Friday, March 31, 2006

Yesterday I got so old I felt like I could die. Yesterday I got so old it made me want to cry.

Life is funny. Not necessarily funny ha-ha but more like punch-you-in-the-stomach-leaving-you-breathless funny. Wednesday was my birthday. To make a very long story short, my mom was in a car accident. Although the car was left undrivable, my mom was relatively unscathed. However, when I spoke to her a while later she couldn't dismiss the fact that she may have blacked out prior to hitting the lamp post. Fast forward and my mom is admitted to the hospital for a neurological assessment. Fast forward some more and although she's neurologically OK, the tests show some anomalies in the areas she was previously treated for cancer. The consensus on the tests since the first discovery is that the shadowing is scar tissue from her previous surgeries. The quick ride on the emotional roller coaster has left me exhausted. I know that the law of averages will show that my mother will pass before I do but nothing will ever prepare me for it. My sisters and I are very close to my mother. Having a family of my own is the only thing that will force me to go on once it happens. It's also a bit hard treading on being a primary caretaker for your children and your parents. I was pregnant the last time I was in that role and in looking back, I'm not quite sure how I survived. Anyway, bottom line mom is fine and I'm a year older.

Thanks to all the wonderful blog wishes I received. I also want to give a special shout-out to Wandernut and Box who sent me an awesome homemade scrapbook of events that have occurred on March 29th over the years. Of course there was hilarious handwritten commentary throughout. I hope I can return a dose of Mint Love worthy of your thoughtful present.
birthday book

We had work done on the bathroom. The builder did not secure something correctly the first time and our tile work was cracking. It's all fixed and back to normal now. Of course we have to touch up some paint which only makes me want to change the color of the bathroom.

IMG_3316 My birthday cake.
Mercifully D only lit 4 candles otherwise it would have been a fire hazard. My cake was vanilla with white frosting and Twix candy bars. I'm pretty sure I'm diabetic now thanks to this cake.

D gave me an iPod which I still haven't taken out of the box because I was so busy with my mom and everything. We're gonna play around with it tonight. (Yes, the iPod too. Kidding.)

Finally, I have had a couple requests for pictures of D and the kids. The Girl was dressed up for a play at the Boy's school and I snapped this pic of her. As you can see she inherited my eyes and D's family's crazy-curly brown hair.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

And it's money that will make the monkey dance.

Texas sucked. Actually the state of Texas was fine but the trip was bad because I had a sinus headache which turned into a migraine by the time I landed in Dallas. I was in so much pain that I rushed through everything that I needed to look at and promptly went back to the airport to catch an earlier flight home. Unfortunately the 4pm flight only had middle seats left and when I'm feeling this crappy I can NOT be sitting in-between 2 people. I decided to go to TGI Fridays and force myself to eat something. My friend called me and told me to take the following; 2 benedryl, 4 ibuprofen, a bottle of Coke (cola not the narcotic) and an icepack for my head. She guaranteed this would help and stayed on the phone while I found the stuff at one of the airport stores. (I can't drink Coke because it usually leads to a headache so I substituted it with water). Miraculously my headache was gone in an hour. I feel asleep on the flight home and by the time I landed in Chicago I was 100% better.

I think I've mentioned before how much I love airports. It's such a cool place to people watch and I love observing the different subset of people coming together. First you have business travelers; Women in power suits, men in wrinkle-free slacks. These people are the most likely to have really loud mobile conversations as if there weren't 100 people around them. Come on folks, it's called cell phone etiquette 101. These are also the people most likely to have those conversations you find on British Airways commercials; "No honey, daddy will be home tomorrow" or "Your gym shoes are next to the back door by your boots." I too have these conversations although I make sure that people in the terminal 2 miles away can't hear me. Next you have your vacationers. The people who look at the airport terminal map over and over so they can plan out how best to get to their next flight. The international terminal is best place to see the long awaited reunions like those on the closing credits for Love Actually. Warm embraces, maybe even a few tears. Once when we were picking up my dad from the airport I saw a woman breakdown in the arms of her family as she passed through the gates. I assumed someone passed away and my mind raced with the possibilities; a husband? a parent? a child? My eyes welled up thinking about how her life was forever altered by this event.

