about me. But she’s about me. She’s mine. I’m not ready to let the world have her yet. The world isn’t good enough. I wish she could experience all those amazing things that are around the corner for her, but still come home every night and sleep in her bed. So now I cry randomly when I’m alone thinking about dropping her off at school. Good times.
  • I’m obsessed with Project Greenlight. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were supposed to be the most interesting thing about this show – and yet they are the least. Effy, the valley-girl-dreadlocked-feminist producer who lives to drive newbie director Jason crazy with her control issues is what’s interesting. The fact that Jason looks like a real life version of Jack Skellington from A Nightmare Before Christmas is just a bonus. Watch it watch it!!
  • Babes with Books is still going strong! In fact, it’s my turn to host book club next week and I’m excited to see the ladies. We picked Me Before You. Have you read it? Did you love it? I read it in one day. Couldn’t put it down. It could have been a predictable story but it wasn’t – even the parts that you can predict are slightly twisted. Read it read it!!
  • We hosted 8 birthdays in one day. 8. Birthdays. Efficient and crazy. That’s how we roll. See birthday cake as proof!
  • My baby boy was one of those birthdays. He’s 12 now. 12 years ago I woke up at 4am and hightailed it up to Vassar Brother’s Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY. 12 years ago I brought home this little, strong-willed, creative, smart, kind boy who makes me laugh every day (when he’s not driving me crazy). 12 years flew by like 12 minutes. See his picture below –  at 9am, eating a hot dog and drinking an Icee on what he called his “cheat day”. I don’t even know what that means. But I’ll play along. Forever.
  • Fall in our town is my jam. One of our very good friends is a gifted photographer and generously shares amazing shots. Marcello you are the best!  I posted some of my favorites below.
  • So….Halloween down. 8 birthdays down. 1st college visit down. Bring on November! Or continue on with November!

jack! Delawarepic Canalpic 8birthdayscake

Mise En Place Life

We spent the majority of our Saturday with some of my favorite people. Other than you, ofcourse. We rode up to an unexpected part of the Bronx, right on the Hudson River. I’ve known her for almost two decades so what I found at her house shouldn’t have surprised me. I’ve been to her apartment and I’ve seen what she can do with a space. I’ve been to her office and marvelled at the thoughtfulness and creativity. And I know her. She’s meticulous. She has good taste. She used to be my boss and drive me crazy with her good taste. Many a night were spent in the office catering to that meticulous, some would say obsessive, nature. It’s no wonder she found the perfect house for her and her family. I’d even seen some photos.

But it was bananas.

The view. The layout. The pool. The elevator. Bananas.

As I said to her when we toured her master bathroom (with a view of two bridges and jet propelled hot tub), “I’m filled with equal amounts of happiness and bitterness for you.”

Jokes aside, I was all happy for her. Because as careful and nutty as she is – she’s the most generous person I have ever met. Generous not just with materials, but with time. You have an idea for a business/wedding/event/dinner/party/dog/job whatever – she’s all in with you. She’ll spend hours talking with you about every detail. But she’s crazy. No doubt.

Back to the house. I didn’t take a ton of photos of the rooms because: a) I was too busy gawking with my mouth open to remember to take pics and b) I wasn’t alone. Sometimes other people (menfolk in particular) tend to get annoyed while I take 30 shots of each thing I like. Here’s the view from almost every room.

  
Let me preface this by saying that I am very blessed. I have a wonderful home that I love. A family that I adore. And a cat that I live with. I can’t remember the last time I got jealous. Like…jealous. In the true sense of the word. Biblical coveting of thy neighbor’s stuff kinda thing. I have wanderlust sometimes. I get dreamy about certain things I that I want to do, or places that I want to see,  but I’m not a shopper. I don’t get off on the newest, shiniest shoe or purse. When you say the word Cayenne to me I think of a pepper, not a car. You get the idea.

So imagine my surprise when we do the tour and see…her catering closet. Which would be normal if she was a caterer! And can I just point out that it’s not exactly a closet. It’s more like a mini room. Do you see my green monster coming out? Again, if I was alone I would have spent twice as much time looking at it. But because I was in public and not invisible, I nodded politely and moved along.

“A catering closet…um hmm..totally normal. You and Ina. Great.”

  
And then there was this cabinet….I think she called it the mise en place cabinet. I wanted to cry. I wanted it more than I’ve wanted anything. A cabinet full of little things to literally “put in place”.

  
You can keep your Blahniks and your Fendis. I want a mise en place cabinet. Actually, I want a mise en place life.

But of all the things I saw that day – there was one thing that rocked my world. No, not the pool on the Hudson River. Not the view at night when the bridge(s) lit up. Not even the Molten Brown products in the first floor bathroom. When she handed us our drinks, I looked down to see the most perfectly sized square ice cubes. (Yes Howard, I’m writing about ice cubes) Have you ever envied ice cubes? Sadly this isn’t my first time. There’s been a focus on ice cubes lately for cocktail drinks, you haven’t noticed? I have.  And these were the best. The were sized perfectly for the glass. They lasted for hours…ok…an hour. They were awesome. I know I need help. I sense you judging my sanity. And I don’t care.   

 I’m going to go now and make peace with my very un mise en place life. And with my stupid stupid ice cubes. Because that’s my lot in life. Some people have catering closets. I have a messy pantry full of open cereal boxes. But as Scarlett O’Hara said, “as God is my witness, one day I will have those ice cubes!”. Or something like that.

Here’s what my world looks like… This is an actual cabinet. Now you know you me.  


I rest my jealous case.

 

Day 4

Sometimes on a Sunday morning, when we aren’t traveling or visiting family I like to go to my favorite place of worship – the blow out bar. No offense to the other places of worship but they don’t make me feel as good.

