Monday, November 21, 2016


The thing that solidified how much I loved the Jumping place where we had Ro's birthday party is this: The young people who work there saw that my homemade banner, which was actually recycled from her Wizard of Oz birthday party last year (and I intended to hang in her room, which has yet to be decorated), was missing one of the letters.

So they created a solution.

The "I" is made out of paper and taped onto the banner.

Good work, kids.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

it was a jolly holiday

I'm not sure how I feel about putting Ro's photo out there so blatantly anymore. However, I want to show you that I slapped together a damn fine Mary Poppins costume on the evening of October 30. Again, my brain only activated at about 6 p.m. when everything brewing in my head the weeks before finally clicked:

  • She inherited a nice wool coat.
  • I found a lovely light, thin maroon scarf at the $5 store.
  • Madelyn got her some nice, shiny "ladyshoes."
  • I found some paisley fabric ("carpet" fabric is hella expensive!)--this was my only purchase--and made a "carpet bag" from scratch. She still wanted to carry the Halloween candy bag she got at daycare instead. 
  • I sewed a parrot head out of felt.
  • I took her lightweight Cubs baseball bat and a small styrofoam ball, then cut off a leg from my RAGGEDY old scrub pants and fashioned a feather-light umbrella.
  • My crafty sister-in law, M, had made us a bunch of paper flower prototypes before our wedding (FIVE years ago), which I had saved. I sewed them to a very Mary Poppins-shaped hat, courtesy of my mom's sister in India (the hat was part of a very India's-take-on-a-western-dress ensemble. It's glittery.).
  • I made a clip-on bow to put on the neckline of her white onsie top. 
  • I sewed her a long circle skirt, also in navy. 
  • I braided her hair on top of her head.
She's holding the "umbrella."

If only that bag had unlimited treasures like the real one did. 

You'll have to imagine what it looked like with the coat and scarf, but I thought it was pretty cute and nearly everyone figured out who she was supposed to have been (save for one lady who said My Fair Lady?)

I have to figure out what I want her to be next year...unless she decides to have her own opinion. But for now, she's all about Mary: this kid demands "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilick," or "Jolly Holiday" (her favorite) at least 10 times a day. But heaven help you if you substitute Ro's name in the lyrics when you sing along. "NO! MARY!"

"Practically perfect, in every way."

Saturday, November 19, 2016


My kid turned 2 on Halloween (the same day Jon turned 39). We dressed her up as Mary Poppins and took her around to four houses where she refused to say "Trick or Treat," and wasn't even much into the candy. But she did realize it was her birthday--AND DADDY'S--and really enjoyed the balloons and cake.

Everyone in our lives was annoying me about a birthday party. I was hoping to get away without one this year, because, well, she's TWO. But after it seemed we would be having a series of dinner parties for which the house needed to be presentable and a meal/entertaining would be necessary for each, i booked a Jump Around/Bouncehouse/Pump Up place. They decorate, serve the kids food/drink and let them play their hearts out on all this inflatable equipment and other crazy toys. What's not to love? And the entire thing is completely done in two hours.

They have the system down to a science.

Ro is coming out of her shell. She was confused about why it was her birthday again, especially because I had just reinforced that "every day is not your day" and "this present is for someone else; you don't get to open presents every day" 72 hours prior to her party. But she went with it, and had a blast.

I was almost paralyzed by sensory overload. I think in my old age, I'm losing the ability to retain focus in any situation whatsoever. Perhaps it's because I don't sleep anymore. I felt a little shellshocked when it was over.

Friday, November 18, 2016


Today I celebrated cc's birthday with her for the first time in YEARS. She's always traveling so one week she's in Turks & Caicos and the next she's in Newfoundland, Canada. Jet-setting around isn't quite as glamorous as it sounds, but it does sound exciting.

Ro stayed at her grandparents, where she dropped a deuce in the potty for the very first time. While I was sad that I wasn't there, it's likely it would not have happened under my watch anyway. It breaks my heart that my mother and the daycare lady are potty-training my child (for the most part). It adds to the guilt pile I have tied around my neck, slowing down every step.

