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I’m as tired as anyone of people talking about how freaked out/cosmically grateful they are that it was 60 degrees this afternoon in New York City, and I don’t really want to contribute to that particular conversation, but, well, I can’t stop myself.

How in the world was it 60 degrees in New York today?

Yesterday, I stepped out for lunch and didn’t take my coat with me.  Today, I showed up to a meeting and was asked, “Can I take your coat?” And my reply was, “I didn’t wear one!”  I didn’t even have a coat!

This is not the place where I’m going to wonder about how little time the Adelie Penguins have left, or wish that it wasn’t so easy to see just how dramatic the Arctic sea ice downward trend is this year, or explain how I lie awake with worry about the High Elevation White Pines.  Should we be taking Kishmish and Pista to the Maldive Islands and to the glaciers of Alaska before both are impossible? Or should we be avoiding air travel completely? What is their world going to look like in 50 years — or even in 5 years?

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Lists of marriage advice just don’t go out of style, as this from Toure last month (I love that Toure is giving marriage advice!) proves.

I’m not going to jump into the marriage advice fray, but I’ll just recount two gems:

After getting married, Ankur’s father told me, “Never cook too little food.”  This was both advice and, I guess, a little of a warning.  Not a mean warning, but a warning like, “Seriously, it’s just silly not to cook enough food.”  And, of course, that’s not only true, it’s also exactly how I had learned to cook. Double the recipe! Make some extra, and freeze it! A lot of stuff tastes better the next day anyway! Read More

The days were short in December, but it wasn’t really winter. I mean, we went ice skating at Bryant Park, which felt all wintery and quintessentially New York. . . but we checked our coats before hitting the oddly water-logged rink, and we skated in short sleeves.

This week, though, the reality of winter-time really set in: it’s dark, and it’s bitterly cold. In our 4th floor apartment, we are assaulted by dry heat 24 hours a day, and Kishmish had the first nosebleed of the season.  (Two of them, actually.)  Ah, winter! Read More

The other day, Kishmish came whining into the kitchen as I was making dinner, and her chief complaint started with, “Mommmmmyyyyy, how come you never. . . .”   Are there actually any good endings to that sentence?  “Mommy, how come you never let us play video games?” “Mommy, how come you never let us have anyone over to play after dinner?” Or, the version that often comes from tired little ones around here: “Mommy, how come you never let us do anything we want to?!”  Oh, Lord.

Can you imagine, then, how happy I was to hear this?  “Mommy, how come you never make those yummy things with dal on the inside? You know those triangles, and we dip them in ketchup?”  Hooray! My work here, as they say, is done!  It’s fair to say that, right, when your kids start asking for real food? (Except for the ketchup part. . . . ) Read More

I know there is this stereotype that kids growing up in New York are stressed-out, overscheduled, and forced to grow up too fast. My children, however, have no structured activities outside of school (a statement which, I realize, is almost nonsensical — “They only spend 6 hours each day in a structured environment.” Well, la-di-dah).  They’ve asked me to get them into piano, Brownies, gymnastics, swimming, and science classes (?), and I’ve resisted because if I cannot handle the scheduling, I just don’t see how they are going to handle it.

The one exception is Bharat Natyam class. We started last year, just to see how it would go, and that once-a-week class in classical Indian dance became something they looked forward to all week. The youngest kids in the class, Kishmish and Pista learned all the hand gestures and foot work along with the other kids, and though the 4:30 class felt late in the afternoon, it was doable.

But this year?  The class time was moved to 5:30 on Fridays!  Friday afternoons!  Can you imagine a time in the week where you are more tired, unfocused, and spent than on Friday afternoon?  I almost pulled them out of the class, thinking there was no way my children were going to be able to keep it together and behave in a way that wouldn’t make me ashamed from 5:30 to 6:30 on a Friday evening.

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A few weeks before Christmas, we got a letter from Kishmish:

Dear, Mommy, and, Papay,
What, do you like for Chismis? That you think I can make. Think of something easy that I can make out ov paper like a book or a paper ball I think those are easy.
Love, Kishmish xoxo

There are so many things to say about this note! Like: why did the first line get all the punctuation? And: how cute is her spelling?  And most of all: Is this not the sweetest sentiment ever?

The girls are 6, and I guess this is the age when they start to care about celebrating things properly, and they are looking ahead to birthdays and holidays and special occasions in a different way than they did before. It’s sweet and new. . . and of course I tend to interpret it as another level of pressure on myself to do the right thing and not screw it up. Because not only were they enthusiastic about giving gifts to Mommy and Papa, they also wanted to make stuff for teachers, grandparents, friends….. Read More

I remember hearing this interview with Nigella Lawson last December on NPR — they must do it every year, because I heard another similar one this December, a week or so ago — in which she was talking about easy recipes for holiday entertaining, making the whole thing seem so effortless and awesome.  She got to this chocolate orange cake, and explained that chocolate-with-orange is just such a British flavor for the holiday season, and I was like, “Yes! Yes!”  I am not British, but somehow chocolate plus orange totally equals a special treat.

(Incidentally, if you follow the link, you’ll see that in that same interview she extolled the convenient virtues of peanut butter hummus, a snack so horrid-sounding that I had actually completely forgotten about all the other nice ideas she has for holiday food.)

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