Thursday, September 29, 2005

Play that funky music white boy

I've been tagged and I've decided that I don't want a angry Rat on my hands so I shall play along.

The instructions for this meme are as follows:
  1. Delve into your blog archive.
  2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
  3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
  5. Tag five people to do the same.

My 23rd Post was titled Roots, Rock, Reggae dated May 13 2005 ,The fifth sentence was :

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.)

Wow. I'm still as exciting as an ear infection.

Now let's see...which 5 people shall I piss off.. uh, I mean... extend blog love to.

D and AKR (Happy Birthday AKR!)

Sunrayz (I used to have glasses JUST like hers. Sadly our hope of being related via marriage didn't pan out)

The Box (Cos he doesn't write often enough)

Jay and eM (Cos they are the King and Queen of Blogland)

ADDENDUM: Jay and eM are the QUEENS of blogland.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Exactly 55 words

“I’m happy for you, I really am” her voice cracked as she whispered into the phone.

“You were right. I need to make a clean start”. He admired the new, shiny, gold band on his finger.

She immediately prepared the mental checklist for the swift, emotional withdrawal she was about to initiate.

Go numb. Check.

I'm going to Disneyland

Greetings from Disneyland.

With the wedding and all I forgotten that I had to be in California this week for a business trip. As we speak I'm typing from my hotel room in Disneyland. My job can get pretty intense and pressure-driven (as with all our jobs). Fortunately the company is pretty cool and meetings like these make me forget, albeit temporarily, that I have a deskful of paperwork waiting for me at home. Yesterday we spent 3 hours on a scavenger hunt through Disney's Grand Californian Amusement Park. Some people became very competitive and could be heard yelling "We need Goofy's autograph for 10 points!" as they pushed young children out of the way. The meeting is for the management group of the company and there are about 40 of us all together. It never ceases to amaze me that people drink heavily at official work functions.

Before I forget, special thanks to Vignesh for my latest CD from the exchange. It had a very nice mixture of songs including some James and Rufus Wainwright. Grove Armada will forever make me think of Em. As a very sweet gesture he put a special song on for The Girl. Things have been crazy so I have not had a chance to properly thank him blog-style. Thanks Viggie!

It's been a while since I've written. My cousin ended up staying until Sunday. Luckily she still gets free flights from her former job and had no problem changing her stand-by status. It was sad to see her go as we've gotten really close over the past week. Friday we ended up going out and had a fantastic time. I drank too much and didn't go to bed until about 2:30am. I called my cousin when the kids got up at 7am (which is "sleeping in" for them) because if I had to be up, well dammit she better be awake too. I went out with her almost every night she was here and my liver has not seen this much activity since New Year's Eve 1998. If she can get the time off she will join us in India in December.

I need to get to my meeting but before I go:
  • I called the lovely Ms Rat for her birthday. I cracked up when she said "Oh my gawd, you do sound American!" From the pictures she sent me I can officially confirm that a good time was had by all.
  • My other cousin from London (who is actually the daughter of a family friend) developed quite the crush on D while she was here. She was quite bold and at one point told me that he was "her type." Granted D is amazing with the kids and it's so cute to see how he fawns over the Girl but I felt it was odd to tell me (in detail and without provocation) how into my husband she was. Mr Oblivious never noticed.
  • This hotel is amazing.
  • I'm on a bit of a Disney overload. My 6am wake-up call was a recording from Mickey Mouse that left me confused. I was so sleepy I kept trying to have a conversation with him.
  • I haven't been to the gym in 2 weeks. I think I've always been a bit lazy but I've recently taken laziness to a new low.
  • In October, D is going to New York for the weekend with his mom and 2 sisters. The last time the 4 of them were together on a trip was when they had to go bring D's brother's remains back after he suddenly passed away. They vowed they would go somewhere again on a less morbid occassion.
  • J and R are back from their honeymoon.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I just remembered a few details from the wedding day.

Here are the roses that arrived the morning of the wedding. They are from R to my sister J and the card reads: I can't believe this day is finally here. I love you so much.

Wedding favors
Here are the wedding favors that were at each table setting. They're a set of glass coasters with the word LOVE on it. If they weren't so heavy I would have included some in the next CD exchange.

J's wedding bouquet is now on my parent's mantel.

Bridesmaid bouquet
My bridesmaid bouquet looking very wilted now.

Sunday we headed back over to my parent's where family was beginning to catch flights home. I can't tell you how much fun it was to have the majority of my family in one place. Maybe it was because they were there for a finite amount of time so there was no room to get annoyed and such. Whatever it was, promises were made for visits to various places around the US and abroad.

Wave of people leaving

More Goodbyes (London Cousin and NY Uncle)

Dad waving bye

My parent's empty house minus 60 people

The only one left is my cousin from London and she is absolutely fabulous. She's an economist whose office is down the street from Buckingham Palace and the woman lives on about 5 hours of sleep a day. Since the wedding we've spent our time happily chatting the night away.

Full moon rising

We went to a bar with over 100 varieties of beers. My sister M is taking London Cousin to the U2 concert tonight.