Life is much shorter than any of us really care to recognize, while we have it. CC took a leap of faith and I pray that it brings her all the happiness she deserves. We should all be so brave.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

it only took five months

Part of the reason I took so dang long to visit my friend and her beautiful new baby is because I had wanted to make a "rainbow" quilt, but didn't want to jinx the pregnancy by starting on it until I knew the baby was out and both of them were safe. 

But sewing with pins is treacherous with a busybody toddler, so I only got to work on it when I felt like staying up all night (we are already up superlate because madam Ro does not sleep well). So I'd carve out a little time here and there, but mostly feel like a bad friend for taking so long. 

I stayed up three nights in a row to finish, but then sewed the binding on backwards--it's supposed to show on both sides. I didn't realize it until I had taken the quilt out of the dryer the day we were going to visit. I am very disappointed in myself. 

It's not a typical rainbow, but my friend got the gist right away.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

that old library is now a Korean church

I got roped into hosting a "facebook party" where the representative holds prizes and cutesy quizzes and we all spend an hour virtually looking at kids books online. I want to buy ALL OF THEM for my kid. And by "for my kid," I really mean, "for me."

Here's the thing: I have always been obsessed with books. I clearly remember being three years old, climbing down the steps with my mother of the downtown library in the old, yellow-stone building. I remember thinking to myself that it was my favorite place in the world. I made my mother bring me there as often as I could. The librarian knew us and would show me cool books. Now I realize I was probably the only brown three-year-old looking for books, so I'd be pretty hard to forget.

Later, there was Nancy Drew. I made it a mission to read every single one of the "old," hardcover series. And I'm pretty sure I did it. The Mystery of the 99 Steps, I believe, was my favorite. I had to google to remember the plot, because all I could remember was "the secret of the 99 steps." They went to France! There was intrigue! There was danger! These girls were doing it for themselves! What's not to love?

As a pre-teen, I often found myself escaping into books anytime I wasn't supposed to be doing something else. Like being in school, or taking a shower. I read at the table (until they yelled at me), under the covers with a flashlight (until they yelled at me). I always took a book to the boring family parties where the closest kid to my age was my brother, whose novelties I could enjoy plenty at home. I sat in the corner and tore through whatever I had with me until it was done. And then I'd sullenly look at whatever they had on tv and be forced to socialize. It's funny, because I'm actually an extrovert.

Much later, I was reading for a living.

Now, I never get to read non-board books. Not even for work. I've had The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks sitting on my nightstand for two years. Perhaps, now that I've removed the Facebook application from my phone, I'll get around to dusting it off.

Or instead I'll dive into the mountain of kids books I'm ordering. At this point, my attention span is more suitable for preschool-level reading, anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

nothing quite like it

I got to hold my dear friend's rainbow baby today.

Each and every baby is a miracle, no doubt. But when you know how much they've sacrificed and how much sustained disappointment they've had to shoulder, let alone the trip to the deep dark that you, too, had made not so long ago, you gain an appreciation for what an immeasurable treasure a healthy child can be.

I watched  that kid look at me in wonder, turn to her mother and flash a million-dollar smile. Then I looked down to find my own rainbow baby hugging my leg in jealousy. I'm pretty sure my heart sprung a leak.

must be the zombies in the house

Last night was the worst night of sleep our kid has ever had. She generally fights us for two hours and reliably stays down until exactly 1 a.m. but pretty much stays in her big girl bed until we come for her in the morning. Last night, I was working on a quilt for my good friend's child who is now FIVE months old (I know, terrible friend) and came to bed at 2 am. Ro woke up with screams so loud and persistent it sounded like she was tearing up her throat. Until the break of day. Jon and I took turns.

In the morning, he told his teammates, he had the most sleep out of all of us--a whopping two hours. We couldn't figure out what the problem was. Were those 2-yr-old molars coming? Tired of mommy being so tense? Had she "seen a zombie" in her room like she told the kids at daycare?