Anyway, I took the long way around to the point of this post which is Jobs I've Had (Thanks to Wandernut who tagged me *glaring look*). I realize that even though my job is nice, it is never as cool as it sounds when people hear about it. (Also known as the Grass is Greener on the Other Side Syndrome). I think it would be cool to be a journalist or a graphic designer or work at an ad agency or be a hip physic's professor or a doctor, resident, or lawyer or the Queen of a call center. Even temporarily unemployed people are cool.

So without further adieu, the job's I've had:

Office Monkey at the Church Rectory: I was only 13 and my mom had to sign some papers because of child labor laws. I thought it was a ton of money at the time. I used to answer the phone and make sandwiches for homeless people. I used to have the radio on in the back office and by divine intervention I was caller 95 for a radio station contest and won tickets to my first U2 concert.

Weekend Monkey at a Real Estate Office: My sister had the job and recommended me when she went away to university. I was a senior in high school and I thought it was a ton of money at the time. This was the first time I ever used a fax machine and had access to the internet. The office was in the most affluent suburb in the state and there was rarely a house listed for under $1 million US. The people were really nice and I loved being there. They took up a collection as a going away gift when I went to India and gave me close to $500.

Emergency Room Helper Monkey: Probably my most favorite job of all time. I did everything from change the sheets in between patients to bag up bodies for the morgue. I worked every weekend during university and these people became my closest friends during that time. The day shift meant music and food and dirty jokes. I would be laughing during a game of charades one minute and performing chest compressions on a man who was found unresponsive the next. THAT'S what I loved about it. You never knew what you were getting on every given day. I also learned the importance of superstition: Anyone who said "Looks like you're having a quiet day" was banished with a dirty look. Full moon nights meant the day would be filled with nuts. This is also where I saw that death brings out the very best and the very worst in people. Word of advice to all my friends in blogland: Tell your family your wishes for when you pass away otherwise in a moment of emotional crisis everyone will argue about what they think you wanted. I've had siblings literally fight each other in the same room with their mother's body.

Research Assistant Monkey: I worked on a National Institutes of Health study which sounds impressive but basically entailed drawing blood and collecting urine from patients every 30 minutes. I had my first publication but I also had my first patient, someone who I had gotten to know for a year, pass away from complications of kidney failure. This is a long term study in which people will be contacted periodically until they die. Some of my original patients are still alive. One of them even sends me a birthday card every year.

Coordinator Monkey: One step up from assistant but tons more responsibility. I eventially became a senior coordinator which just means they added managing people to my job description. I hated being a manager. Way too many personalities to contend with.

Associate Managing Monkey: It was an international study with sites in 8 countries. I worked for TL and we made magic together. As manager she went to Paris, Brazil, and Egypt. I didn't really go anywhere except the hospital down the street. We planned a meeting to be held on an exotic island and I was finally approved to go. 1 month later the company was taken over in a merger and the study was cancelled.

Director Monkey: I managed an office that worked hard to keep research going at a hospital. We were told we had support but in the end they listened to the one person they shouldn't have. There was politics involved in all this (as there is in every business). The woman resented TL and we knew that she would get rid of her. For me it was death by association. I went to them and said it was fine if they were thinking of getting rid of me but my staff deserved better. They said they appreciated my willingness to handle this without discourse and discontent and I said "Oh no, I think this sucks but I'm also a strong believer in karma and what you put out will be returned". She looked at me as if I just cast some sort of voodoo spell on her. They gave me 3 extra weeks of pay for my severance as a gesture of good will (also known as we fucked up money). The week after we left, TL and I got offered new jobs for more money. That idiot woman who made the decision to phase out our jobs is single-handedly being blamed for a sharp decrease in research. Instant karma can be a bitch.