J and R are now on their honeymoon in Jamaica where Hurricane Rita is sure to dump lots of rain. My uncle said it's their honeymoon and they probably weren't planning on seeing much of the island anyway. Hey! That's my baby sister you're talking about.

After months of planning it's hard to get back to the routine of everyday life. Luckily I have a 2 week vacation in India to look forward to in December.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married...

All I can say is...ow.

Minty has a sore throat and a slight headache so if we could all use our quiet voice today it would be greatly appreciated. Also, I was a wee bit busy so I don't have a lot of pictures.

The last 3-4 days have been a blur. R and J got engaged in December 2003. My mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and J was away at vet school. R came over to visit my mom after her surgery and, over dinner alone with my parents, asked for permission to propose to J. My parents of course said yes. R, like my husband D, is a quiet, nice, smart boy. A suitable boy if you will. He's an engineer at one of the country's top companies and comes from a very nice family. No, he's not Indian but in the grand scheme of things his heart is into our family every bit as much as J's is. My father's only condition was that the wedding wait until J finishes school. A few months later, on one of J's rare breaks from school, R got down on one knee and proposed on a trip to a beach house in Michigan. (As a side note, R was unaware that D proposed to me in the same manner). Yes, I would be remiss as a girl if I didn't mention how beautiful the ring is; a platinum band with a square diamond solitare the size of Jupiter's third moon. (If you ever read this J, I'm only kidding although you have to agree the diamond is big). The long engagement was not so we could put together a grand wedding, although the wedding was grand. Things were dicey with my mom's health and J still had a year and a half left at school. In all honesty J didn't even start planning the wedding until Jan 2005 when she had another break from school. Anyway, fast forward to this weekend.

Family started arriving on Wednesday and the trips to the airport to pick up more never seemed to end. J and I had a great time at the spa on Thursday. We felt completely refreshed as we drove around to get our eyebrows and nails done. Everything was going so well until J called me that night and had quite the bitchy, bridezilla tone in her voice. It's funny how J has literally repaired broken limbs on 20 pound dogs and delivered a horse in breech position with nerves of steel but when it comes to thinking about whether the string orchestra will make it to the ceremony on time, she freaks out. Long story short, I hung up on her. I KNOW! I'm the MOH! In hindsight I shouldn't have done it but I thought it was a better alternative than yelling at each other until we were blue in the face.

Friday was the rehersal. D took off a half day of work and ran around to help me get stuff done. Rehersal was fine. The priest saying the mass has known J since she was 9 and is very fond of her.

Running through the service.

The only true glitch was that the wedding coordinator J paid to run things was a half hour late and stood in the back and never said anything. This will come back to bite us later in the story. The rehersal dinner was at a wonderful Italian restaraunt called Campagnola. R's parent's rented out the top floor and dinner was spectacular.


My family cut things a little short as we had all our relatives waiting for us back at the house but I think everyone understood. D took the Girl home as it was past her bedtime and we needed her to be in good shape for the long day ahead. The Boy and I went to my parent's house and there were easily 50 people there. We stayed a bit, enjoying everyone's company before we went home.

Aunties gathering to sing songs.

The actual wedding day was pretty long but here are some highlights:
  • Had to be at the hotel at 5:30am for hair and makeup.
  • The dress still looked hideous on me.
  • J, who got little sleep, asked me to stop and get her a Red Bull on the way to my parent's house. She took 1 sip and nearly threw up.
  • Tension when my cousin arrived with his Latina girlfriend (who is SO nice and sweet and pretty) and his father wouldn't acknowledge her.
  • Panic attack number 1 for J was in the back of the limo on the way to the church
  • Panic attack number 2 was in the back of the church before we walked down the isle. In actuallity this wasn't as much a panic attack as it was a burst of adrenaline and just wanting to be down the isle next to R.
  • Ceremony went long by Catholic standards. R's mom is a musican so every 5 minutes there was a song accompanied by a full set of musicians and singers.
  • BIGGEST ISSUE. My family scattered and headed for the reception after the cermony. There are no family pcitures at the church with my family. My father yelled at me and I stormed off and said "That does it. I've had it with you dad!" J yelled at my dad for yelling at me. The fucking wedding coordinator was nowhere in sight.
  • First dance song was "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
  • Changing into the wedding sari took FOR-FREAKING-EVER. There were 9 women sent up to assist 4 of us in changing and we still missed all of lunch.
  • When we came back to the reception, my father came up to me and said "I know you're mad at me but (Malayalam term of endearment) you look beautiful". That's my dad's version of an apology and I'm old enough to know it aint gonna get any better than that. I gave him a kiss.
  • There was no way J could have gone anywhere near a metal detector with the amount of bling she was wearing.
  • I cried through my maid of honor toast. I'm sure there are some great shots of me bawling like an idiot.
  • I drove R and J to a large rose garden for some outdoor shots in her sari.
  • Headed back to the house for some traditional wedding things but not before we stopped at McDonald's. The McNuggets were definitely not the caliber of the chicken I was supposed to have at the reception but the fries were damn good.
  • Big summit while we were gone. My father took my uncle aside and told him that life is short and that his son has been dating the pretty Latina for years and regardless of whether he accepts ot or not, they were going to be togther. As the oldest, my father has clout and he pretty much told my uncle that as long as they finished school, there was no reason not to accept the relationship. I heard that my father said if my uncle doesn't accept it then my father would pay for the wedding whenever it occurred. My uncle begrudgingly complied. My cousin, a big guy who spent the last 2 years in Afghanistan and Iraq in the Marines, said it was the happiest day of his life. He almost cried on my dad's shoulder.
  • R got a hug from my mom before he and J took their first step into the house. My dad said the same thing to R that he said to D on our wedding day. "Welcome home son, my house is now your house." As soon as he said that D told me he felt a little sad. He was used to being my dad's only son up until then. But sweety, I said, you'll always be his favorite son. True, he nodded as he walked away.
  • J and R drank warmed, sweetened milk for fertility and to sweeten their marriage. J hates milk. hee hee.
  • Tons of family pictures. By now most of the people between 21 and 31 were dressed in jeans in preperation for the after-party. J and R rented out a bar in downtown Chicago for dancing since they decided to forego the DJ at the wedding. I told my cousins it didn't matter how they were dressed, the important thing is that we were all together.
  • I didn't make it to the after party as I could barely stand. Plus, poor D handled the kids all day and I'm sure he needed a break. Despite how tired he was D, still handsome in his suit, went and got me a milkshake and rubbed my feet.
  • I have great pictures from the after party but none are anonymous enough to post.
  • After-party rocked. They rented a mini-bus to take them to and from the hotel. My one cousin from England randomly saw her forner boss from Ireland at the bar. I love Chicago!
  • 90% of the group that went was completely smashed by the end of the night.