"I want a blanquet! NO NO BLANQUET!"
"Mommy, rocking chair! NO I DONT WANT ROCKING CHAIR!"
"Mommy, milk in a cup! I DON'T WANT MILK IN A CUP!
"Hold me! DON'T TOUCH ME!"
"Come here, Mommy! LEAVE ME ALONE!"
"I want to go potty! NO I DONT WANT TO GO TO THE POTTY!"

It was hell.

To add insult to injury, when she had stayed at my parents' house on Saturday night, she slept 12 CONSECUTIVE HOURS with zero complaints.

Of course, today she wakes up in a foul mood but as soon as Jon take her to daycare, she was a smiling bouquet of hydrangeas.

I'm up again late (gotta do the binding), so I will be destroyed tomorrow. Good thing I'm on call.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

it all makes sense now



"Why is it ok for Trump supporters to be single-issue [sanctity of life, Second Amendment, The Economy] voters, but Clinton supporters have to justify everything their candidate has done for the last 30 years? Why can't Clinton supporters say their single issue is that the opposition endorses hate?"

"Let me break it down for you. Trump is a man. Men are always right. Women are dumb."


"I don't understand why I have to keep explaining this to you...Oh right. Because you're a woman."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

five years, two months

Jon and I spent our five-year anniversary (September 17) working a mandatory two-day weekend (I think it was something like my 11th or 16th day in a row). Hey, at least we were together. That's what counts, right?

We weren't too down about it. We had originally toyed with the idea of taking some kind of trip. Instead we decided to take a chance on a lottery for Hamilton tickets when they went on sale for its Chicago run. We were disappointed. But then my dear husband tried one last time, and got them.

We like live theater. This show lives up to the hype. For me, it surpassed the hype (which hardly happens).

Also? The fact that the majority of lead characters are played by people of color was both refreshing and reassuring to me, after this stressful week.

Our seats were amazing--just far enough away we didn't get hit with any spit (live performances are so passionate!). 

After the show, we checked out the new ping-pong place where my good friend from college is in management. Great food and fun! Jon is considerably better at table tennis than I am. He was captain of his high school tennis team, too. But he graciously played me for our time. Later he said it was a better game for me (more exercise) because he made me go pick up the ball more than he had to. I halfheartedly insisted I was winning.

After eleven years together, we've learned that the key to harmony is not keeping score.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I have basically spent all of my extra time trying to wrap my head around the current political climate. This sentence basically encapsulates what my personal feelings are about the entire thing; in that the second there was hate speech by a potential presidential candidate (as it was for Senator George Allen for his use of "macaca" in 2006), that should have been Game Over. 
"I have friends and acquaintances who are Trump supporters. They genuinely do not understand today’s shock, particularly from minorities. These Trump supporters do not understand that many minorities believe the people who voted for Trump endorse his racism and bigotry — that those voters care more about sending a message to the political establishment than they do about the rights and welfare of human beings." Full Story
I have reached out to friends and acquaintances who voted for/know people who voted for the other party in the hopes they can help me understand. What I'm getting is that the things that informed them and influenced people's votes were: 

1. the sanctity of life
2. jobs jobs jobs jobs
3. shaking up "the system"
4. Hillary Clinton being a liar
5. the 2nd Amendment
6. They don't believe Donald Trump *believes* what he's said, and it was an Art of the Deal-style ploy to win that will be abandoned when he takes office.

What I'm getting from this is that whatever combination of these things is more important than the fact that the President Elect gave white america a wink-and-a-nod green light to entertain their most hateful ideas, such as: 

a) yanking on headscarves
b) teaching their kids that telling African American classmates "I'm going to own you, soon," is OK.
c) spray-painting "Whites only" or swastikas on public property
d) telling anyone who looks like they may have been born in a different country "you're going to be deported soon."
e) cornering young women and grabbing them between the legs "because I can."

None of this squares with the rhetoric I have been fed about the purpose and the "values" of the country where I was born and have spent 95% of my life. I don't feel safe. 