Do you have a blow out bar near you? Are you hooked? I used to go to my hair salon to get this done – but I always felt a little guilty. Like I was under utilizing the joint. No cut, no color, just a quick 30 minute procedure. A few months ago a friend told me about a new place that opened up near us (ok not NEAR, but you know, next town over). It’s a dream. Walk in walk out.

During my last visit, the stylist told me that I should be able to keep my hair in good condition – no washing – for 4 days. Four days. 96 hours without a shampoo.

I know my sister-in-law Colleen is gagging. She needs to wash her hair every day. I know my husband is wondering when I find time to go (I make time), and I know my friend Howard is reading this post and asking,” what is this F’ing post about?”.

It’s about not washing my hair for 4 days!!!

Here’s how she she convinced me:

  • She said hair goes through cycles, it’s dry then oily then dry. We are so panicked when it gets a little oily that we jump to washing it. But those oils aren’t dirt – your hair needs those oils.
  • Unless you are sweating during a workout or in sand or actual dirt – your hair stays clean a long time. Sweating during a workout. That’s hysterical.
  • If you are really grossed out by day 3 – use a dry shampoo to help refresh (although she thinks it’s not needed)
  • What’s the harm in trying? And you can sleep 20 more minutes. Done.

So I’m on day 4. Does it look as amazing as day 1? No. Do I have to tease it a bit to get some life – oh yes indeed.

I don’t know if I’ll do it again – it was tricky to shower every day without getting it wet. My shower felt incomplete. But extra sleep and no blow dryer in the morning is awful tempting.

Here’s a pic of day 4 (today) – not bad right? Look ma no greys!

Summer status

We’ve been on a roll. Or in a car. Or on a boat. It’s mid-July, summer vacations (for our kids) are in full swing. We’ve already hit bad traffic, gotten lost, forgotten things at home and gotten into fights in the car. We’ve had buckets of ice cream, been to margaritaville a few times, and had enough watermelon to feed a small melon-less country. In between summer fun my husband has been expanding his business and I have been working some late nights – but somehow it doesn’t matter in the summer! It’s not pitch black at 6. There’s no teacher’s note about something I’ve forgotten to send into school. People tend to be a little more relaxed and happy. It’s enjoyable.

My daughter has been moonlighting with my husband at his cleaning company – helping out and making a little extra money. I told her it’s great that she’s working with her dad because she needs to learn about the empire she’ll probably inherit one day. She didn’t laugh. I laughed. I think I’m hysterical.

In other news, as my son commented that we have been in a “boaty” mood. We spent 4th of July with my husband’s cousin Bobby who just bought the most beautiful boat. For weeks prior to our trip to see him I told people I was going to DC for the 4th. Because I really thought I was. Someone (my husband obvi) had told me DC. I’m sure of it. He’s sure I’m making that up. He said I never actually asked where we were going. I just assumed. That’s crazy. Why would I do that? Anyway we were nowhere near DC – we were in Soloman’s Island, Maryland. We passed DC and then kept driving another hour. It didn’t matter what land mass we were on because we spent the majority of the weekend on the water and it was beautiful. But in the future, I’ll confirm DC before I say DC.

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be invited by one of our good friends, April and Pat, to Pat’s childhood home in CT. This time I knew where I was going. It just so happened that they also just got a new boat. Thus our “boaty” mood. We always have loads of fun with them and this time was no exception – one of my favorite moments was hearing about a racist dog in their family. At first I thought they were kidding – after a few examples we decided I should probably never meet that dog – just in case. I also got to spend some quality time with one of their good friends (let’s call her D in case she wants to deny knowing me later) who reads my blog often. I’m not gonna lie. I loved that D remembered long-ago details of my life that I have already forgotten. I know other people would feel moments of panic and loss of personal privacy – I felt like Madonna. Thank you D for making my day so I can pretend people are actually reading and remembering my crazy blog. April is also a blogger so she totally gets it. Check out her blog (http://planetoftheapeblog.com/) to read more about racist and non-racist dogs.

How’s your summer? Are you having fun? Why don’t you ever talk back? Sigh. It’s ok. I love you anyway.

Here’s hoping you are having a “boaty” “beachy” “barbecue-y” good time. Here’s some random pics from my last few weeks. A sparkler…because why not? A picture of my girl working hard for her money. My hydrangeas because I’ve missed them so. And my boy…because why not?


  
  

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)

and now it’s dead.

Years ago, I worked with a hysterically eclectic group of women (actually I work with an equally hysterical group now but that’s another story)

When you work in events, there is no 9 to 5 work day. There is work night and work weekend and work holidays. I think I had more meals with this group of ladies in the early 2000s than with my own family.

We worked together in small, connected cubicles. There was no privacy. We didn’t even pretend to not listen. You fought with your husband, boyfriend, mother? Everyone knew about it. You messed up a meeting, an event or a call? It was office news. This sounds like hell – but it wasn’t. These women weren’t going to use this info to take you down at work. They were going to use it as material to roast you at the next meal.

I’ve written about this before …https://wifemothereventplanner.com/2013/05/07/the-lunch-table

We were all so..ummm…unique.

Anyway – I’m at the airport again today. This time heading to Charlotte. I grabbed a quick bite before boarding and thought of this and had to share.

One of the ladies in the group covered her food when she was done. No, she didn’t just throw a napkin on the plate – she ceremoniously covered it with a napkin as if she were covering the dead.

It didn’t matter if it was take-out or gourmet. Once she was done, it was ready for burial. So here’s to you Babbas!

One day I’ll tell you about the Brit who ate only cherry tomatoes one week in the name of weight loss and “raped” our lunch with her eyes. It was sad and funny. Sad for her. Funny for us. Which was all that mattered.

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