Will finish out the rest of the weekend on a seperate post. My wrists hurt.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

And I ran, I ran so far away..

It's only 9:30am and I've already done a ton of running around.

  • Programs to the printer. check
  • Get the car washed. check
  • Pick up D's suit at the dry cleaner. check

These are all huge accomplishments seeing as I hung out with my cousin from London last night. Let's just say the woman knows her way around a bar. Tonight my parent's house will be filled with people and tomorrow...well...I expect a chaos as the troops converge at their little house in the suburbs.

This is how the postcard exchange will work. If you want to participate, please forward me your e-mail. I will then compile a list of blogger names (e.q. Mint Chutney), their e-mail addresses and their city/country only. I will them forward this list to all who provided me their info. It will be then up to you to e-mail the person and see if they want to receive a postcard from you and vice-versa. For example, I would love to send and receive one from Naaz in Columbia. So I would e-mail her and say "Dear Ms Naaz- Would you like to exchange a postcard with me? If so, please forward me your address and I will do the same. Adios, Mint Chutney"

This way, you pick and choose who you are sending your info to. OK? OK. If you are interested, send me your e-mail and country and I will compile the list.

OK...Off to a spa day with the bride. Ciao.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lady in Red

The dress sucks (on me) but the shoes are nice.


I think the consensus was people wanted physical postcards. Anyone interested in the postcard exchange should e-mail me your info. PO boxes are fine. Let me know if your info should be forwarded to the entire list. Also, let me know if you only want me to send your blogger name. (That's all I'm using).

So far we have the following countries represented:


I personally will be sending it to bloggers in the UK and Cyprus although I don't think they want to be a part of the official list.

Good Night!

Do mojego Polskiego przyjaciela

Dla mojego gościa od Polski
Wy odwiedzacie codziennie - Wy uczestniczycie w idei postkarty?


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Another Postcard


Monday, September 12, 2005

Knock Yourself Out

The randomness of it all:

  • Wedding stuff and more wedding stuff (5 days and counting). On a sad note J's fiance's grandma passed away the other day. She had been weak but everyone held out hope that she would live to see her oldest grandchild get married. J went to Iowa this weekend for the funeral. Americans are not superstitious when it comes to things like this and the wedding will proceed as scheduled.
  • We hung out with my parents last night and I realized that it is finally beginning to hit my dad that J will be leaving home for good. Although J was away at university for 8 years, her bedroom remained in tact for her visits home. When I asked if they were going to make any changes to that bedroom my father seemed offended at the thought. At the very least you can take the Tori Amos posters down, I said. This seemed to perk him up as one her posters physically frightens him.
  • Went shopping with friends Friday night and was flabbergasted to see that Marshall Field's was already starting to assemble their Christmas trees in the furniture section.
  • I look like a freaking apple in my bridesmaid's dress. Every time I wear it, I crave pie. There is absolutely nothing flattering about it. *sigh*
  • Got to know some newer neighbors a little better. She's a doctor, he's a professor and they have 2 kids almost the same age as ours. I've been to Sweden before and impressed Anna with my knowledge of Swedish swear words. Also impressive was the fact that neither D nor I mentioned IKEA or ABBA during dinner.
  • I think I finally won my parents over to the less-is-more point of view in regards to home decor. My parents have acquired a lot of stuff over the years and everything was on display at one point. It has taken me months to calmly declutter them of their immigrant vacation possessions. "Yes Dad, that Fiberglas replica of Jesus going down Niagara Falls in a barrel IS lovely. Perhaps we can keep it next to the Last Supper lava lamp in the garage."
  • American football season has begun which means every week I lose any semblance of a husband for approximately 3 hours at a time. D is a HUGE Chicago Bears fan. The best part for me is that D makes fresh bread from scratch every Sunday that the Bears play. Usually we make soup as well and have friends over to watch the game. Sunday D made 2 loaves of Tuscan bread to go with our Beef, Barley and Vegetable soup. Some people we were expecting had to cancel at the last minute which means that I will be having soup morning, noon and night for the foreseeable future.