I respect the process. 
I respect the office of the President.
I will teach my child to respect the office of the President
I will teach my child to stand up for other people's rights.
I will teach my child not to bully.

But I'm not going to have a good night's sleep for a very long time. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

this is my

I can barely function at work. I am paralyzed with fear. Last night when I finally fell asleep,  I dreamed that the government threw Jon in jail for having married me and put Ro and I on a plane to India, where we were dumped on a beach and made to walk for days until we got to a town.

I don't feel safe anymore. I was pumping gas and another car pulled up behind mine, waiting for me to finish. Why did she pull up behind me, instead of the other four cars there? Was she going to hit me with her car? Was she going to yell racial epithets if I took a second too long removing the nozzle and tightening my cap? Do I even wait for the receipt? Does she have a gun in her car, and if I yell back, would she shoot me?

Nothing happened, but I have never pumped gas so quickly in my life.

The following incident happened this afternoon in the town where I was born and raised. Though far-fetched, my fears are coming from a very real place.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


It takes a lot to bring me down. I'm one of those people who walks around with a smile on her face for nearly no reason. I smile at people, and if they don't return the favor, I judge them harshly.

Today I am low. Like mushy and gray and quiet at my very cold, shiny black core. The only way I can describe it is that I feel like someone has died. I put black clothing on; at the last second, I changed to a gray sweater. I felt ashen and dull. I still do. 

Last night the people of this country voted to elect Hillary Clinton in a popular vote. But the Electoral College voted for Donald Trump. So the latter is our President Elect. If it were simply a matter of Democrats/Republicans or liberals/conservatives, it wouldn't have so much power over me. But the hate-filled campaign, the dog-whistle rhetoric encouraged some Americans to feel comfortable saying directly to my face:  

"I'm so TIRED of minorities asking for special treatment." 
"If only the gay lifestyle weren't being FORCED DOWN OUR THROATS." 
"Look at your parents! They worked hard and are successful, why can't people just shut up and follow the rules?" 

My gut reaction to the outcome of the election--even though I was born in the town where I currently work today--was a fear for my child having to grow up without a mother because I'd be deported for being brown. That's not founded in any facts, yet the fear is gripping. It stuns me each time I allow it to surface. 

This past month I went to try and get a short-term, tourist visa for my United States Citizen mother to return to the motherland and attend the wedding of the youngest child of her youngest sibling, essentially the last of the original family. She was told if she cannot produce her Indian passport from 1977--the one made invalid when she took an oath to be a United States citizen (to prove she had a valid work visa to come here), she couldn't go back. Or maybe she could go but then not return...the threat wasn't clear, but it was ominous. 

People are scared to wear hijab; they're telling each other that Allah will understand. They hesitate to hold the hand of a same-sex partner in public. Parents are sobbing, sleepless, fearing for the safety of their children.

And yet. 

For many, MANY people, these fears of mine are unfounded, imaginary, made up. An overreaction to not getting my way. Hate crimes don't really happen. Groups of white men on a Friday night in a town you're born in don't surround your car, look menacingly at you in 2016 and say "well they don't know how to drive." No that must not happen. BECAUSE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN TO THEM. 

I know there are myriad reasons why people voted that way. I myself watched my livelihood disintegrate, my life savings circle the drain and was forced to start again at nothing because of technological advances in society. That's a valid thing to be bitter about. But to excuse the free pass on all the hate? Unacceptable. 

Something HAS died. My sense of safety in the only world I have ever known. All I can pray for is that the people in this country put their actions where they say their hearts are and stand up for those of us who are being made to cower once again. It's been about twenty years since someone told me to go back to my own country. I suspect I will hear it again fairly soon. 

The sun may shine tomorrow, but things won't look very bright. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


I'm not sure what to say about how things are looking with this election.
I'm holding out hope that the people who care about this country will stand up and prevent the bad things from happening.

Monday, November 07, 2016

no matter what happens tomorrow

I don't think the people of this country will allow it to go off the rails. My parents didn't give up everything to come here and make a better life for us for it to be frittered away so easily. I have faith in the American people, no matter who is elected.

