Thursday, May 26, 2005

Pink Moon

I'm feeling very blah today. We're flying to New York for a weekend wedding and I'm dreading parts of it. It's nice to see family I haven't seen in a while but there's always some underlying tension with some of my relatives that I hope won't surface during the festivities. For example, the father of the bride refused to invite the mother of the bride's brother. The brother of the bride threatened not to attend the wedding because his parents refused to invite his girlfriend. At last word, he will attend the actual wedding and reception but nothing else.

I needed a necklace for the wedding so we went to Devon street otherwise know as Little India. Here's a picture of the boy playing a little game called "How many Bollywood actors can I name?" Answer: none, although he pointed out every poster that Amitabachan was on.


Here's a picture of the necklace I ended up buying. No, it's not anywhere close to being real so I'm already preparing for my aunties comments on my choice of jewelry.

Wedding necklace

Have a good weekend! Wish me luck.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Mrs Potters Lullaby

If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts - Counting Crows

Here's my weekend good/bad/indifferent list:


  • Japanese Story - This is a great movie because it was not at all what I expected. Unfortunately that's all I can say at the risk of giving anything away. The 3 main characters are Toni Collette (love her!), Gotaro Tsunashima, and the Australian outback. Someone please see it so I can talk to you about it.
  • Waiting for the Sirens Call by New Order- I'm a huge New Order fan so I was eagerly awaiting this album and luckily it doesn't disappoint
  • Hot Fuss by The Killers - Another great CD. Very catchy especially if you are the fan of 80's music.
  • I'm almost done with my extra project that I was helping out with at work.


  • My dad missed his connecting flight from Germany to Mumbai (Bombay). He was due to get in at 2:45am so he can shower and nap before the 11am funeral. He landed in Cochin at 9am.
  • Britney and Kevin Chaotic- I wasn't sure if I should file this under Bad or just plain Mind-Boggling. As a disclaimer my sister begged me to record this, not because she is a Britney Spears fan, but because she heard it was horrible. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of witnessing this train wreck, this is a reality show in which we follow Britney Spears and her greasy, non-bathing, husband Kevin. The majority of the 1st episode was told by Britney as she walked around with a video recorder. Oh. My. Gawd. These 2 are dumber than a box of nails. First of all, Brit wears a ton of makeup because without it we can see that she has some skin issues. Secondly, all Miss I-was-a-virgin-until-ten-minutes-ago-pure-as-the-driven-snow talks about is sex. Hey, I'm no prude but I'm careful not to broadcast my raunchy talk to a TV audience of a billion people. This show has been dubbed "career suicide" for Brit and her baby's daddy.


  • Neighborhood yard sales- Basically a bunch of neighbors getting together at a predetermined date and time with a whole bunch of their crap for sale in their respective yards. If anybody wants a ton of baby stuff for cheap, stop by on June 4th. One man's trash is another man's treasure...
  • Asado Brazilian Grill - My husband and I went out to dinner there Friday night. Basically it's all the meat you can eat, which isn't necessarily my thang. They did however have an awesome salad bar and this really great cocktail with Rum and limes.

My older sister has reconnected with one of my cousins from London. Somehow through the years my dad lost touch with my uncle (who is actually his cousin) hence we lost touch with Lee and Al. My dad was telling me he heard that Al was a drug addict and when I pressed for details he said that Al was living in Amsterdam and pot is legal there so he's probably a drug addict. When my sister talked to him it turns out that Al is a successful stock broker and has decided that he wants to live throughout Europe while he's still young. I had to chastise my dad for making snap judgments.

Finally, I leave you with some pictures.


bare tree






Backyard Tree

I love the one month in spring/summer where the weather is perfect in Chicago. Soon the the heat and humidity will arrive and my hair will never be the same.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Outbreak of Love

My mom and dad flew back from Florida yesterday and my father will be on a 7pm flight to India tonight and will stay through June. Dad will be missing my cousin's wedding in New York at the end of the month. My cousin, who is extremely close to my parents, is upset but trying to keep a brave face. I mentally go through all the events that will need to be rescheduled. The baby's 1st birthday party, the boy's 5th birthday party, J's engagement/graduation party. No big deal, I remind myself. I feel for my aunt back home who is confused. Her mind and body won't cooperate with each other post stroke. My cousin J is hysterical. She has a strained relationship with her sisters. Her husband won't be able to come back from South America in time for the funeral. Her son, a merchant marine, is somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, blissfully unaware of the chaos back home. Hopefully this will bring the 3 sister's closer together.