I knead you.


Bread before the oven


Bread after the oven


Tuscan bread with Beef, Barley, Vegetable soup.

  • My cousins from London arrive on Wednesday with more arriving from the US between Thursday and Friday. I predict little sleep and lots of good times ahead.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

MY FIRST: Breakup

I know the series is called "My First" but my first 2 break-ups were not of particular note. They were pretty much on my terms and I had no ill-will towards anyone and vice versa. Break-up number three, however, stung like a kiddy pool filled with jelly fish.

Topher was a volunteer in the ER where I worked. He had aspirations of giving up his well-established career in insurance and going to medical school. He was different than the other guys in the ER. Unlike the cocky paramedics and the cockier medical residents, Topher was humbled by what he saw. He would hold the hand and sooth the nursing home residents while I drew blood. He would change the sheets on the beds without being asked. He even started bringing in bagels for the staff on days he would volunteer. Everyone liked Topher and he quickly became a bright spot in my long, weekend shifts. After about a month, I noticed that I started dressing different on days he would be there. The t-shirts I wore were always a little more flattering when he was scheduled. My hair would be done and I would apply my favorite lip gloss in anticipation. Soon we were calling each other all the time. He had my home and cell phone, I had his cell number. We never saw each other outside the ER and I never questioned it assuming it was a mutual decision to build on our friendship slowly. There was nothing more than mild flirting and I was actually a bit confused on what we were. On the day he received his acceptance letter to medical school Topher came to the ER to show all of us. It was a particularly horrendous night as far as patient volume and we barely had time to acknowledge him. I gave him a quick congrats hug and left the ER to go to the linen closet to get more sheets. As I walked down the hall I couldn't help but feel a little sad as I knew our days together were definitely numbered. The sadness was compounded by the fact that Topher probably considered me as a buddy and I felt silly that I built it up to much more in my head. After a few minutes, the door of the supply closet opened and there was Topher. The fact that it was a very movie scenario (linen closet, how cliche) did dawn on me and I insantly knew things were different. He asked me out to lunch the next day and I was euphoric. Lunch was at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant and Topher proceeded to tell me how much I meant to him. How my support made him believe in himself. How he felt that we have a chance to be so much more to each other but we had to be patient. It started to drizzle as we walked back to the car and he put his arm around me as we huddled under the umbrella. When we got back to the car he leaned in and kissed me. A sweet, warm, tender, kiss that made me believe everything was going to be OK. When he dropped me off, my mom was unloading groceries from the car and he got out and proceeded to help her. When he left, mom commented what a nice, handsome boy he was. I laugh now because I realize that it only took 10 minutes to win my mom over with his sweet-talk and warm smile.

I will cut to the chase and say that I eventually found out that I was the other woman. The girlfriend of 4+ years owned a house with him. Bought a car with him. Had a cat named Snuggle-Kitty (gag!) with him. I was devastated when I found out. You gotta choose, I said, is it me or her? He said he loved me but it was complicated. I remember telling him that one day he would be sitting in a rocking chair when he's 85 years old and he'll know letting me go was the biggest mistake of his life. (Yes, I know...I watch WAY too many movies). I vowed never to see him again and proceeded to fall into a depression. I couldn't eat or sleep and everything around me reminded me of him. Melissa Etheridge kept me company as she sang what I felt (Cos I'm the only one who'll walk across a fire for you). Two weeks later he started medical school and stopped trying to get in touch with me. As much as I said that's what I wanted, my heart was still broken. A month later he came to the ER and cornered me in a room and said I was the one for him. I now know it's you I want, he cooed. I was a fool to believe him but I did. The next few months were filled with excuses about why he couldn't move out, why he couldn't leave her quite yet, why we still never had a date at night. Who knows. Maybe she was prone to hysterical outbursts and borderline suicidal as he said. It's so hard to pick and choose what I want to believe based on anything he told me. I eventually pulled back and he eventually stopped trying to win me over. The sting of the initial break-up was replaced by the realization that I was so much better off without him. Eventually I worked at the hospital where he went to school and we would see each other in the hall and stop for small talk. He took me out to lunch once after I met D and was thoroughly annoyed how much I gushed about him. He tried to kiss me in an exam room and I shot him the dirtiest look I think I've ever given anyone. He stopped all attempts at communication after that.

Topher is married. He moved back to Illinois after doing his residency in New York and is a pediatrician in some little town I've never heard of. I found out that I was actually one of many "other" women and am amazed that he had any time to spend with "her". Although he had a penchant for Indian women he was an equal opportunity cheat. I thank the stars that it didn't work out.