But I'm still nervous.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

garbage yard

Click on the above photograph.

In between the grassy middleground and the leafy foreground, you will see a thin, green, wire fence. It is the kind home improvement stores put on sale, convincing you it can protect your vegetables. But the BUNNIES will laugh hysterically as they jump over it to devour your produce. No my friends, this is an effective, passive-agressive fence your retired neighbors put up along the property line after they have become weary of your unraked leaves blowing into their freshly raked yard.

I'll give you one guess as to whose yard is which.

That photo was taken last year. During a time when I was fiercely trying to prove I deserved a promotion by working more hours than I already had been, through lunches, over weekends and then some more, especially because I was taking two 30-minute breaks to extract nourishment from my body to feed my infant. This also happened to be when Jon and I were brokebrain from not having had a good night's sleep in more than a year (and still haven't, to this day), because our child inherited the Cadiz "what-if-something-cool-happens-I-can't-sleep-I'll-miss-it" gene. Our laundry would get laundered, dried, folded and then set on the couch until all of it had been reworn, only to be laundered again before seeing the inside of a drawer. My blessed mother would cook for us. Or we'd have take out. Or popcorn. And what little time we did have at home, we wanted to cherish the fact that our kid started talking and rolling over and crawling and falling asleep on our shoulders, even if it wasn't for long. The absolute LAST thing on our to-do list was raking the leaves.

I get it, retired people, you've done your time. Your yard probably looked like our garbage one for awhile, and now that you can tend to it in between naps and other things you get to do that make me jealous, you want it to remain that way. I know putting up the passive-aggressive fence it made you feel bad because you seem to like us. But you dislike redoing yardwork more. I don't hold it against you. That said, putting off precious family time or sleep to ensure your lawn stays pristine? That just wasn't going to happen.

When the neighbors put up that fence it made Jon laugh. Among other things, it made me feel like a failure at life.

This fall, our kid is peeing on the potty (only when there are Finding Dory stickers on the line) and negotiating specific meal ingredients (any green vegetable is considered "broccoli" and must be removed from the fork at once--that gene she got from Daddy). She is relatively content to do a puzzle with her aunt or run back and forth across the basement 45 times in front of the tv while her father watches the game. I recently hit an all-time low at work and realized there simply isn't any more I can give to this job. So I'm taking back my life--by working just the hours I'm paid for--and now there's a sliver of time to rake.

I took a day off this past week with the simple purpose of scraping all the leaves from our yard and bagging them without shortchanging time with my family. After three hours of sweating it out, the retired neighbors pull into their driveway. We exchanged pleasantries, I gave them some misdelivered mail and the lady mentioned they'd hired a service to rake their leaves this year, because on our beautiful, oak-lined street, it's simply too much work to keep up. I looked back at my yard, sprinkled with fresh leaves since I had turned around to chat. You aren't kidding, Grandma.

That lawn service's number is now stuck to our refrigerator with a giraffe magnet.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

in front of the lens

Today was a gorgeous day. November 5 and it's 71 degrees in the Chicago area? Wow.

And what wonderful timing that my former colleague who shoots portraits as a side hustle was free to meet us in a forest preserve and capture the three of us with purpose for the first time since those photographers who sucker you into giving them all your money in the hospital when you're still delirious from baby-hormone-joy.

Because there's no time like the last minute, I spent most of the morning tearing through my closet for better clothes to wear than I had originally planned, taking badly angled photos and texting them to the world for advice. Then I raced to the store and bought four more things that didn't work out. Per pp, in her infinite fashion wisdom, I ended up going with an sweater and skirt I've had for years but had never thought to put together.

Ro was fantastic. She just wanted to run and run, kicking leaves and sliding like a base-stealer in the mud. She got to eat a sucker, too, which always makes for a red-letter day. Those gray tights had their moment in the autumn sun, but are possibly too far gone to ride again.