We had a little prayer service at my parent's house last night. My aunts, uncles, cousins and a few neighbors from the Little Kerala section of the cul-de-sac. By the time my parent's flight landed, my sisters and I had ordered the food, cleaned the house, picked up my dad's tickets, and enlarged an old picture of my uncle to be placed in the make-shift shrine. My dad thanks us and says he's lucky to have such wonderful children. Wow. I take note of the day and time and mentally file that memory away to be replayed on a future day when my dad is less touchy-feely. One of the neighbor Ammachis shows up and I speak to her in my remedial Malayalam. "Aren't you the one with the white husband?" she asks. "Yes Ammachi, he took the baby home to sleep". "Does he understand Malayalam? "No" I respond thinking she's going to chastise me. "Good. A husband doesn't need to know everything a wife says."

I had to go into the city today and took a few pictures while driving. The sky had a strange swirly cloud pattern which I couldn't stop looking at. It's strange how you notice the details of your surroundings when you're going through life altering events like death or a break-up.

To skyline

Away skyline


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

God's Gallipoli

When the phone rang at 5:30 this morning I knew it couldn't be good news. It was J letting me know that my uncle, dad's oldest brother, had passed away. My parents are in Florida for the week. My mom is at a conference and my dad tagged along. My father retired late last year and has spent most of this new phase of his life in India. In India he passes the time attending to all the details of the new house. In India he has relatives to see and friends to catch up with. In India, my dad doesn't have enough hours in the day. In America, my dad doesn't know what to do with himself. My mom works 4 days a week and during those days my dad busies himself with innate chores. He cooks as if armies are going to be visiting their house. He pulls the weeds in the front yard as soon as they appear. He sends my sister J on a million errands spread over the course of the day. "J Mol can you go and get me an onion and 2 grapes?" 2 hours later it will be "J Mol can you take the car to get the oil changes, and by the way I need 4 carrots and 2 bananas". According to J, the errands are both random and erratic. Poor dad. He just wants to feel useful.

Speaking of erratic, my uncle who passed away had been acting strange for the past year. His wife, who was the emotional leader of the family, had a stroke about 18 months ago leaving her with partial paralysis. My uncle suddenly became very demanding and almost mean. (Lord forgive me for speaking ill of the dead). The emotional toll of my aunt's stroke was almost too much for him to bare. He became angry when people weren't around. I think he was scared and probably a bit lonely. His behavior caused an invisible rift between he and my dad. Two days before my dad was due to fly back to America, my uncle was hospitalized with chest pains and tests showed he suffered a minor heart attack. He would have to watch what he ate but was more or less fine. My dad went to go see him in the hospital and uncle was angry that my dad was still planning on leaving. My cousin (his oldest daughter) was due to visit Chicago on the way to see her husband who works in South America. She canceled the trip knowing that my uncle would never forgive her for leaving him "alone". I can imagine that my dad feels guilt for leaving on less than ideal terms. Ever since my mom's battle with cancer, I have perfected the art of "learn to let go". My mom's illness was hard. I quickly had to become an expert on saline sacks, early detections, chemo cycles, etc. The chemo which was supposed to save her life nearly killed her. I'll never forget the call from my dad t telling me that my mom's blood pressure had dropped to 60/50 in the emergency room. I camped out in her hospital room for the next 3 days, ignoring my dad's protests because I was 3 months pregnant. J was away at school and my older sister (M) refused to come to the hospital because she and mom had an argument the week before and she was holding a grudge. In my head, I forgave M for not being there although a part of me will never forget having to go through those 3 days alone being the primary, emotional provider for both my mom and dad.

Anyway, the last thing I'll remember of my uncle will be how he balled his eyes out when I left India in 1991. He pinched my cheeks really hard as if I were 6 years old again and told me in Malyalam that he'll see see me later. Good-bye Appachan.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Cornflake Girl

Just so I have something to show for all the time I wasted yesterday, here are some pictures I downloaded off the camera...

Pretty House...
I've always loved this house in D's hometown. It's now a funeral home.

cem 2
We went to visit D's dad's grave the last time we went to Wisconsin.

cem 1
Another random cemetary shot. It's a very old cemetary with lots of really old grave markers.

