Friday, March 13, 2009

5:00 Fridays

Today's 5:00 Fridays post is lovingly dedicated to Mac Daddy, my husband of nine years. Well, tomorrow will be nine years. We got married in Key West. It was kind of on a whim.

You see, we had been living together, taking turns going to graduate school. We had just turned 30. Being a woman whose eggs were 30 years old at the time, we started doing the math. Well, Mac Daddy did the math as I am the only Indian in the world who is bad at math. Anyway, we figured that we wanted to be married a while before having kids. Considering we weren't even engaged at the time, we thought that it made sense to get married while Mac Daddy was in graduate school. That was just in conversation mode though, not planning stage.

Well we awoke one morning and, Mac Daddy having had the epiphany sometime in the middle of the night, jolted out of bed. He exclaimed, "Let's get married in Key West!" I rolled over and laughed. Hardy har har har. Mac Daddy promptly logged on (dial up, mind you) and printed out a wedding planner's contact information in Key West. And so our engagement was official.

We had already planned our annual Key West vacay with our dear friends Chris and Shan. And so we called them up. I believe Mac Daddy's words were, "Um, do you guys mind if we get married while on vacation?" And so Chris and Shan were our best man and matron of honor.

Six week countdown to our wedding, and I didn't even have a dress. In typical Mac Daddy fashion, he got married in a black suit. His logic was that if a simple black suit was good enough for JFK Jr., it was good enough for him. Do you now understand the many reasons I love this guy?

We had a fantastic ceremony in the gardens of the Audubon House. We wrote our own vows. We all sobbed. Chris wiped streams of sweat from his brow, but I still contend that some of that runoff was comprised of tears. We had our ritual sunset margaritas at Mallory Square before heading to dinner at Louie's Backyard. In fact, our wedding night menu is signed by the chef and framed in our kitchen right now.

If you haven't been to Key West, you should know that the margarita is the signature cocktail. Consumption is appropriate at all times of day. On the rocks, with salt. The frozen crap is for sorority girl prisspots who come get wasted under age and flash their boobs to the dozens of gay men who don't give a hoot for hooters. Our favorite margarita joint is Willie T's. One night after a few of those libations, Chris took the mike and sang Sinatra to the spring break denizens, girls in short shorts and tube tops swooning. Good times.

And so today, I toast my husband, the amazingly patient, kind, funny, optimistic, supportive, brainiac Mac Daddy. And I toast him not with champagne, but with a Key West margarita.

Margarita (makes a pitcher)
2 cups sweet and sour mix
1 cup triple sec
1 1/2 cups Jose Cuervo
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
splash of Sprite (just a splash!)
2 limes, quartered

Salt the rims of 8 margarita glasses. Never salted a rim? Just pour coarse sea salt onto a small plate, rub the rims of the glasses with lime, and press them into the salt. Fill the glasses with ice. In a blender, combine sweet and sour mix, triple sec, tequila and Grand Marnier. Blend until mixed thoroughly. Pour into glasses, squeeze a quarter lime into each glass, and serve.

Now you know how I feel about garnish. Today's drink has a special garnish created by my dear friend Shan, who is a kicky designer and overall creative spirit. She made a Conch Republic flag that could be yours for free. Just click here on her Freebie Fridays post to download the flags, print them on labels, wrap 'em around a toothpick, and voila! You'll be chilling with your feet up on the docks of Mallory Square too.

Cheers to nine years and counting! I love you, Mac Daddy.

Addendum: If you really want to party like a mom star, check this out on May 5. Nothing says Cinco de Mayo like a cold margarita! Oh, chips and guac are a requisite munchie at my table.


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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happily Ever After

The best we can give our children is a happy marriage. Mac Daddy and I, together, are the blocks that built this family. We are its foundation, which is apt since we can both be stubborn as bricks. I think we would both say that the family we are nurturing is far different from the families we grew up in.

I grew up wanting for nothing. Well, nothing but an emotional connection, some affection, a belly laughing good time, and a little less tension swirling around the atmosphere. All of my physical needs were met but few of my emotional ones. My family's "emotional intelligence" would have been off the charts, as in below the starting point. My home was not filled with laughter and silliness. Whimsy was not a word I understood until I had children of my own. We were simply four silos sharing a last name living amongst each other in the same field. And then we were three, one silo having moved away, changing its name.

Perhaps I am overcompensating now that I have a family of my own. But is there such a thing as over doing it when we're talking about building a strong, healthy, happy family? Can a mother overdo her love (well, aside from the helicopter mom syndrome)?

Mac Daddy and I spend loads of time with Bird and Deal. We rarely miss dinner together at the table (TV off, natch). We all truly enjoy each other's company. Whether it's on the tennis court or traipsing the aisles of the grocery store, we spend our time together. We are a very affectionate family, giving each other drive by kisses for no reason. Bird used to do this as a toddler, and I can still picture him tossing his arms around my neck and then scampering off in a blink. The thing is, all the time we have amounts to a cosmic blink.