Work from Home Monkey: I work in research and although I spend most of my time in my home office compiling reports and data, I sometimes have to fly to different states to audit the work of my team. If possible I try and avoid this at all cost as it requires that I shower and actually run a comb through my hair. Actually I'm pretty disciplined considering I work from home. I never turn on the TV during the day and I try to get up every hour just to stretch or grab some water. I am however proned to start long conversations with the Fed Ex delivery person or mail carrier as they may be my only face to face contact during the day.

There you have it. Not too bad considering I'm in my early thirties. Next week the magic of Minty's fridge contents will be revealed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

That's right you're not from Texas but Texas loves you anyway.

Where does the time go? My meeting in California was fine. There is a major kiss-ass on my team who needs her lips surgically removed from my manager's hind region. The weather was nice but unfortunately I was in sunny 70-degree weather one day only to return to 35-degrees and driving snow the next. You wanna know when you're having a bad day? When the taxi drops you off at your front door with your luggage only to realize that you can't find your house keys. To add further misery, you're wearing your light jacket and standing in the middle of a snow storm. THEN you find that your cell phone battery is dying. I called my dad who came in the snow to pick me up. The next day when I unpacked my bag I discovered my keys laying in bottom of my luggage.

I have decided that I am in need of a overhaul. When you're younger you have natural motivations that keep you going; you just need to make it to the end of the semester or you just need to make it to the weekend. I'm not sure what my current goal/motivation is. I find myself being moody for no reason. D and I have been snapping at each other a lot lately for the dumbest things and most of it has to do with my mood. I think it's lack of exercise so I have been every intention of being more active.

In a random search for activity, we took the kids bowling. D is from Wisconsin where they hand you a bowling ball as soon as you exit your mother's womb. Although he hasn't bowled in years, he was throwing down strikes as if he just practiced the other day. The place where we were at had bumpers for the kids so needless to say the Boy did well. I, on the other hand, was trying to find my rhythm. I was either knocking all the pins down except one OR I was throwing the ball in the gutter. The Girl just had fun watching it all and yelling "Good job dada!" "Good job Boy!" "Ohhhh...mama!"

IMG_3284 another great shot by the Boy

IMG_3283 I had my favorite boot-cut pants on which looked cute with my boots but looked goofy with my bowling shoes.

I'm off to Texas for the day tomorrow. An acquaintance of mine asked if D was OK watching the kids when I'm away which annoyed me because when he goes out of town no one seems to question if I'll be able to handle it. I also realize that I'm lucky that D's so hands-on and active to begin with and doesn't pull shit like "where do you keep the Girl's diapers?" Besides he was an active participant in creating them, why should I have all the fun in raising them.

I know that I was tagged with a "jobs I've had" and a "what's in your fridge" meme which I will post soon. The really sad part is that my fridge is far more interesting than my previous jobs.

Friday, March 10, 2006

What a cold and rainy day. Where on earth is the sun hid away?

So much to say, so little time. My job has been hellishly busy but actually pretty interesting as we bring aboard the different countries. I'm getting my hair highlighted today so I need to finish about 6 days worth of work in the next 4 hours. Here is a photo recap of my week

It snowed last Sunday. It was a steady beautiful snow that's all gone now. It was sorta winter's last hurrah (she says tentatively) as the temp is going to be near 60 tomorrow. There's apparently this big fire ball in the sky called the sun and today it's decided to grace us with it's presence after many months away.

1st movie
Took the girl to see her first movie; Doogal. I got 2 words to describe this flick-God Awful! It had big name stars but it was just plain dumb. The Girl gave me a look like "The Boy's first movie was Shrek 2 and I get THIS crap?" D took her out to the lobby for the last 15 minutes while the Boy and I watched the end. SIR Ian Mckellen and DAME Judi Dench were prominently featured and if I were Buckingham Palace I would revoke their titles just for being associated with it.

Went to Ikea and besides some stuff to redo the Girl's room I bought a bunch of plants.

IMG_3247 Here are the ones on my kitchen window sill

Plant from Ikea
I haven't had time to repot this one so it's sitting in my dining room.

I helped my sister redo her condo. It's a nice place for 2 people considering she and R are hardly ever home. We bought a new rug and some pictures and hung her mirror and some photos. I told her that she doesn't have any kids yet so there's no excuse for the mess and clutter.