I wish I had more to show but I'd like to maintain my secret identity so I can continue to use my powers for good.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Roots, Rock, Reggae

Today marks the end of a pathetic week work-wise. The morning started off well with J and I meeting at the gym to work out. Unfortunately upon return, instead of working on some important reports I loaded the CD player with 10 of my favorite CDs and let it randomly pick the songs of the day. A little Bob Marley mixed with a little AfroCelt Sound System ensured that I got minimal work-work done this morning. After a quick conference call (which I was only half paying attention to as I was picking out songs to make a mix CD for a blogging friend), I called D and we met for a quick lunch (that's quick lunch not a lunch quickie. Sorry to disappoint). After lunch, I turned the stereo on loud and cleaned the house. By the time it was 3pm, I panicked and condensed 3.5 hours of work into 1 hour and 15 minutes. As an update to a previous post, ever since I answered the door looking like crap, my old Fed Ex courier has not returned to my house. Instead I now have a very nice, very butch woman who has at least 6 piercings in each ear. My neighbor, who happens to be gay, saw her talking to me the other day and insists she was flirting with me. Anyway, she picked up my reports at 5:00pm thus ending my Friday with a total of 2 hours of actual work done. By the time D and the kids arrived home I was exhausted for no apparent reason. Wasting time sure is hard work. I don't know what is wrong with me. When the hell am I going to grow up??

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Closer to Fine

J asked (read begged) me to come with her and my parents today to look at invitations for her wedding in September. The only real chunk of time I had free was during lunch so J said she would treat us all to lunch (knowing that my father would never allow any of us to pay). J chose an Afghan restaurant near the printer who serves the best lemon chicken and basmati rice. We all had a pleasant lunch (more or less) and quickly drove off to the printer. Now, as her maid of honor (or her MOH as she now refers to me), J needed me to be there to act as a buffer between her and my dad. My dad does not handle stress well and tends to elevate most stressful situations to DEFCON-5. Lunch's main topic was how we all had to make sure our passport were ready for our trip in December. "When does you passport expire?" he asks. "I don't know, I'll have to look and..." He quickly cuts me off "You don't know...if you don't know, who's supposed to know?" Good God, not even the best lemon chicken in the world is worth having to sit through this lecture. I shoot J a dirty look and she shoots back a as-my-MOH-you're-supposed-to-go-through-this-with-me look. Anyway, at the printer J shows my parents the simple invitation she has in mind. My dad's focus quickly turns to the wording that appears on the sample. He wants their full address to appear in the body of the invitation. When J advises that's usually not the way it's done, my dad snaps that he's put on 2 weddings (me and my older sisters) and that's how they appeared. I calmly tell my dad that's not how my invitation was. " what you guys want." He then proceeds to sulk at the other end of the store while J, my mom and I pick out the invitations. AGGHHH!

My dad is a very loving man, but he is so immature when he doesn't get his way regardless of whether he's right or wrong. The wedding is 4 months away and I'm already sick of being the MOH.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mamma Mia

I'm a huge music fan. In my youth (i.e. before kids) Ley, Nik, and I spent what little money we had on music and concert tickets. My first concert was U2 when I was a freshman in high school. Going to concerts was tricky with immigrant parents who thought everyone was on drugs and would wait up for me and nonchalantly check my pupils for signs of intoxication. The all-day music festivals such as Lollapalooza and WOMAD were extra tricky to get permission for as my father never understood baking in the hot sun all day to see 10 bands. "Don't you have anything to study?" he would always ask despite it being summer break. By the time my little sister was going to concerts, she didn't have to jump through as many hoops as I did. I took her to her first 2 shows: Indigo Girls and Tori Amos. At the Indigo Girls show we got hit on by a very butch group of girls who thought J and I were a couple.

D and I have completely different taste in music. He is definitely more Beatles- Simon and Garfunkel while I listen to everything from Billie Holiday to Sugarcubes. My son loves the music that I listen to. When I was going through a hard time at my last job, I made a CD of a whole bunch of up-beat songs that I played all the time. The boy loves this CD and requests it every time we're in the car. For the past few days, much to D's chagrin, the boy has been walking around the house singing Abba songs.

