Category Archives: Inspiration

All I Want For Christmas

 It’s a perfect 68 degrees in Austin right now and my Christmas tree looks strangely out of place next to my T-shirt, open window and the palm tree outside of it.  After several years in Texas I guess a part of me is still not used to the holidays without snow or fully adapted to some of the changes in my life that seem to be more apparent with the season.  Still etched in my brainfamily-at-radio-christmas-1920s is the idea of a cold, white Christmas snuggled up by a fire, wearing ridiculously colored fuzzy socks and rolling my eyes at my family’s idiosyncrasies while we smile and laugh gaily over some festive drink like Bailey’s on the rocks or spiced wine.  I’m not really sure where the image in my head comes from as my holidays growing up were a vast array of different experiences, mostly not resembling that.

Some of them were lavish parties at my grandparents house involving a 12 foot table overflowing with food, over 200 people speaking blends of Turkish, Greek and English, roller skating and ping-pong in the basement and a drawer of silk nightgowns to choose from before sleepily tracing the wallpaper with my finger in “The Blue Room” as I drifted off to sleep.  Some of the holidays were spent with my immediate family exchanging glances with my sister in squirmy silence as Dad read bible passages and stated that, despite the mountain of beautifully wrapped boxes already under the tree, it may be ungodly for us to give gifts at Christmas.  Awkward.

FullSizeRender (7)I’ve spent holidays alone with my dog eating pastries and drinking wine, with strangers and in complete misery because I can’t handle one more football game, holidays with other peoples families when I wasn’t welcome with my own, holidays drunk in a bar because my boyfriend was “asleep” with a naked girl all over him and really the list goes on.  Yet every year the magic of the season washes over me and I feel excitement and hope bubbling up.  The Buddha next to my Christmas tree displays just how much I disregard convention and this year as the end of the season approached I found myself wishing for just a few things and hungry to create my own unorthodox traditions.  Instead of the fictitious picture I held in my head for so long of what Holidays should be, I allowed myself to open up to the possibilities of what they could be. 

This year I wished to be surrounded by people I love.  I wished to open just one gift without thought of what it would be, because after all the best part is unwrapping the present.  Lastly, I wished for some surprise happy event–a Christmas miracle.  Sure it’s cheesy, but cheese is delicious and when you look for the magic in life, it magically appears.  I’m taking my first trip home for Christmas in over 5 years which is sure to be an adventure and to this day being around my family is like a situation comedy that will no doubt provide some great stories!  I’mtwo-wine-glasses-christmas-fireplace-merry-christmas-hd-wallpaper looking forward to the chilly Northeast weather, to spoiling my niece and nephew that have grown like bamboo shoots, hugging my mama and bonding with my sister.  People I love?  Check.  Present?  Maybe.  Christmas miracle?  Stay tuned, there just may even be some Bailey’s on the rocks or spiced wine.

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1, 2, 3…Tinder! or Mama Takes New Jersey

Despite her gorgeous hourglass figure, youthfulness and spritely face, my mother turned 60 this year.  After her divorce 2 years ago–which was actually a really great thing for everyone involved–she had settled into her own condo, a job and had transitioned from 30 some years of wife and mother to full blown independent woman.  Hooked on personal development podcasts and optimism, she had let herself be talked into joining Tinder by my sister and I.  “It’s like shopping,” I told her comparing it to her favorite pastime to ease the apprehension of online dating.  “You can just window shop and then if you like someone, you decide if you want to talk to them.”  After a few days of dramatization over every swipe and message,

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she was chatting with several men and back in the game!

At my consistent urging that she “be a hussy” (which for someone who had only slept with one man ever might involve one french kiss by the end of the year) she extended the age range of prospects to include 40-somethings.

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One afternoon I get a call from her that a man–let’s call him Maurice–who she had been talking with regularly on the phone, wants her drive to the Jersey Shore and spend the weekend with him at the beach for their very first rendezvous.  “I mean it’s 3 hours away and I’m tired.”  Her voice held an excitement I hadn’t heard in a long time as she waited for the verbal thumbs up I knew she had called me for.  While personally I probably wouldn’t have driven 3 hours without meeting someone first, I couldn’t deflate the hope that was alive in her once again.  With one word of affirmation from my lips she all but hung up on me “ok well I have to go pack and get on the road!”

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I stood looking around the room for a moment and then dialed my sister.  “Um, I just told mom to drive 3 hours to stay with a guy she’s never met from Tinder…that’s ok right?  Like, she’ll be fine and everything?”  We both uneasily made our way toward feeling good about it and covered all the necessary precautions including a parental like call to speak with this Mandingo Maurice where he assured me she had her own room and was to be worshipped like royalty.

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A text from Mama came through, “he has the cutest accent and says ‘chow’ instead of goodbye!”  I laughed out loud in my apartment as I explained to her that ‘chow’ is the first word of an Asian dish 

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and if she said it back to consider spelling it ‘Ciao.’

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Well as it turned out the chemistry in person was not as sizzling as it was when being bounced off of multiple cell phone towers.  The second day she told him that the sparks weren’t there for her and a very disappointed Frenchmen was reluctantly friend-zoned.  She left early and got back in time to spend an evening happily alone in her condo.  As she filled me in on the details of how he tried to run her to death on the beach with no hydration, I laughed and filled with admiration for this courageous woman said “well, you can’t expect a home run on your first swing.”

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It’s All Gravy, Baby

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Took this at a beautiful little birthday potluck for a friend of mine and something about it struck me.  This year a big lesson for me has been that I am enough.  My words, my voice, my body–it’s enough.  The sign doesn’t say “you’re dish is good” or “it’ll do in a pinch.”  It is a blessing.  Whatever you bring to the table in life is your gift and it is perfect.  For today, join me and appreciate your own beautiful being as it is.  Know that you can’t say the wrong thing and whatever you bring to the table, well, it’s all gravy baby.