Friday, September 09, 2005


People are beginning to receive my Mint CD packages and my faith in the international postal system is once again restored (sort of). When I first suggested the idea of a CD exchange a few months ago I only had a few takers. Along the way I also decided to send stuff to others who I felt needed a pick-me-up... a little bit of Mint love if you please. In all, I sent 9 packages to 5 different countries and I loved every minute of it (except when my first package never made it to India!!). In truth, I possess the heart of a hippie. Not an annoying never-wash-or-shave-my -legs hippie. I'm the sort of free spirit who's looking to diversify her retirement account. I put a lot of love into each one of these packages. Wouldn't the world be a better place if you sent a care package and hand written note to a complete stranger?

Mint Mix Revisited August 2005

That's The Way Love Is- Poi Dog Pondering
Lovers leaving without reason
feelingss change just like seasons
And no, nothings the same
Ain't no use in pretending I can hide the pain

It's catchy and I picture Grrl playing it loud in her kitchen while she cooks.

Beautiful World (Acoustic) -Colin Hay
Overkill (Acoustic)-Colin Hay
I heart Colin Hay and his work since leaving Men at Work has been outstanding. A little touch of Australia for Ms Penny Lane

Send Me On My Way - Rusted Root
Catchy tune. As an added bonus it's in the movie Ice Age so the Boy loves it as well.

Little Plastic Castles - Ani DeFranco
Fingeek and I both like the same lyrics

Good Morning Heartache - Billie Holiday
What can I say. I love the old standards and this one in particular has helped me through some difficult nights.

NightSwimming - REM
Nightswimming, remembering that night.

Temptation - New Order
Up, down, turn around
Please don't let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I'll walk alone
I'll find my soul as I go home

Sweet Thing - Van Morrison
This one is lesser known than some of the others I could have chosen. I was telling Rat about this song so I decided to include it.

El Matador - Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
I defy anyone not to play this one loud. A perfect song for Lavi to practice Kalari with.

Let My Love Open The Door - Pete Townshend
I like this version from the soundtrack to Grosse Pointe Blank.

Somebody's Crying - Chris Isaak
From Forever Blue, one of the best break-up albums EVER.

Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
The guitar/banjo comes on and I can't help but tap my feet

Naked Eye - Luscious Jackson
Last night I came into your home
to break some ice and throw some stones

It Had To Be You - Harry Connick Jr
I love big band music. Added this as a special shout-out to Wandernut as she's a HC Jr. fan.

Angry Words - Willy Porter
it's a simple life I lead, still got a lot to learn about

Kissing a Fool - Michael Buble
Originally by George Michael. I like this version with the big band in the background.

Waiting in Vain - Annie Lennox
If I had half the talent Annie Lennox possess in her little finger...well, I'd have a lot of talent.
The tears in my eyes burn
The tears in my eyes burn
while I'm waiting
while I'm waiting for my turn

Thursday, September 08, 2005

MY FIRST: Dead Body (Conclusion)

Um.. yeah. I changed my mind about posting Part II. Let's just say witnessing 2 adult autopsies was ok but when they brought out a 5 month old infant, I went numb. The pathologist asked me to help by holding the chart and recording info as she dictated. I couldn't even watch and when I looked at the chart I saw the boy's name. Knowing his name made it so real. As I stared down at the chart my teardrops kept smudging everything I wrote. We all left that day a little hollowed but with a whole new respect for the men and women who do this daily. I was supposed to go to dinner with my boyfriend that night and I remember putting on a perfume called Tea Rose. That was the last time I ever wore that scent because I will forever associate it with a formaldehyde smell.

The End

Unfortunately my first dead body was far more interesting than the majority of my firsts (first love, first car, first break-up). Thus ends that short lived series...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

MY FIRST: Dead body (Part I)

The devil makes work for idle hands...

The major project that I have been working on is in its maintenance phase and I haven't been assigned to anything new yet. I'm so bored I even volunteered myself to anyone who may need assistance with their work. Unfortunately I have to be close enough to my office should any situations arise so it's not like I can leave for hours at a time. No worries, things should pick up by the end of the week. In the meantime I have cleaned the inside of my refrigerator, washed the floors, and dragged Chutney on a long walk. I swear every time I walk by he gives me a look like "Crap! She's got too much time on her hands." I have decided to start a series called My First.

Back at university I was part of a Biology colloquium. Contrary to popular belief we didn’t sit around and extol the virtues of DNA vectors (although I have some great jokes about transgenic mutation which I’ll save for another post). We had great guest speakers and every once in a while we would take a field trip to somewhere interesting. One year we went to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office where we were to get a tour of the city morgue and, if we were lucky, view an autopsy. It was a chilly, fall morning in Chicago and I remember it took me almost 15 minutes to remove the frost from my car windows. When I got to the building my friend Smitha, the field trip organizer, was already schmoozing with representative from the Examiner’s office hoping to get assurance that we would see an autopsy. As much as I loved Smitha, she was the pure definition as an over-achieving college student. When class was ready to let out early, Smitha always raised her hand to ask 5 extra questions. When the professor forgot to give out the homework assignment, Smitha was the one who would promptly remind him. She was a perfectionist who was hard on herself and she planned to go to medical school specifically so her parents wouldn’t talk to her about marriage. Anyway, this was Smitha’s field trip and dammit we were going to see an autopsy even if she had to kill someone and do it herself.