Later, she ran around even more at Kaiya's birthday party, where we all made tortellini under the instruction of her boyfriend, who happens to be a chef. Delicious! It wasn't that far off from making samosas, so I may have had a leg up on everyone else. He said I was ready to open my own pasta shop. Flattery, flattery.

It was really nice to see some of my oldest friends. Highcon is moving back to Chicago, and brought his main squeeze for us to meet. Ri and C's mini posse was running circles around the house with Ro. The wine was flowing. The salted-caramel-mousse cake was scrumptious. There was elderberry infused into the water and Cheerios ground into the carpet.

A lovely day, through and through.

Friday, November 04, 2016

681 unread work emails

I only worked two days this week, and I barely made it to the weekend.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

the more things change...

I wrote this post in February 2014.

In it, I talk about how overworked I am, how stretched thin our job team is and how I needed a mental health day--it was the first I'd taken in my entire life. I also mention constantly having to work late and weekends and listed way too many goals for that day off.

Funny, I had to take another one of those days recently, and every single thing I just said is still true. Except now I have a toddler, which means that February 2014 me (who was likely puking multiple times a day with morning sickness) HAD NO IDEA how much crazier life was about to get, and stay.

Which probably means June 2017 me is going to look back at this post and want to slap me in the face for whining.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

please please please let me get what i want

I spent several innings of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series in a rocking chair, singing iterations of "Finger Family" while also trying to listen to what was happening in baseball on the radio. I had left the Cubs in a good position, but came downstairs during the ninth inning to find Chicago and Cleveland were tied (!) and going to extra innings with a rain delay. It'd be lying if I denied suspecting this drama was orchestrated. I mean, rain delay? They couldn't have scripted it better.

I bought these at the bakery today. Appropriate for the events of today's game.


Sometime in the early '80s my brother made it clear that we are a "Chicago Cubs family." He rocked his blue satin Cubs jacket at age six and has never looked back. He also decreed that anyone who actively rooted for the White Sox would be disowned. And with the way he cried at losses or called his physician when his favorite players were injured, we knew he meant it.

Of all the eligible bachelors in the world, I managed to marry one who is just as fanatic about sports as my brother, and staunchly loyal to his teams. Hell, he rooted for the Rams after they left Los Angeles for St. Louis (and is overjoyed they have returned). The fact that he has lived here since 2008 and laughs in the face of anyone who asks him when he'll start cheering for Chicago teams "because he lives here now" only makes me love him more.

The Cubs started getting really good when my kid graced this earth. Just saying.


The 2016 Champion Chicago Cubs had been the butt of jokes for so very long. Still, my brother entered the lottery for season tickets and leapt at the chance to buy them when his number came up. He scrounged for the money that first season. And for years and years, he laid down that fat stack of cash, then couldn't even give the tickets away when he lived out of state. He attended when he could. The vendors know his name. He asks his sectionmates about their grandkids and trips to Dublin. My brother was on the Jumbotron during the first World Series game at Wrigley Field since 1945. I know that I'm *technically* his people, but when I go to The Friendly Confines with him, it's clear: Those are his people.

I have always wholeheartedly cheered on this team, every single losing year. But these fans, the ones who take each outcome so very personally, those who've wanted this so very badly, they had this coming. Sixty percent of the crowd at Cleveland's Progressive Field were rooting for Chicago tonight, and apparently most of the 43 seats that each cost more than $10,000 on StubHub were behind the Cubs' dugout. And my brother is losing his mind waving a giant "W" flag somewhere with his best buddies on an El train in the city. He FaceTimed me after they won (poor connection) and sent me this photo.

It wouldn't have been right if he hadn't been there.


The day is today, my friends. You long-suffering, true fans? Congratulations.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


I'm back, baby.

I fulfilled this monthlong blogging tradition each year between 2005-2012, religiously. Then life happened.

I am trying to take back my life, slowly, by revisiting some of the things that truly bring me joy. Like sleep. And this. Oh, how I have missed this.

Let's see how it goes.

But in the meantime, for the two of you that still read this blog: GO CUBS.