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.

 

Post Pope Pfunk

I’m blue. The man in white is heading home. I’m not Catholic, or really all that religious. I used to say that I was “spiritual” which made me feel like I wasn’t dead inside because I didn’t believe in a Jesus or Allah or Krishna or L. Ron Hubbard. But now I’m ok with that. I believe in people. Collectively.

But that aside, I cannot believe the spirit of joy and love that I’ve felt from this man, head of one the wealthiest organizations in the world, through the TV! There’s just something about his face. His eyes and smile aren’t big and animated like the other faces we are used to seeing on display.

I swear I can feel his kindness and warmth. I’ve loved learning about his childhood, about his tendencies toward the poor and sick. I don’t agree with all his ideas, but I agree with his delivery. He condemns no one. There is no hell and fury. There is only acceptance and open arms. Imagine disagreeing with someone without hating them? What a novel concept.

Not surprisingly, I want to know more. I heard he had back problems, how did he handle this marathon visit to North America? Does he nap? Does he ever get some privacy? When does he eat? What does he eat? When he was in Philly did someone shove a cheese steak in his hand? Why weren’t there pictures of him having a slice of NYC pizza?

I liked turning on the news and not seeing Trump. I liked seeing Pope Francis in Madison Square Garden and millions of people trying to see him. I mean he doesn’t even have an Instagram! His followers are live.

I’m not saying he’s perfect. When I heard he gives sleeping bags to the homeless outside of The Vatican I thought, “gee, that’s nice but couldn’t a small portion of your institution’s wealth take care of all the poverty in Italy?”.

But I don’t care. I like him. A lot. I like the way he made me feel the last few days. I like that all the newscasters had to fill time with positive things.

And now it’s over. Trump and Putin are on 60 Minutes. I feel like people started yelling as soon as he left the country. It seems very ungodly.

Instagram Balanced

Here’s what showed up on my Instagram feed yesterday. Same, but different.
Shaolin Monks who believe your mind
can do anything you command it to. They believe in discipline, focus and training.

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Next up: Andy Cohen from Bravo. He believes in gays, housewives and International home searches. He also believes in Mazel-of-the-weeks, Padma Laxshmi and alcohol.

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Same, but different.

Bros before….you know

We had a busy weekend. We picked up a kid at camp. We drove 3 hours to upstate NY and had a fun day with friends, came home, slept and then headed west to Harrisburg to see my family (and pick up the other kid).
We were also there to celebrate two birthdays and an Indian celebration called Raksha Bandhan (we’re efficient that way).
To be clear, there are hundreds to Indian celebrations. What can I say, we like lots of Gods and lots of ways to worship them. And by WE I really mean my people, not me. Because as I’ve told you before, I’m religious light. I dabble. The Catholic Irish Ukrainian dude I married is the same way. We do the big things. Baptism so the kids get into heaven? Check. Making sure they know how the Indian god Ganesh got an elephant head? Done. Mortal soul secured.
So we approach holidays in both religions with some whimsy. Don’t you think some of the problems of the world would be resolved with some whimsy? Whimsy is undervalued.
Anyway, back to the weekend.
Basically the celebration is about the bond between a brother and a sister. She puts a sacred thread on his wrist, dots his head with a red mark called a Tilak (red powder dye and water. Think runny red lipstick) and she feeds him something sweet. He promises to protect and love her and gives her a small gift. Lovely.
What happens if you don’t have a brother like me and my sister? You’re screwed ! Just kiddin. Our cousins step into the role for us.
Here’s some pics from the celebration. The last pic is of my cousins who payed dual roles, our brothers and the birthday boys.
Notice my sons face as my daughter feeds him the Indian sweet. Maybe next year she can feed him an M&M or something.
And speaking of tweaking tradition, one of the sacred threads resembled a football – so we chose that for my son. He missed the subtle cultural fusion we tried to create.

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Please stay tuned.

oh hi. It’s me. Remember? Did ya even notice I wasn’t writing for a bit? Like a long bit?

I had some technical issues. Technically I decided to spend all my free time sleeping instead of writing this blog.

In defense of me, I have been sick.  Is it a cold? Allergies? Who knows, and I’m certainly not going to a doctor to find out.   To add to the fun, life has been a tailspin of activity.

But things are slowly unwinding. School is almost over. All major religious rights-of-passage celebrations have come to an end (for now).  Work is still insane, but lately it’s taken a turn for interesting, which makes me less likely to daydream about being a coal miner (seriously. have you ever thought about it? Aside from the life threatening aspect – it sounds perfect. Solitary. repetitive. One singular goal. No need to shower in the morning. That’s my kinda job).

May was a blur, but it’s June 1st. Time to get back on the blogging horse.  I can’t make any promises, I have to be honest. I’ve enjoyed sleeping.

Here’s some random pictures that could and should have been blog posts but I was in deep REM mode instead.