All told there were about 13 of us. Smitha and I, along with our good friend Tom, hung in the back of the group and sensed the nervous energy in the air. Our tour guide was an older African-American gentleman who had worked at the Examiner’s Office for 20-some years. He spoke in a firm and deliberate voice and you just knew he didn’t take shit from anyone. For 5 minutes he warned us on what we’d see. The morgue freezer was big, he bellowed, and once we walked in there would be no exit until we reached the other end. “If you don’t think you’ll make it to the other end, please don’t bother going in.” Nobody backed out and our guide led us down the hall that would take us to the freezer. As we walked down the hall there was a body covered in a white sheet laying on a gurney. Without hesitating, our guide removed the top portion of the sheet and said “Ah, here’s a fresh one.” There lay an African-American man in his 20’s who had gang tattoos covering his chest and a bullet hole right above his left nipple. As our guide talked about entrance and exit wounds I distinctly remember thinking “Wow. He’s dead. This is my first dead body.” As cliché as it sounds, he looked in peace although it just didn’t seem real. By the time we made it to the freezer 2 people had dropped out and when the smell of formaldehyde hit us as the door opened, 2 more people declined to go in.

I’ll spare you all the gory details (which there were plenty of). I will say there were shelves upon shelves of bodies wrapped in white sheets with feet sticking out. The “fresh” ones were against the wall on the right-hand side and some were still dressed in street clothes. There were bundled sheets that were smaller than others and I couldn’t even look at them. I would rather look at the man who rode his bike into a telephone pole than see a child’s body. Although, for the love of God people, where a helmet when you ride a bike! The most overwhelming part was the formaldehyde. It made my nose and eyes burn and when I tried to cover my nose with my sweatered arm, it was as if I were mainlining it. The formaldehyde made you a little high and that wasn’t a bad thing given where you were. After walking what seemed like miles, our guide opened the exit door and we all hurried out and breathed the sweet, fresh air.

To be continued...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Satellite strung from the moon and the world your balloon..

A sampling of my morning IM conversation with my best friend Ley

Me: I just can't wake up this morning. Gawd, I hate Mondays.

Ley: Sweetie, it's Tuesday.

Me: ?

Ley: Yesterday was a holiday (Labor Day). It's Tuesday.

Me: Shit! It's only 8:30 and I'm already a whole day behind.

Ley: Oh, I have my last physical therapy for my knee today with hottie.

Me: Which one?? shorter Keanu Reeves or Ben Chapin?

Ley: Who the hell is Ben Chapin?

Me: Oye! We go through this ever time. The guy from Truth About Cats and Dogs, Birthday Girl and that one with Sandra Bullock. The one where she ended up dating the guy who was like 18.

Ley: Ms Congeniality?

Me: No! That's Benjamin Bratt. The cute guy from The Notebook. Great, now I got to go Google it.

Ley: Knucklehead (her boyfriend) didn't want to see the Notebook. Have you seen it?

Me: No. D said he'd rather go shoe shopping with me than watch that movie. Ryan Gossling!

Ley: Oh him! He's cute in a jailbait sort of way.

Me: I know! That's exactly what I told someone the other day.

Ley: You know who else is cute in a jailbait sort of way? Andy Roddick

Me: Geez Ley..he's like 18. I'm pretty sure that's illegal in some states.

Ley: No! He's at least 21. Isn't he?

Ley: Now I gotta Google and find out.

Me: (sigh) I love Google. The Boy is addicted to Google Earth. He keeps bringing up random satellite images of houses. We looked at your place.

Ley: Ha! Andy is 23. Ohhh and it says he "plays right-handed". That's good to know.

Me: You sicko! They're talking about tennis. Ugh.

Ley: However I choose to interpret that info is my business.

Me: Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson...

Ley: Jesus loves you more than you will know Whoa whoa whoa


Me: We should take our Name That Tune show on the road.

Ley: Cute Canadian guy from 6th floor just borrowed my stapler.

Me: I gotta go

Ley: BTW Keanu Reeves.

Me: Cool!

I love how we went off on 10 million different tangents but I still understood what she meant at the end.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Cracklin' Rosie

Hello, my name is Mint and I got this post idea from Madame Mahima.

Songs and or CDs that bring back a flood of memories every time I hear them: (not to be confused with the soundtrack of my life which is a completely different post)

Soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever- Bee Gees
This was the first album my parent's bought after settling in the States. I can still clearly picture John Travolta on the cover in his white disco suit. I was probably about 5 years old when I first belted out More than a woman, more than a woman to meeee. Other notables in my parents collection included every Yesudas album known to man, Elvis -Live in Hawaii, and The Best of Kenny Rogers.

Let's Go Fly a Kite from the movie Mary Poppins
First movie I went to with my mom. I was mesmerized by Julie Andrews and the whole theater experience. I asked for a kite every birthday/Christmas for years after because of this song.