And so in that time, I want my sons to grow up and remember their childhood fondly. I want their memories to be filled with kitchen delights, stolen kisses between Mommy and Daddy, tickle fests, games of baseball in the backyard, family slumber parties, Dance Party USA. I want them to want to emulate the foundation Mac Daddy and I have built. I want to give them a sense of HOME - belonging, security, unconditional love, trust, warmth, fun, connection.

I have no connection to my family's roots and heritage, giving me no sense of belonging. Despite my many years of prodding (13 to be exact), I have little to no information about my family to share with Bird and Deal. I don't even know my grandparents' names. I have no family lore to share. No tales to weave about their Indian heritage. No tools to celebrate 50% of their ethnicity. Luckily Mac Daddy has a wonderfully detailed tome about his family roots so we can share that with the boys to enrich their sense of family ties. It goes back several generations to the first settlers in America. It does make for a great read, especially because the old fashioned names like Muttes crack us up.

We will no doubt embarrass our boys, tormenting them throughout their adolescence. You should hear the whooping and groaning when I kiss Mac Daddy goodbye every morning. The decibel is exponentially louder when we kiss for no reason at all. You would be hard pressed on at any given time of day to find someone in the family not touching someone else - bestowing a hug, grasping a finger, climbing atop a shoulder, perching on a lap. I know that deep down inside, we are showing our boys what it is to be loved. Mac Daddy and I have a great marriage, not without its pockmarks as every relationship bears. But we are best friends, cheesy as it sounds. He lifts me up, bails me out, cracks me up. There is, however, an ongoing argument about who's funnier. I have contended it's me since the day we met. He says that being my own best audience doesn't count. The boys say it's Ms. Kris, Deal's teacher whom Bird also had.

Mac Daddy and I are among the fortunate few who don't have to pretend the happily ever after. We live it. And love it.
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dear Diary,

Before there were blogs there were diaries. Diaries scribbled in purple glitter pens and #2 pencils. I was a diary kind of girl. I remember having a Holly Hobby diary with a tiny gold key when I was a kid. That key was pretty flimsy so I knew better than to write anything damning in it. By damning I mean anything about boys, my older brother, or my parents' constant fighting. I did write about how that neighbor girl Anne stole my turquoise and silver horseshoe shaped ring. Instead I even left the diary open in front of her in hopes that she'd read it and know that I was on to her. I also wrote about inane things like what I wore to school. I chronicled every outfit I wore for a full year in fifth grade. I know, I know. Boring. Imagine if that were my blog. Even my own family wouldn't read it. But that was only the beginning of my diary keeping.

I have been fortunate enough to travel through much of Europe and India. I kept a travel journal on every trip. On one trip through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy I jotted down every meal I ate. Thankfully I didn't count the calories. On an annual Key West trip I used to capture funny quotes that anyone in our little foursome said. Most of those are not fit for blogosphere consumption. We still read those quotes when we get together and bust a gut, our guts a bit bigger than they used to be.

My mom happened upon a travel journal I started 24 years ago to the day. The first entry is March 8, 1985. I was 16 years old, traveling alone from boarding school to visit my mom in Washington, D.C. Here's a taste of my high school junior self.

"I'm on the train now so this is gonna be pretty messy. There are a ton of CHAUD guys in today. I played my moves cool and ended up sitting beside a good catch. From a distance he looks just like Scoot (minus the braces). Close up he looks like a cross between Scoot and Michael. Not bad! In front of me is a tall, good looking golfer and skier (he had one helluva time getting on the train with golf clubs and skis!). A couple of seats behind me is a real sexy guy who is a chich dresser. He kinda resembles Stephan but this guy is plus chaud. Scttered around up front are various fellas, most of which are rated as at least an 8.5. This is great! Well, I better aller. I wish it wasn't raining. Tres depressing!"

Now for the writer's scalpel.

I told you that tidiness has always been paramount. I even felt the need to justify messy handwriting. Notice my fine use of French. I'm certain Madame Pealer, my high school French teacher, would be proud. I love how I thought I had any moves, much less cool ones. I still don't have any moves, at least any that don't embarrass my kids and Mac Daddy. As for Scoot and Michael, I have no idea who they are. Did I really know a boy called Scoot? Was he named after a verb or a dog? And exactly how much does a 16-year old girl know about sexy? I mean, it was 1985, before girls shopped at Hoochies R Us. And again I ask, who was Stephan? Was there a foreign (s)exchange student I've forgotten? Clearly those hot guys made a lasting impression. I'm also curious what constitued an 8.5, much less a 10. Clearly the hot boys were not enough to perk me up from the rain.

Suffice it to say I simultaneously cringe and crack up reading this. A peek into my 16 year-old self sure makes me damn glad to be 40. We'll wait and see how these blog's words make me feel 24 years from now...when I'm 64. Cue the Beatles.
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