This post would have been titled: 17 years of marriage yo!  See, child brides do make it work sometimes.

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I would have called this post: I-know-you’re-obsessed-with-karate-and-doing-a-perfect-split-but-I’d-really-like-grandkids-someday-so-please-be-careful

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The below photo was taken by my girl at a concert that she’d  been waiting to go to for months. All her favorite bands were going to be there. It started at 1pm in an outdoor venue by the water. The day before the concert we found out that all the bands that she wanted to hear weren’t even coming on until 9pm. On a Sunday night. And the concert wouldn’t end until closer to 11:30pm. On a Sunday night. What happened next cleanly, swiftly and neatly explains how different my husband and I are, not just in parenting, but also down to our core.

When she told us her sad tale, my reaction was,” bummer. guess you’ll be missing all those bands since we’ll be picking you up at 7.”  My husband’s reaction was,” ok. So I’ll buy a ticket and go to the concert with you so you don’t have to miss those bands.”  WTF?

This post would have been called – Lucky Duck

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Dysfunction Function

What happens when your family gets together?
Is it fun and stressful and crazy?
Do you debate which family vendetta to support and which to avoid?
Which side to pick in the fight du jour?
No? Just me?
In the last two weeks we’ve celebrated two big milestones.
My son’s communion and my daughter’s confirmation. A Catholic religious rite of passage, squared.
This is particularly interesting because I’m not Catholic and my husband is what I would consider a fair weather Catholic. Christmas time, he’s in. Easter mass? Ditto. Other than that? It’s a crap shoot.
Nevertheless, this was important to him. And I like to make him happy and ensure he and my children go to heaven. I plan on being reincarnated until I can finally live a life without Spanx – so they won’t see me for a bit in the afterlife.
Anyway it was two weekends full of fun. The kind of fun that could break out into a fight at any moment. The kind if fun that requires alcoholic beverages.
But it was also the kind of fun where you remember why you love your parents, uncles, aunts, sisters and cousins. You remember that you’re related to these loonies because you are a looney too. In fact you may be the king of the loonies.
God is good.

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Do as I say, Not as I do.

I got a call this morning from an oldie but goodie pal who is finally tying the knot with her longtime beloved.  I met her at my very first job out of school. I think my major responsibilities were getting scones and coffee for our CEO, but I digress.

The last time I spoke to her was a few years back, when I wasn’t working full-time and had decided to start a wedding planning business.  And because I’m an awful person, I haven’t reached out to her since.  Although she hasn’t reached out to me either, so technically our joint awfulness cancels itself out. Right?

She called me this morning because she wanted to go over pricing for her caterer, but our conversation quickly went to every single detail of her plans.  That’s how I roll. I need to be fully immersed. No toe dipping for me.

As we chatted she asked me the question that all the brides ask, “what was your wedding like?”.

What was my wedding like? It was grand. It was great. It was…a non-wedding.

We eloped. On a lake. In the sun. Without most of our friends and family.

Here’s the long story short – or the short story long:

We got engaged on a cold, rainy February night in NYC (very romantic night involving fighting, crying and celebrating).  I’m not sure if it was because I was in my early twenties and insane or because I was in my early twenties and genius – but I wasn’t stressed about the wedding planning at all.  I was super chill actually. Then my mother called and said it would be great to have a Hindu ceremony. Then my mother-in-law called and said it would be so nice if we could do a quick trip to the church after that ceremony to get blessed by the priest. So then I got stressed. I avoided thinking/planning/discussing the wedding for a few months. Then my boss, the one I fed scones and coffee to, told me they had to fire 2 people from the office and I’d have to cover for them all summer and wouldn’t be able to take too much time off. Then I freaked. Then I melted.  It was mid-May. It was Saturday afternoon. We hatched a plan. We would elope. Run away. To Eastern Long Island.

We didn’t handle the elopement in the best way. There aren’t any elopement planning books. It sounds easy, but it’s tricky.  Ok, it’s easy if you actually just go off and elope. We f’d it up.

We had some family there. Some not. We took tons of photos and even a video, thanks to a talented uncle that lived in the town by the lake. We went out to dinner that night with all the relatives that lived in the town. In hindsight, a bit confusing for the relatives who didn’t live in that town and who weren’t invited to dinner. We gave our parents a heads-up, they were totally fine and understanding. The rest of the family? Not so much.  It wasn’t an elopement really. It was a small wedding where we chose not to include my parents, his parents, our other sisters (his older sister was there as a witness), aunts, uncles,cousins and close friends. It was ugly.

It’s been 17 years and we still hear about it. On a positive note – we’re still married. There’s that.

So! If you want to chat about your wedding plans? I’m your gal. If you want to talk about how to elope? Google it.

here’s us on that special, messed up, beautiful, ill-conceived, completely imperfect perfect day…

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