Joshua Tree-U2
Every single song on it. Kevin K played the tape for us while my sister was dropping him home after church youth group and my world changed. I loved Bono and the boys on Unforgettable Fire but I was now officially in love with them. I won tickets to see them in Chicago about 2 months later and Nik and I got a ride to and from the show from a youth group boy named Sean. I was under the impression that Sean and his friend Chris were assured of getting scalper tickets but when they didn't, Sean dropped Chris back home and then waited for us in his car. Nik says Sean liked me. I think he was just being nice and I'm pretty sure he was/is gay.

Blue Dress- Depeche Mode
First date with W, he made me a mix tape that served as a soundtrack for the night. I remember going for Turkish food in Andersonville and having this song on in the background. When I noted how much I liked it, he officially christened it "our song". I haven't heard this song in years.

Soundtrack to the Hindi film Hum
Spent 10 months in India that changed my life. My cousin owned this movie and we watched it over and over again. It was so cheesy good.

I'm the Only One- Melissa Etheridge
Broke it off with a guy I had been seeing a few months. Listened to this song over and over and thought about how I was so much better than "her". I now realize she and I were fine. He was the problem.

Big Time Sensuality-Bjork
Went dancing with 4 of my closest friends and had one of the best times of my life. One of those everything was perfect, you'll never be able to recreate it sort of nights. I distinctly remember the remix of this song coming on and just feeling such bliss. (Just for the record, according to one of her fansites "Big Time Sensuality" has little to do with sex. The song is about Bjork's feelings for her working-partner and co-producer.."

Waiting in Vain- Annie Lennox
My partner at my old job was dumped by her boyfriend of 5 years. He waited until she finished settling him into his new medical practice before he broke the news. The lyrics are so perfect and Annie Lennox is the only one besides Bob Marley to do the song justice. I played the song for her once and she proceeded to listen to it everyday for a month. (Footnote: I introduced her to a good friend at my wedding and I'm happy to report they have been married 4 years and have 2 beautiful boys. The Indian Pimp strikes again!)

Cracklin' Rosie- Neil Diamond
D and I driving to Wisconsin to visit his mom with this song blaring. I suppose if we had a song, this would be it. We do a kick-ass karaoke version in the car for the kids. The boy is amused by it now...wait until he's 16.

Hey Ya- Outkast
It was very overplayed right during the time I was pregnant with the Girl. I got sick one time while it was playing and from that day on, for the next 4-6 months, I would dry-heave everytime I heard it. It was like some sort of Pavlovian response. I can hear it now with no problems.

Summer Nights from the movie Grease
OK. There's no specific memory but I will drop everything I'm doing and sing along every time I hear this song. Summer days drifting away, to oh oh the summer nights. Damn good song.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Tupelo Honey

Thanks for all the concern regarding the last post but can't a girl have a bad morning? I'm actually fine. Most mornings are chaotic but some days the planets align themselves in a certain way and everything that can go wrong, will go wrong at the exact same moment. I had forgotten about my morning until I reread the post. In all honesty it wasn't as bed as it sounded...

The weekend's been good. J's wedding is less than 2 weeks away so my father is in full freak-out mode now. We're estimating a total 220 with people flying in from all over the US as well as Switzerland and London. My cousin from London is coming in a few days before the wedding and is staying the week after so I'm very excited to show her the sites. I'm also trying to be a good MOH (maid of honor) and booked a spa day for J the week before the wedding. She's a little worried that there's a string of hurricanes brewing around Jamaica right in time for her honeymoon. It is what it is, I tell her. I use that phrase a lot these days. It's become my mantra.

On Saturday we went to friend's house for their son's birthday. This is my friend who knew the pre-kids Mint. It's always fun to see her husband interact with all the kids. He's a shaved head, tattoo-clad, Harley-riding guy with a very kind heart. I noticed that the dragon tattoo that was trailing down his arm is now gone. Let this be a lesson for all you kids considering tattoos; it's hard for corporate bosses to take you seriously when you have mystical creatures inked all over visible parts of your body.

He's not as scary as he looks.

The party was fun in a crazy, free-for-all sort of way. They had a pinata in the shape of a dragon and the kids tried to break it open with a toy sword. I thought it was an odd choice for a 6-year old's party and the whole things had a Lord of the Flies feel to it as kids were yelling "Hit it in the head! Cut it's head off!"

The boy hitting the pinata.


As you can see I'm too lazy to remove names.

We went out to dinner at a kid-friendly place with video games.

Luckily the kids are still at the phase where it's just fun to sit at the machine and pretend to play.

Today, D took the kid's to Wisconsin for his nephew's birthday. J came over after checking in at the hospital and we worked on the wedding programs. I pulled out one of the greatest books I own: Love Letter; An Anthology of Passion. It is a collection of quotes, love letters and poetry written by and for various writers and poets. It was a little sad to look at because I bought this book years ago on a business trip to New Orleans. I can still picture the cute little shop in the French Quarter that I predict is in ruins now post Hurricane Katrina. As with my wedding, we used quotes from this book throughout the program.

I leave you now with a few of my favorites:

I want you for always - days, years, eternities.
Robert Schumann, German composer to Clara Wieck, German pianist and his future wife
April 15, 1838.

