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.


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


Good God

Yesterday I overheard a conversation that my son had with one of his pals – eavesdropping, it’s like a hobby of mine.

They were talking about a statue of the Indian god Ganesh that I have in my living room.  Admittedly, I know more about Jesus than Ganesh, but I do know that Ganesh is the god of “good luck” or something like that.  Truth be told – I bought the thing to make my mother happy when she visits.

Good luck god in-house – check!

Here’s the conversation piece….

I also have a beautiful Gaelic cross right next to it.  Am I trying to make a deep, thoughtful statement on how we should all get along? Nope. I just thought it was cool. Yes I’m shallow and vapid – but at least I’m honest!

Anyway, my son was explaining to his pal that we are Indian.  He said,” but not “Natural American” like from Plymouth, from the country India in China.” Then his pal asked,”what’s it called?” And my son said,”it’s called Greta.”

I blame myself.  I blame our school system’s lack of focus on Geography, and I also blame my husband – He and I went to Catholic school our whole lives (why did I go to a Catholic school when I’m not Catholic? Because there are no Hindu schools, and my father believed any religion is better than no religion).

When my daughter was born we decided that he was right, and that we wanted to pass on both religions to our children.  But we were delusional. Our hearts were in the right place – but we were fooling ourselves. The only thing we’ll be passing on is a half-hearted, lax approach to a higher power.  Let’s face it, we’ve schooled them better on The Beatles than we have on God.

We don’t go to church-except on food related holidays, we don’t go to temple-although the few times we’ve gone it’s been fun to see my burly Irish Ukrainian husband try to sit criss-cross apple sauce for 2 hours.

Thank goodness that Hinduism is very forgiving – and fellow Catholics don’t point and laugh when we show up once a year to sing carols.  And we do believe in God/Ganesh/Greta – really we do – but I don’t see us changing our ways anytime soon.

Pray for us – we need it!