One of the few regrets in my life is that I never learned to play a musical instrument. When I was about 7 (my older sister was 11), my parents bought a piano at a music store going-out-of-business sale. Despite the discount, it was probably still more then my parents could afford but my mom worked extra shifts to make it happen. I will never forget my excitement when the delivery men took the piano out of the truck. I will never forget how devastated I was when after 2 hours of trying to get it through our narrow front door, they loaded it back in the truck and drove away. D plays both piano and guitar beautifully. I've made a list of 101 things that I would like to do before I die and one of them is to learn Sweet Thing by Van Morrison on the guitar. I've been debating about using part of our tax refund to buy a piano for D's birthday in July. I have daydreams of being a musical family with me on piano, D on guitar, the boy on drums and the baby playing the flute. Sort of like a cooler version of the Partridge Family only without the drug abuse and eating disorders.

Monday, May 09, 2005

And Sweet Surrender is All That I Have To Give

Thanks to all the well-wishers. Having survived the SARS-like illness, I finally feel nice and minty fresh. I've started many posts since last week but never had the energy to finish any of them. My boss sent me a nasty e-mail on Friday but I refused to let it ruin my day. It's a nice feeling not letting someone get the best of you. We spent Saturday at my parent's house and D grilled everything in sight. Sunday we went to a Mother's Day brunch at a country club in Wisconsin with D's family. Not a hoity-toity country club...just as country clubby as you can get in Wisconsin. I sat at the end of the table with D's nephew Dan who is 22 and very cute. He's so unpretentious and nice. If he was 10 years older, I'd fix him up with my friend. My best friend Ley is still with that knucklehead boyfriend of hers. It's getting hard for me to pretend like I'm amused when he's around. He says the most random shit like he gets off on being eccentric. His latest thing is that he has issues with getting old. What? You know what boys and girls of blogland? There are 2 things in life that are get old and one day you'll die. DEAL WITH IT! He's one of those people who are so fixated on getting older, he's whining and worrying his youth away. My sister J and I went to work out today and there was a beautiful woman who had to have been in her 50's. She was even more lively and beautiful than the 21 year old Britney Spears look-alike next to her. That's what I want. Grace and beauty when I'm half a century old. I want my mom's looks, Audrey Hepburn's grace, and Katherine Hepburn's spunk. (OK...since this is a wishlist, throw in Madonna's abs and Tina Turner's legs).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

August and Everything After

Picture if you will, a packed airplane. You're sitting in the middle seat in row 34 out of 35. The man on your left takes off his shoes (ONE OF MY, I mean YOUR PET PEEVES!)and insists on humming to himself. The woman on you right shifts restlessly and hogs the arm rest. You haven't eaten since breakfast and it is now 5pm. All you can do is imagine the sandwich you will order from room service as soon as you get to the hotel. Suddenly the captain comes on and says there is a medical emergency on board and the plane is being diverted to Omaha Nebraska. Omaha? Do they have airports in Omaha? The plane lands 30 minutes later and medics escort the elderly man off. Another 10 minutes go by before the captain announces that the plane has to wait to be refueled and related paperwork. The plane is now in hibernate mode and the air conditioning shuts off. People are getting restless and the whole plane has the sudden urge to use the restrooms that are right behind row 35. U.S. Domestic air travel post September 11th has done away with in flight meals (unless you're in first class). You're now left with a packet of 5 pretzels and a cool beverage (which you decide against because the line for the bathroom now reaches the cockpit). DAMN YOU AL-QUEDA! Another 45 minutes and you say your final farewell to Omaha. (Final, because during the wait you couldn't think of one good reason, aside from a medical emergency, to ever return to Omaha. You make a mental note to listen to Omaha by Counting Crows when you get home). Another 2.5 hours and you finally land in Southern California. Unfortunately, the crew in Omaha needs go back to a remedial door closing course because no one can get the door open. Another 20 minutes (without air conditioning) and you are finally off the plane. You have to wait 20 minutes for the hotel shuttle. It's 11pm by the time you get to your room. Hungry, but too tired to eat. You barely close your eyes and the phone rings. Why does your husband insist at calling at 5am....

Just when I thought my day was bad, D tell me the baby has been throwing up. I arrange for my dad to watch her and rush off to my meetings. By the time D calls me at 1 to tell me that the boy got sick at school, I'm already feeling queasy. I'll spare you all the details but let's just say we all caught a nasty bug. I'm home now and my toilet is my new best friend. I'm having flashbacks of a New Year's Eve during college where my best friends and I went to the bar to see a band. We ended up back at my friend's house and we drew straws to see which bathroom we would be "assigned" to. I woke up with the guest bathroom floor tile imprinted on the right side of my face. I'm glad those days are over..