Before pictures:




Also, there wasn't too much we could do with the furniture placement because they have this huge media cabinet holding their big-ass TV.

After pictures:




After View from the kitchen

After New shelves with wedding pictures

Finally, I had a request to post more pictures of Chutney.

IMG_3241 Just to give you a little perspective on how big he's gotten he can reach the kitchen counter with little effort.


The picture isn't really clear but sometimes Chutney thinks he's in a rodeo. He jumps up on his hind legs as if he were riding off into the sunset. In the background you can see the kid's tent which Chutney used as a doghouse for a few days.

Every once in a while when he's not spasing out or eating socks Chutney will come and lay in my office while I work.



These pictures make him look deceivingly innocent.

That's all folks. I'm in California next week so I'll post if I can. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Somewhere over the rainbow.

This is my itty-bitty contribution for the Blank Noise Project's blog-athon and is dedicated to Hemangini. The courage that you showed was 15 years too late for me, but perhaps 15 years in time for my daughter.

I was raised in a fairly liberal community where your race, gender, religion or sexuality was never a barrier to anything you wanted to do in life. In high school I was woefully average but I had a good group of friends whom I held close to my heart. I spent 10 months in India in-between high school and university. This move was equal parts of finding more about the place I came from as well as taking a break. However, the day I touched down in Kerala, I regretted my decision for coming. I'm not sure if it was my clothes or hair or demeanor but people, mainly men, leered and stared. I cried when my dad dropped me off at the hostel which would be my home away from home for the next year. Luckily, my older sister was with me and I have never felt so grateful for the company. She quickly made friends with some people and I just enjoyed spending time with my journal and my music. (U2 and New Order helped me through those first few weeks). Within a few months we were in 2 distinct groups. My sister was with a sweet group that listened to every rule and spent a lot of time studying whereas I was with a group of girls identified as rabble-rousers. This clearly had more to do with how they dressed then anything else. They were all girls who received high marks but happened to be raised in Kuwait and dressed in jeans. I quickly became known as "the American" and had a great time with my friends. The funny thing was that our reputation was far-more outlandish than what we were actually doing. We were hardly ever late for our curfew and if we were, it was because we waited too long to decide that we must go get some food to to sustain us for the night (the hostel food was pretty bad). Most times, the watchman would let us through if we gave him a meatpuff or a package of cookies. However, some nights the mean administrator lady would be waiting for us and lecture us about how proper young women do not walk in the street alone once the sun sets. One time, this same woman pulled me aside and said that I seemed like a sweet girl and I shouldn't let my reputation be ruined by my association with these other girls. I was stunned. There was NOTHING in these girl's behavior that warranted such comments. I thanked her for her concern and ran and told my friends. They laughed off the comment and said their marks spoke themselves and I shouldn't take stock in what she said. About a week later, 4 of us were making our usual bakery run when my friend and I turned around to find a man exposing himself to us. I still dry-heave when I think of his face as he stroked himself. My friend and I were too stunned to talk but when our friend Nina turned and saw what was happening she started yelling at the top of her lungs. She made quite a scene and someone identified the man as a tailor who had a shop down the street. The 4 of us ran back to the hostel and quickly told the head lady. She asked what we expected when we ran around in jeans and t-shirts.

There are other incidents such as being "accidentally" groped while on a bus or being verbally accousted when my friend wore a sundress. Back then I didn't have the courage to say anything. However, the birth of my children has assured that a stranger's wayward hand or sexual innuendo will never again pass unanswered.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

And I'm never gonna dance again. Guilty feet have got no rhythm

Conversation this morning with my former boss and mentor whom I still affectionately call Boss.
I'm in the middle of writing a report when the phone rings.

Me: Good Morning, (name of my company), this is Mint

Boss: Hi Mint, it's (boss man)

Fuck! Why didn't I check the caller ID before I picked up

Me: Hey Boss. What's going on?

Boss: Oh you know same old same old. (He launches into 15 minutes about his research, how he received 400 applications from doctors to be in his fellowship program, about all the papers that have been accepted for publishing)

Boss: I have a publishing opportunity for you. (Tells me)

Me: That sounds so nice except I'm doing X-Y-Z so I don't have a lot of time to devote to it.