I have made it my honour and my religion to love you desperately.
Marianna Alcoforado a Portuguese nun to Noel Bouton (Marquis de Chamilly), 1668.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Some days I want to change my name. Some days I don't want to be Mint or Mom or Honey. This morning my ears hurt every time I heard someone call me. Perhaps it wasn't the name itself but rather the way it was used. "Mooooooom, I need a recent picture of the entire family to bring to school" (Why are you telling me this 3 minutes before you have to go?) "Mint, did you take the dry cleaning in?" (No. Did YOU take the dry cleaning in?) "Honey, the baby just dumped oatmeal on her head." (And? Did you need directions on how to wash her off?)

All the whining. The questions. The tantrums. The dog. Add to the mix the Girl, whose communication style can only be described as a screecher monkey on crack and it's a wonder my ears aren't bleeding.

Lola. Yes, I shall change my name to Lola. I will merengue and do the cha-cha. Lola doesn't wear flip-flops nor does she concern herself with how to get milk stains off the sofa. Lola has feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there. Yes. Until further notice I am Lola.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

El Matador

Yes, yes. Another new post. There's a part of me that's fairly certain that I'll cut down on my blogging soon. I feel like I'm preparing to leave and I have so much to say before I go. Who knows? Maybe that just sounds better than saying 'Hello my name is Mint and I'm a compulsive blogger". The funny thing is I have a full life. My days start at 6am and are fairly packed with family, work, friends, and the house. Wow. I can't believe I'm freaking defending writing a new post.

Anyhoo. The Boy started kindergarten this past week and I have to admit I got a little choked up. I was 27 and fiercely independent when I got married. If you had told me back then that the smell of glue sticks would bring a tear to my eyes I would have said you're fucking crazy. Alas, there we were. The 8am bell rang and they allowed parents to go in with the children. We marched the Boy to his classroom and found his table and name badge. As I pinned the badge on, I had this overwhelming urge to just cradle him in my arms like I did when he was an infant. I flashed back to the night before my labor was induced. The nursery was done in clouds and glow-in-the-dark stars. I sat in the rocking chair and wrote all my hopes and fears and desires for this kid in a journal. Nothing specific like be a doctor, or be the first Indian baseball player to make the Chicago Cub's (D's secret wish). Instead I wrote things like be a productive member of society, give more than you take from the world, discover the world that's beyond your front door, and whatever happens, be happy and know that we love you with every ounce of our being. The Boy had a rough birth and ended up in the ICU where I whispered these things over and over in his ears so he would know that I was by his side. That little baby was now a 5 year old manchild who was shooting D a look like "Dad, she's not going to cry is she?"


The Boy was the calmest amongst his table mates. Next to him was Kate. Kate's mom, who is this very cute Chinese woman with freckles, kept snapping at her American husband. "Tim, take a picture. Make sure you get the name badge in. Is the lens cap off?" Across from Kate was Luke, another Chinese/American child who looked petrified. Across from the Boy was Avery, who looked every bit like you imagine a child named Avery would look; right down to the Gap loafers. The boy's class is full of Arianas and Dillons and Pipers and is quite the UN Convention. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that JB, the Boy's Malaysian-American friend from preschool got accepted at the same time and was in the same class. The family just got back from a holiday in Kuala Lumpur. The more we hang with them, the more I find myself taking on their linguistic cues. "We can't go to the park lah, it's raining."

The first day I picked him up, the boy gave me a thumbs up and told me lots of details regarding his day. The second day the following interaction took place:

Me: So how are the kids at your table?
Boy: Kate's grumpy.
Me: Why's that?
Boy: Because she's a girl.
Me: (stifling laughter) Well, there's gotta be more to it than that.
Boy: (nonchalant) Yeah, I told her she should have her mom give her a big hug in the morning cos that always helps me get rid of my grumpies.

Today was day 3 and every girl in the class said bye as the Boy was leaving. For those of you who saw the pictures of the Boy and his friend Claire, you know the affect this kid has on women. But all he talked about on the walk home was Hurricane Katrina and how some kids don't have a home now and how we should send them stuff. "We have stuff mom...we should send them some of our stuff". My heart fluttered when he said this. "You're absolutely right honey. We'll send them some of our stuff" I went home and let him dial the number for the Red Cross and we made a donation. And when I think about the Hurricane or the stampede in Iraq that killed a thousand people, I hug the kids a little harder and realize that I don't mind the smell of glue sticks.


Oh. I almost forgot. The Boy came home yesterday and said he had to bring a CD to class that is, as he described it "culture". I take this to mean culturally significant to the Boy and run through my favorite Ravi Shankar pieces or even a little Ali Khan. Perhaps I'll add the soundtrack to Riverdance or some U2/Van Morrison for D.

Boy: I wanna bring Matador
(El Matador by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs is one of the Boy's favorite songs and he tries to sing along even though it's all in Spanish)
Me: That's a great song but it doesn't really represent us as a family.
Boy: Sure it does. We all love the song and it makes us happy. Ms S said that's what families are all about.
(Well shit. He's got a point there.)
Me: Matador it is then.