Boss: Still happy being a corporate peon huh?

Me: (breathe-10-9-8..) Still happy that we can pay the mortgage AND have running water this month.

Boss: You know kid (he's known me for 12 years so I guess he can still call me that) money isn't everything. You get your name published enough times and people will be kicking in your door with opportunities. Academic prestige is priceless.

BREATHE!! 7-6-5...! This is a man who traveled 20 out of 30 days a month while his kids were growing up. This is the man who lives in what can only be described as a mansion. This man has a wine cellar bigger than my kitchen. This is the man who won't do a speaking engagement unless his honorarium is $3000 AND he gets first class accommodations AND his family flies with him free of charge. You're lecturing ME that money isn't everything?

Me: Boss, we go through this every 3 months. My current decisions on my life are based on the kids. When they're older I'll think about other things I want to do. Besides, I think I'm doing important work in the meantime.

Boss: No need to get defensive kid. I'm just trying to look out for you. People would kill to work with me and I wanted to give you first dibs.

(No asshole.. people want to kill once they START working for you)

Me: I truly appreciate you calling but the timing just isn't right for me.

Boss: I're too busy playing mom. When do you think you'll have more time?

"Playing mom"??? (insert string of expletives)

Me: Hmmm.... (ruffles papers as if I'm checking my appointment book) April 5th, 2019. I'll pencil you in.

(Serenity now! Serenity now!)

Boss man is brilliant and I know I sound like an ungrateful bitch but with the opportunity comes long (unpaid) hours, travel away from my family in my spare time, and discussions with a man who I am convinced has a mental disorder. Academic prestige would cost me my sanity and I'm not willing to part with that.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Every picture tells a story baby

Thanks for all the anniversary well-wishes. Just to clarify we've been together 10 years, married almost 7.

Warning RANT AHEAD: Have you ever been so crazy-busy that your brain is still going 200 miles/hour even when you're sleeping? That's what's been happening with me. Some days I sit at my desk and the phone rings non-stop and the IMs come in like crazy while I'm being serenaded by the ding, ding, dinging of new e-mails. It annoys me that people from my personal life wonder why I don't call them right back or respond to their e-mails in a timely manner. If you really knew me, you know how chaotic life has been and you'll stop your bitching and/or passive aggressive behavior. (End of rant)

My stress level has been on the increase because my study is going outside the US which means Minty's been brushing up on her Spanish.

I've been spending a lot of time with my friend Sara. We met completely by chance and have grown quite attached in a short period of time. This past weekend D took the kids to stay overnight at his mom's in Wisconsin. I stayed home with Chutney, aka the world's dumbest dog. Anyway, I had a hot night of work, laundry and cable TV all planned when Sara called and convinced me to go to Devon (Little India) and grab some dinner. 3 hours later we ended up back at her place. Sara is going to help me redo the girl's room because she has a great eye for design on a budget. Most of the items in her house are hand me downs or toss-aways that she's fixed up. Here are pics of the discount saris she used at curtains.

dining room

living room That's Sara. We had a lovely time just hanging out and chatting and playing cards with some friends.

Sunday morning I decided to make a big breakfast for myself.

brunch I mixed 2 of my favorite things in the world and...

apple sausage stuffed pancakes Tada! Apple sausage stuffed pancakes

I've been trying very hard to leave my office at night and work on other projects to relieve stress. My latest obsession is organizing and displaying my photos. I decided to spruce up the kids bathroom by framing various pictures of them in the bathtub.

bathroom wall Bathroom wall before

bathroom wall after Bathroom wall after

I know what you're thinking. Yes, the bathroom is bright green. It's the bathroom that the kids use so I let the Boy help me pick out a color. I told him it needed to be a color from the shower curtain.

kid's bathroom I thought he would pick yellow or even a nice blue. Oh well, it's only paint.

Lastly I leave you with a pic of the collage that I made for D.
collage I even put a picture of me in there. : )

OK. Must get back to work!